Over the years you’ve been made aware of all the things that can cause premature ageing — sun tanning, drugs, alcohol and smoking. But have you ever given any consideration to some of the things you might be doing that unknowingly ages your skin?
Here we break down the skin habits and how you can avoid them (and maybe look younger in the process).
1. Skipping sunscreen
The sun is a primary cause of skin ageing, so fi you aren’t wearing sunscreen daily you might want to start. This is especially true in winter, when most people assume that the sun’s harmful UV rays aren’t as potent.
It might surprise you to know that regardless of the season, the UVA rays (those are the ones that cause skin ageing and skin cancer) are roughly the same strength all year round. If you want to prevent wrinkles (or further wrinkles) you need to slap on the sunscreen. Even if it’s raining. Even if you’re spending most of your day inside.
This one is definitely a surprise, but if you find you’re yawning more because you aren’t getting enough rest or are ignoring the cues to go to bed at a reasonable hour, you could be adding to the ageing process. When you yawn your eyes are encouraged to water, which in turns creates swelling and puffiness both at night and in the morning when you wake. The excess fluid around your eyes can weaken the elasticity of the surrounding tissue and this increases the rate of your wrinkles. This might have you thinking twice about staying up late watching TV or reading that extra chapter.
3. Going to bed without removing your makeup
A lot of women are guilty of this one — you’ve had a busy day or a late night out with friends and the only thing you want to do is fall into bed. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to a breakout… And don’t think that because you’re over-60 you are immune to such things!
The environmental toxins — that’s dirt and pollution from being out in the world — builds up on your skin and invades your pores. This can cause problems with your complexion, so the best thing you can do is wash your face before you hit the sack. Use a good cleanser or keep a box of cleansing towelettes beside your bed so you can ‘swipe and sleep’ easily.
4. Drinking out of a straw
What?! Yep! Just like squinting, repeated facial expressions and movements breakdown the collagen and elastin fibres. What do you do when you drink out of a straw? You purse your lips and this causes unnecessary lines and wrinkles around the mouth. The recommendation? Drink from a glass instead.
5. Getting rid of products too quickly
If you’re using anti-ageing moisturisers and are frustrated it’s not doing the trick, don’t toss it in the bin. Give it a good go before making the switch. When you jump from product to product you might develop the impression that nothing works for your skin. You want to give a product about six weeks before you decide it’s not worth the hassle. Where the product contains anti-ageing ingredients, you’ll want to give it a bit longer as it takes about four months for your skin to regenerate collagen and elastin.
6. Over-exfoliating your skin
In the quest to look younger and have smoother skin a lot of people go for aggressive exfoliating treatments however, this could do more harm than good. The risk with too much exfoliation is that you’ll damage your skin’s moisture barrier and that can lead to flaking, dehydration and inflammation.
7. Don’t neglect your hands and neck
While a lot of the focus here has been on your face, it’s not the only area that needs a bit of lovin’. Overexposure to the sun also affects your hands and neck. Such areas can show signs of ageing such as dark spots, dryness and a loss of firmness.
Apply moisturiser, just as you would on your face. Also wear sunscreen.