You could invest in the most advanced age-defying, wrinkle-reversing serums, masks and night creams…
But they will do nothing to stand up against some of your most normal, everyday, thoughtless habits and routines.
You could even be giving yourself wrinkles right now as you’re reading this article, just from how you’re holding your neck and face as you peer at the screen of your device. Yikes!
But hey, let’s be honest, no one is going to go to their grave with no wrinkles whatsoever. They’re an inevitable byproduct of the aging process, and they’re not something to be feared or agonized over.
I always say, “I don’t mind wrinkles, but my goal is to have more smile lines than frown lines — then I’ll know I’ve lived my life well.”
However, I also figure, while many of the causes of wrinkles may be out of our control, why not take action to prevent the ones we do have some influence over.
Because if you’re smearing on ever more anti-aging products while unwittingly piling more fuel on the fire daily with a number of unconscious wrinkle-increasing habits, we want to turn that around.
22 innocent daily habits that are actually causing wrinkles
We’ve done the hard yards and researched all of the possible ways you could be accidentally adding years to your face and neck. They include activities, movements and environmental factors which affect skin from the outside in, and health factors which result in wrinkles starting from the inside out.
The way you sleep could be giving you wrinkles
Firstly, the way you’re sleeping could be leaving you with lines on your face. Especially if you sleep on your stomach, but also if you sleep on your side. It’s really not surprising since we literally spend about a third of our lives in bed with our faces pushed into a pillow.
Just try this experiment in the mirror: push your hand against your face wherever you normally rest on the pillow. You’ll see the skin form a familiar pattern of creases that are getting deeper with each night that you sleep in the same position.
But never fear, there are some things you can do. Change sleep positions, for one. Sleeping on your back is the least wrinkle-forming way to sleep. You can also invest in some wrinkle-reducing sleep equipment, namely a silk or satin pillowcase that causes less friction to your skin, and even an anti-wrinkle pillow that supports you to sleep in a certain position and doesn’t press on your face.
While the way you sleep may give you wrinkles, don’t let that be a reason to sleep less! Getting less sleep has been shown to leave you with significantly greater signs of aging. Be sure to get your beauty sleep, literally!
Facial expressions and movements that cause wrinkles
If you frown, grimace, furrow your brow or make any other default facial expression when you’re not actively thinking about it, you’re likely to spend quite a bit of time in this position.
A 2010 study compared baseline images of women to photos taken eight years later and verified that repeated facial expressions eventually “solidify” into permanent wrinkles. In addition to your default expression, repeatedly moving your face in a certain way, such as raising your eyebrows, can leave lasting marks. Try being more conscious of your resting position and practice changing it until it becomes automatic.
Squinting is a major contributor to wrinkles around the eyes, whether you do it just while concentrating, because you forgot your sunglasses or because you’re avoiding wearing vision glasses even though you need them. Take action to support the comfort and function of your eyes so you can avoid these wrinkles.
Speaking of squinting and wearing sunglasses, crow’s feet aren’t the only wrinkles you’ll get from being out in the sun. The radiation from sunlight is a well-known wrinkle accelerator, so be sure to use plenty of natural sunscreen, wear a hat and stay in the shade when you can. This is especially true for those who spend a lot of time in the car, as they may observe accelerated aging on one side of the face, neck, arm and hand.
There are many other head, neck and facial positions that might be increasing the visible aging of your skin. For example, rubbing your eyes or tugging at the eyes when using eyeliner, mascara or contact lenses has been known to damage the collagen networks in this delicate skin area.
Other common culprits include resting your face on your hand, or bending your neck to stare at your smartphone or computer. (If you’re concerned, here’s how to get a natural neck lift.) Repeated movements like chewing gum, or pursing the lips to use a straw or smoke a cigarette also leave recognizable patterns in the skin.
To prevent this, simply become aware of what positions or movements you repeat regularly, and take action to change them, while also making an effort to take better care of your skin.
Lifestyle habits that give you wrinkles
Not removing makeup before going to bed is one of the worst things you can do for your complexion. This can leave you with toxins that absorb into the skin and damage collagen and elastin.
But on the flip side, drying out the skin with commercial facial cleansers is also counterproductive. Research shows that drier skin shows lines and furrows more visibly, while well-moisturized and hydrated skin remains more smooth and elastic. It’s important to use gentle natural cleansers that nourish the skin and support its innate youthful structure.
Speaking of keeping skin looking great from the inside out — with this goal in mind, there are certain foods we want to avoid. Namely, acidifying foods like excessive amounts of meat, dairy and sugar can accelerate aging and leave skin looking inflamed and dull. What to eat instead? Try these 10 anti-aging foods.
Not surprisingly, drinking too much alcohol or coffee also ages skin faster. (However, this secret coffee does the opposite.) Alcohol is toxic to the body, the effects of which are often visible in the skin in the form of puffiness and redness. Coffee causes elevated cortisol which accelerates aging, plus the diuretic effect dries out the skin. And, do we even need to say it? Smoking cigarettes is terrible for your skin if you want to stay looking youthful and wrinkle-free.
And finally, being sedentary and sitting too much can leave you looking, well, saggy. A 2015 study found that exercise has anti-aging effects via a cytokine called interleukin 15, which regulates mitochondrial function and keeps skin from degenerating.
However, you should also be wary about the way you get active. If you’re walking, running or biking somewhere with significant air pollution, a 2010 study found that the chemicals you absorb may increase visible signs of aging.
Now that you’re suddenly aware of all these things that could be causing wrinkles in your everyday life, try not to get too stressed about it — the most potent anti-aging secrets could be altogether more intangible.
— Liivi Hess