Wrinkles are easily associated with getting older. As you age, your skin loses its elasticity; this loss results to wrinkles and fine lines. Nonetheless, aging is not the sole cause for this. There are other factors that may affect your skin’s elasticity, and unlike aging, some of these are from lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Listed below are 9 other factors that take a toll on your physical appearance. Read through each one to learn what it is that’s causing those wrinkles and the ways to protect yourself from getting them.
Jerome Potozkin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist said that the first and most common type [of skin wrinkling] is from chronic sun damage. He added that the sun damage results in loss of collagen and elastin resulting in wrinkling of the skin. It has been proven that the sun has damaging effects to the skin. Both UVA rays, which penetrate the skin’s deepest layers, and UVB rays, which cause sunburn, can lead to premature aging and wrinkles.
To protect your skin, make sure to avoid staying under the sun for too long. This will not only keep you from getting skin cancer, but will also keep you looking young and wrinkle-free. Tanning beds may also have the same effect on the skin, so make sure to avoid spending too much time on those as well. If you cannot avoid sun exposure, it is a good habit to wear sunblock (at least an SPF 30) daily. When going out in the sun, especially if you’ll be exposed to water, be sure to reapply your sunblock often to prevent sunburn.
The environment around you may have an impact on your skin’s appearance as well. Pollution actually plays a major impact on wrinkles and fine lines since it contributes to free radical damages, as explained by Maral K. Skelsey, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Director of the Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington.
On a 2010 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, experts found that women who lived in urban settings had more wrinkles and age spots than those living in rural areas over a 24-year period. It only makes sense that if you find yourself living in a heavily populated city, make it a habit to wash your face at night before bed to remove those pollution particles.
Lack of Sleep
“Lack of sleep contributes [to wrinkles] because the pH of the skin is altered by not sleeping enough and that skin cells’ ability to remain hydrated,” Skelsey explains. “Additionally, it’s during sleep that toxins are flushed from the body.”
Since childhood, you have been told that sleep is important. Now that you know that it does not only have an effect on your health but also has an impact to your skin, make sure to take the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep. It is called beauty sleep for a reason after all. Being able to do so may also make your skin smoother.
Your busy work schedule or work environment not only takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being; it can affect you physically, too. “Stress increases cortisol levels which will reduce the skin’s ability to hold moisture,” Skelsey says. She added that elevated blood sugar damages the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin; these are the critical support structures that keep skin from sagging and developing wrinkles.
There are a lot of ways to de-stress, you can try meditating, talking to professionals about it, calming yourself down by changing your perspective, or just by taking a break. It does not have to be a grand vacation, it can either be going for walks after dinner, hanging out with friends, or seeing a therapist.
You may already be aware that sugar causes weight gain, but there is another reason to put down the sweets and the soda—they age your skin.
“Eating too much sugar will surely lead to premature aging. After sugar is ingested it goes through a process called glycation, which involves binding to different proteins in our bodies,” Kristina Goldenberg, MD, board-certified dermatologist of Goldenberg Dermatology, explains. She added that these proteins include collagen and elastin. By binding to these building blocks of the skin, sugar weakens collagen and elastin and will lead to an appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Glycation also produces toxic products that further cause premature aging.
You may want to try cutting out sugar for two weeks. You will definitely see yourself having more energy and losing weight. After all, there are a lot of health (and skin) benefits that may result from this.
Yes, you read that right. Eye squinting, along with other facial expressions are from muscle contraction. These muscle movements cause skin cells to be squeezed and wrinkles to form. Excessive squinting will, therefore, lead to deeper wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
If you already find yourself always squinting, it is time to get rid of your worn glasses and visit your optometrist. Make sure to get a proper prescription and wear sunglasses whenever you need them.
Drinking Out of a Straw
Much like eye squinting, drinking out of a straw can cause wrinkles to develop around the mouth and lips. Since drinking out of a straw involves muscle contraction, doing it repeatedly makes the muscle stronger and wrinkles will become deeper and more apparent.
It is probably for the best if you avoid using straws whenever you have a chance. It does not only save you from wrinkles but it also saves the environment. It’s a win-win situation after all.
Having dry skin is not just uncomfortable; it can add years onto your skin. It has been said that when the skin is chronically dry, it is also more susceptible to wrinkles.
Make sure you moisturize day and night, especially on your face. You may also want to start investing in nourishing under-eye cream since the skin underneath the eyes is thinner and more susceptible to fine lines.
This should come as no surprise: after the sun, smoking is one of the biggest culprits for wrinkles. Not only does your muscle contract whenever you put a cigarette in your mouth, but the toxins from the cigarette itself can age your skin.
“Nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the skin, which leaves it more prone to wrinkling because vital nutrients cannot reach the epidermis,” Skelsey explains. Plus, smoking is linked to lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are a lot of warning ads posted around and you have probably heard this hundreds of times before, but it bears repeating: quit smoking. If you tried doing so but failed multiple times, asking for professional help may be beneficial to you.
Now that you know the other causes of wrinkles besides aging, make sure to keep yourself protected. Staying out of these causes is not only beneficial to your skin but also for your health as well.