Surprising habits that give wrinkles

Our phones and tablets may be partly to blame for the wrinkles right below your chin.

UMNIA SHAHID February 01, 2015
Certainly, it’s essential to keep your skin dirt-free but don’t overdo it. Wash no more than twice daily PHOTO: Stock Image

You most likely know the dont’s: Not wearing sunscreen, smoking, and not getting enough sleep can make you look older. But there are plenty of other culprits that are aging your skin. As compiled by, Prevention and Good Housekeeping magazine, discover everyday activities that are adding years to your face.

Chewing gum

Fresh-breath enthusiasts, beware. Chewing on gum leads to wrinkles, because it forces your mouth to continually form different unnatural shapes. “For frequent chewers, those formations end up resulting in a downward turn in the corners of the mouth, as well as a pronounced muscle at the bottom of the jawline,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of the brand LovelySkin. And once shaped, they’re almost impossible to undo naturally, he says. The simple way out: Stick to mints, breath strips and mouth wash.

Washing your face too much

Certainly, it’s essential to keep your skin dirt-free but don’t overdo it. Wash no more than twice daily — with an extra water-wash pre- or post-workout is acceptable. Bear in mind that not all face cleansers and skin astringents are created equal. Alkaline bar soaps strip your skin of its natural oils and can cause irritation; a non-soap cleanser is a much gentler option. “Bars of soap contain alkaline and sometimes have a pH of 9 to 10, which can disrupt one’s epidermal skin barrier,” says Dr Patricia K Farris, a dermatologist in New Orleans.

Wearing contacts

The issue isn’t so much wearing contact lenses as it is incorrectly putting them in and taking them out. When applying lenses, we naturally tug at the thin, sensitive skin around the eyes, which can cause inflammation and, overtime, lead to wrinkling and sagging. This is where skin is most fragile, which makes it the most delicate. Since the eyes are the first to show signs of aging, be gentle with it. “Pulling on the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively to remove stubborn eye makeup can create wear and tear on the collagen and elasticity fibres, causing visible lines and wrinkles prematurely,” explains celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau.”

Consuming sugary goods

It’s no secret that hitting the dessert table too often does bad things to your waistline but indulging in sugary treats can also damage the skin, says New York City-based dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, PhD. “Sugar molecules bind to tissues by a process called glycation,” she says. When that happens, damaging new molecules are created in your bloodstream, and these saboteurs injure collagen and elastin, the fibres responsible for keeping the skin turgid and firm.

Sleeping on the stomach

Habitually pushing on your face — which your pillow does when you snuggle into it face-first, causes creases, eventually resulting in permanent wrinkles, says Alexiades-Armenakas. Frowning in your sleep is another night-time wrinkle risk, says Jeannette Graf, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Medical Centre. Each sleep position has its pros and cons, but sleeping on your back can help minimise facial wrinkles you might get from your pillow. If you must sleep on your side, switch to a silk or satin pillowcase, which creates less compression wrinkles and can help maintain your skin’s moisture levels, while keeping it taut.

Smartphone addiction

Our phones and tablets may be partly to blame for the wrinkles right below your chin. Our necks get forced into an unusual angle when we stare down at our gadgets for hours on end. You’ve probably already noticed the instantaneous effects, as in a sore neck and strained eyes but other issues may build up over time, including stubborn neck wrinkles that are irreversible, says Joel Schlessinger, MD. He suggests trying to view your screens in a more ergonomic way that your tablet or phone is positioned at eye-level – this will lessen your chance of developing lines.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd,  2015.

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