We all get older day by day, and signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration are all inevitable (unless you want to invest in a consistent stream of botox, laser treatments, and face lifts). Aging isn’t something to be ashamed of, but there are steps you can take to make your skin healthy and radiant for as long as possible. Here’s a list of some not so great skin care habits you should consider changing if you want to set your skin up for success!
Not wearing Sunscreen/Tanning
Wearing sunscreen is important for so much more than preventing sunburns. The sun is one of the most damaging factors that affects the skin, and about 80% of the visible signs of aging that we see are a result of unprotected sun exposure. Overexposure to UV rays breaks down and damages skin cells over time which results in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and sagging. So daily sunscreen usage is critical — UV rays affect the skin regardless of how sunny it is outside.
Opt for a mineral sunscreen (EWG recommends avoiding chemical sunscreens, but states that mineral sunscreen ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are generally regarded as safe) with an SPF of at least 15, and apply it liberally to your face, neck, hands, and any other body part exposed to the sun. If you will be spending significant time in direct sunlight or if you’re swimming, reapply frequently for the best protection possible.
This also means you should avoid the tanning bed if you don’t want your skin to resemble an old leather handbag. Try a spray tan, self tanner, or even a tinted sunscreen if you want that sunkissed glow without the risks associated with UV rays.
Behind sunscreen, moisturizer is probably the most important step of your skin care routine if anti-aging is your goal. Hydrated skin is more supple and radiant which diminishes the appearance and formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Many moisturizers are formulated with ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and antioxidants to lock in moisture and protect from free radical damage (more on that later).
Also, don’t neglect to take moisturizer down your neck because it’s just as capable of losing elasticity and wrinkling as the skin on your face. Your hands are also known to show signs of aging early on, so don’t skip hand cream, and use these tips for softer healthy hands.
Using too many products
When it comes to skin care, like most things, less is more. Overcomplicating your skincare routine, and mixing up the products you use regularly doesn’t allow the active ingredients to do their job. The sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, and peptides in your anti-aging products won’t be able to tackle aging if you are inconsistent with your usage.
Mixing many different products with contrasting ingredients can also be damaging for the skin. One common example is mixing a retinol with a product containing Vitamin C, which makes the skin more susceptible to sun damage.
Instead of having a skincare shelf that’s piled high with 8 different cleansers, 15 serums, and a moisturizer for every day of the week, find a simple routine that softens and cleanses your skin without irritation, and keep using it. You may change up a few products as the seasons change, if you suddenly start breaking out or reacting in any negative way, or if you move to a different city and notice changes in your skin. But, for the most part, there’s benefits to consistency, so keep using the same products for the best results.
Tugging at your skin
We’ve all done it. Sometimes we just have to tug at our eyelids a little to get a straight line of eyeliner, or we’re a little too rough when we swipe a makeup wipe across our skin when it’s time for bed. But constant tugging can cause premature sagging on the delicate skin around the eyes. Be gentle when touching your face, and restore the skin around the eyes with a hydrating eye gel.
Using harsh, irritating products
Skin care products with irritating ingredients like sulfates and fragrance can not only cause breakouts and redness, but these harsh ingredients are known to strip the skin of its essential natural oils, and dry out the skin. Dry, dull skin makes fine lines more visible, so choose fragrance free, sulfate free skin care products that use gentle, hydrating ingredients instead.
Exposure to pollution/free radicals
Particulate matter from pollutants such as fires, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, smog, phthalates from plastic, and particles released from aerosol cans, can penetrate to deeper layers of skin, and cause permanent damage like wrinkles and discoloration. This happens because the free radicals (chemically unstable atoms that have an unpaired electron) found in pollutants latch on to skin cells in order to try and pair their electrons. This breaks the skin cell down over time and damages DNA, resulting in, you guessed it, signs of aging.
Antioxidants are the main force that fight against free radicals, so use skin care products that contain vitamins C and E, or consume antioxidant-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, and walnuts to help build your skin barrier.
Try Cleure Sensitive Skin Day Cream with Vitamin C to help protect your skin against
Smoking and drinking
Smoking breaks down collagen in the skin which makes it less elastic and prone to sagging. Even nicotine vaping products can dry out the skin, and dry skin makes the effects of aging all the more visible.
If you’re chugging water the morning after you drink because you’re parched, just know your skin also inherits the dehydrating effects of excessive alcohol intake, and once again, dryness is no friend to anti-aging.
We all have our vices, but if you want what’s best for your skin you’ll put down the bottles and the pack of cigarettes, and pick up your moisturizer and sunscreen instead.
Not drinking enough water
Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and if there’s anything that needs to be overstated, it’s that hydration is the key to preventing signs of aging. Drinking enough water is the baseline of health, so if you’re not getting your 8 glasses a day, then make a mental note to drink more water. If you're bored of drinking plain water, try infusing it with some fruit like lemon, orange, or cucumbers for the added antioxidant boost.
It’s never too early or too late to start guiding your skin care routine in the anti-aging direction. Preventing wrinkles and minimizing their appearance can be achieved through consistent healthy skin care habits and using gentle, naturally hydrating products with great ingredients.