Admit it, most of us twenty-something people have a “carpe diem attitude” when it comes to skin care. We hop into bed still wearing a mascara, we try out every new skin product to hit the shelves, and so on. These common mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but over time they can take a toll on your skin and leave you looking prematurely aged. But don’t worry, there’s still time to break down your bad skin habits. I’ll tell you how to avoid them by knowing the six causes of premature skin aging.
1. Skipping Sunscreen
The No. 1 way you’re aging your skin? Not wearing sunscreen daily. Living in a tropical island country, my mother always remind this to me and to my brother every morning, she says “The sun can reach you on cloudy, or rainy days as well. It can even burn your skin when you are cooking or blogging in your room. Skin-damaging UV rays can penetrate through glass, so you need to apply sun protection even indoors.” Seriously, it’s super annoying to hear her preach about it every freakin’ day, but she is right.
“The sun is responsible for the vast majority of visible ageing” according to L’Oreal Research and Innovation Center in Paris. And fortunately, sunscreens does more than protect you from cancer and painful sunburns. A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that regular sunscreen use protects against photoaging: the wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. “Regular sunscreen use by young and mid-aged adults under 55 brings cosmetic benefits and also decreases the risk of skin cancer.” says Dr. Adele Green of Queensland Institute of Medical Research, the study’s lead author.
Because of the damage in our ozone layer, we must opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen which blocks both types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, with an SPF of at least 30 and antioxidant-fortified formulas containing ingredients such as resveratrol, vitamin C, idebenone, or coffee berry; like La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Extreme, SPF 60 ($24), a highly rated, good for your skin, fast-absorbing, matte finish fluid which is also ranked as the number one on Rank & Style’s Ten Best Facial Sunscreens For Daily Use. But if you’re looking for something natural you can opt for bareMinerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen ($39), natural sunscreen comes in easy-to-use mineral powder form. The best part? It’s applicable to both face and body, making it your one stop for ultimate sun protection.And yes, this is also ranked as number 1 on the Ten Best Natural Facial Sunscreens by Rank & Style.
2. Neglecting Your Hands and Neck
Your face isn’t the only area that needs a little TLC, obviously. Overexposure to sun affects your hands and neck just as much as your complexion. These areas show signs of aging, like dark spots, dryness, and loss of firmness as well. Treat your neck and the backs of your hands as you would your face by generously applying moisturizer and sunscreen. While you can buy body-specific products, they aren’t necessary. Those formulated for your face will work just fine, according to Dr. Neil Sadick, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist.
3. Going to bed without removing your makeup
This is the most common mistake every women in their 20’s do. You may find it tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts later.
In the morning my mother preaches about sunscreen, at night the preaching continues but this time it’s about facial cleansers. She says “during the day environmental toxins like dirt and pollution build up on skin and invade pores, which can cause acne and aging.”
So me and my brother can never hit the sack unless we wash our faces first. So use a good cleanser and save your skin. I personally uses Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($10), a drugstore favorite consistently endorsed by dermatologists, because it’s non-comedogenic/fragrance free and gentle enough for everyday use. And it is also ranked number 1 the Ten Best Facial Cleansers by Rank & Style.
4. Ditching products too quickly
If you’re frustrated that your new anti-aging moisturizer or newly purchased Korean essence isn’t doing its job, stick it out longer before switching. Bouncing from product to product may leave you with the impression that nothing works for your skin.
It is recommended that you give a new product at least six weeks to produce a change in your complexion. “One skin cycle takes 30 days [for new cells to reach the top layer of skin], so in order to see a real difference in texture, tone, and clarity, you need to use it for more than a month,” says Dr. Jacobs. If the product contains anti-aging ingredients, wait even longer. Your skin takes about four months to regenerate collagen and elastin, she says. (Source)
5. Using too many products at once
The trendy and rigorous Korean skin care routine is known for using 6-12 products on your face at once. It’s famous because Korean women are known for having flawless and dewy skin so obviously, your intrigued to try it too, thinking it may work on you also. Not so fast.
If your skin gets irritated after you use a handful of new products, you won’t know what’s causing the problem and assume they’re all irritating. Instead, “start with one at a time and integrate a new product every two weeks,” says Dr. Jacob. That way, you’ll be better able to identify what’s aggravating you, or know what combination of them makes your skin go haywire. Plus, you’ll also save some cash by buying only what you need.
6. Skimping on sleep
Getting insufficient sleep is one of the causes of premature skin aging—and, in the short run, result in dark circles and a lackluster complexion. During the day, our skin cells are battling against an onslaught of stressors, like UV rays and pollution. Sleep is vital because stress hormones drop to normal levels at night, giving cells time to repair and rejuvenate, says Dr. Jacob.
Plus, stress raises the levels of the hormone cortisol, which increases oil production and can lead to bouts of acne, according to Dr. Jacob. So make sure you’re not depriving yourself of the sleep you need and do it glamorously like Holly Golightly.