Aging is a top skin concern among many adults, both male and female. Time marches on no matter what we do, but there are steps we can all take to slow our skin’s aging process or improve its appearance. You can consult your dermatologist for possible treatment options if you have specific concerns, but you can start by educating yourself on some habits that may be prematurely aging your skin.
Smokers get wrinkles around their mouths sooner than non-smokers. Nicotine found in tobacco reduces blood flow to the skin, and the carbon monoxide expelled by cigarettes displaces your skin’s oxygen. This creates a sallow, discolored complexion with dryness. Smoking may also reduce certain nutrients that your skin uses to repair itself.
2. Not Using Sunscreen Daily
One of the best ways to protect your skin from premature aging is to protect it against the sun. UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin and cause lasting damage and wrinkles. That means you should wear sunscreen every day, even when it is overcast out. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that you choose a sunscreen that is labeled broad spectrum and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen to all skin not covered by clothing. You can also protect yourself from skin exposure by seeking shade when possible.
Considering the last thing on the list was related to sun exposure, this might seem obvious. Tanning beds or lamps also emit harmful UV rays that damage the skin. UV rays can alter the actual skin cells, not only leading to wrinkles and other signs of aging but causing skin cancer as well. If you want a golden glow, try a lotion or spray. There are varieties you can get at home, or you can have them applied by a professional.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Your body needs sleep for all of your systems to rest and regenerate. That includes your skin. There is evidence that sleep deprivation can lead to skin issues related to premature aging. So get the recommended amount of sleep for your age range, generally 7-9 hours for adults.
5. Going to Bed Before Cleansing
At the end of the day, your skin needs to be cleaned, especially if you have makeup on. Leaving makeup on overnight can trap oil and bacteria in pores, causing breakouts and irritation. Even if you don’t wear makeup, you should wash your face to remove any dirt, environmental toxins, and germs.
6. Not Using a Moisturizer
Dryness could be one of the main things that are aging your skin. Apply moisturizer daily so water is trapped in the skin. This will lead to a healthier and more youthful appearance. If you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize.
7. Scrubbing to Cleanse
Scrubbing and using mechanical exfoliation too often will irritate, leading to aging skin. Cleanse your skin, especially the delicate skin of your face, with a gentle cleanser and warm water.
8. Stripping Your Skin of Oils
Some people have skin issues like acne or oiliness that will prompt them to use toners and other products with ingredients designed to kill bacteria and reduce oil production. Make sure you consult your dermatologist about how often it is safe to use these products because stripping your skin of its natural oil may lead to problems with dryness and pH imbalance.
9. Drinking too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is dehydrating, especially when consumed in excess. Dehydrated skin becomes damaged over time, leading to signs of aging.
10. An Unhealthy Diet
There is evidence that including certain things can affect the health of your skin. Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits can be beneficial and prevent damage. On the flip side, too much-refined carbohydrates and sugar can be bad for the skin.
11. Making Repetitive Facial Expressions
This can be a hard habit to break if you do not realize you make the same expression frequently. But one thing you can be proactive about avoiding is squinting. Wear sunglasses when outside or in bright environments, and get your vision checked if you are squinting at reading materials or screens.
12. Ignoring Sensitivity
If you are using products that make cause redness or burning/stinging sensations, that’s a sign of irritation. Continuous irritation will cause the skin to look older. Talk to your dermatologist about products like retinol and other anti-aging treatments that may cause initial irritation to make sure you don’t use something too harsh.
Make an Appointment
At Blue Ridge Dermatology, we specialize in both medical and cosmetic dermatology. We also offer cosmetic and aesthetic services at our Cosmetic and Laser Center in Raleigh to help reduce the signs of aging and restore a more youthful appearance. If you have questions or concerns about things that may be aging your skin, give us a call at (919) 781-1050 to make an appointment at either of our offices in Raleigh or Cary, NC.