10 Surprising Things That Are Aging You
The preservatives in your cosmetics cabinet can break down, and bacteria can build up with each reach of a finger. If your makeup has expired, chances are it's doing more harm than good to the delicate skin on your face.
If the jar has been sitting around for a while, smell it, suggests Linda Franks, MD, medical director of Gramercy Park Dermatology. If it smells different or if it changes color, toss it.
The solution: Assess your makeup on a regular basis.
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Falling asleep wearing makeup
Yes, in the movies (and soaps we secretly watch), the women always wake up looking flawless. But have you ever tried waking up in last night's makeup? You would likely resemble a drunken Courtney Love -- never a good look. When you don't clean off your makeup, says Franks, you're also leaving the dirt and debris of the day on you. Nighttime is time for your face to repair itself, so let nature do its job.
The solution: Use makeup remover for everything you've put on and wash your face before bedtime.
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The number-one social lubricant is also a major player in causing dehydration, which sucks your skin of its vitality. When your skin is dehydrated, it can't pass along the proper nutrients from cell to cell and can't detoxify.
The solution: For every glass of alcoholic beverage you drink (beer, wine, a cocktail), drink a full glass of water.
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Only drinking water
What happens when we drink eight glasses of water a day? We're in the bathroom eight times or more, flushing our system of vital nutrients, says Howard Murad, MD, CEO and founder of Murad Inc. Remember dehydration?
The solution: Eat your water too! Raw fruits and vegetables contain structured water and vital nutrients that keep you hydrated and glowing.
It's smelly, foul and so terribly bad for you -- and not just for reasons related to lung cancer. Cigarette smoking causes a loss of elasticity in and increased wrinkling of the entire face (most famously, around the mouth), says Jessica Krant, MD, assistant clinical professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City.
The solution: Uh, don't smoke!
You know that super-science-y term that's been around for a while, "free radicals"? I mean, we're all for freedom, so they sound like a good thing, right? Wrong. "Free radicals are potentially harmful oxygen atoms, which can damage cell structures so badly that DNA codes are altered and immunity is impaired," explains Christina-Lauren Pollack, lifestyle blogger and Glamour magazine "Glambassador."
Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants that inactivate free radicals, but pollutants these days are so overwhelming (pesticides, engine exhaust, radiation) that our skin takes the fall.
The solution: Incorporate these five antioxidant-rich sources into your diet: vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, coenzyme Q10 and lipoic acid.
Lack of sleep
Sleep is restorative and improves not only memory, recall and learning, but also the body's physical health. Studies have shown that "beauty sleep" is real (you look more attractive after a good night's rest), and it also keeps the body's level of ghrelin, the "hunger hormone," low, allowing natural weight control, which, of course, supports health and good food choices.
The solution: Fit in at least eight hours of sleep a night to wake up looking and feeling refreshed.
A diet full of fruits, vegetables, natural oils, nuts and whole grains is rich in antioxidants, the molecules that fight the damage and inflammation that lead to aging and cancer. A diet that's saturated in white flour and white sugar, and is low in vitamins and antioxidants, accelerates inflammation and aging both inside the body and on the surface.
The solution: Eat your fruits and veggies, plus healthy oils too (like nuts, olive oil and avocado).
Using too many (or not enough) products on your skin can have visible effects. Selecting the right product is key, says Murad. Cleansers, scrubs and treatments that are too strong or heavily fragranced may irritate and dehydrate the skin, in fact.
The solution: Use products containing exfoliants, hydrators, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Getting a “healthy” tan
Red, peeling skin is neither sexy nor healthy, but that's a given. And yet, a bronze hue is considered beautiful. If you think you're getting "a little color," you should still watch out, says Krant. There's no such thing as a "healthy tan." "Tanning is the skin's reaction to damage from the sun's ultraviolet radiation," she says. "The rays break down the collagen and elastin fibers, which leads to wrinkling and skin dullness."
The solution: Always wear a facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30 every day, no matter the season.