10 Surprising Things that Are Causing Your Wrinkles

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Let age, not envy, draw wrinkles on thy cheeks, said Thomas Browne…

And, to be frank, he was right.

When you think about wrinkles (perish the thought, we know!) you usually see them as something that’s bound to happen as you age, right?

Well, while that is partially true, there are a few things that you might be doing that are speeding up the process. Browne believed that to be envy, but there is more to the story, unfortunately.  

What Is Causing Your Wrinkles?

Now, when it comes to non-age related causes of your wrinkles, sadly, there are quite a few. There are things that sneak up on you and, before you know it, you’re left with crow’s feet or some deeper lines on your forehead.  

Here are some of the most prominent causes you should watch out for.

1) The Sun

Sunlight through trees

We know, it sucks because you literally cannot get away.

And, it’s not even that healthy to get away from the sun.

So, what are we to do?

In general, it’s not the sun that’s causing your wrinkles, it’s ultraviolet light. The radiation actually speeds up the aging process. When you’re exposed to UV light, it breaks down the connective tissue of your skin, i.e. collagen and elastin fibers. That means that your skin loses flexibility and strength.

And what does that cause?

Wrinkles, of course!

So, how are we to protect our skin from the harmful UV light?

Well, first of all – sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!

We know that some people enjoy being outdoors and, frankly, good for them! However, necessary precautions need to be taken. Use long-sleeved shirts and sunglasses, and even hats to protect yourself from the sun.

But, more importantly, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30, at least! Bear in mind that you should reapply it every two hours and even more often if you’re swimming. Also, to protect your skin in the winter as well, use sunscreen on parts of your body not covered by clothes.

2) Smoking

Well, we can’t say that we’re surprised.

Is there any actual benefit to smoking?

And yet, according to the CDC, 14 percent of US adults smoke cigarettes. That means that 34.4 million adults in the US smoke!

As is the case with too much sun exposure, the toxins in cigarette smoke cause damage to collagen and elastin, which, of course, speeds up aging.

However, there is an added “benefit” to smoking – it also constricts your blood vessels, which inhibits blood flow and oxygen. And what does that do?

Why, it ages your skin!

(Not to mention all the other ways smoking is harmful to your body.)

The only advice we can give you to fight the damage smoking is doing to your skin is – to quit! Or… at least try to cut back for the sake of your entire body.

Now, don’t think that nothing happens when you quit. The body is a wondrous thing and it has an incredible ability to heal itself, much faster than you would think. Just a month after you quit, the fibers in your lungs that help keep the lungs healthy will start to grow back. This will improve the level of oxygen in your body, thus contributing to the healthier look of your skin.

3) Alcohol

Again, no surprises here.

You probably already know that regular alcohol consumption is not good for your body in many, many ways.

And, it just so happens that one of those ways is premature aging.

But did you know that even a single night of drinking can dehydrate your skin and make your fine lines more noticeable? This is, of course, temporary, but imagine what alcohol can do to your skin in the long run.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it dehydrates you as you drink it. (We know, the irony – a liquid that is making you dehydrated!)

But it’s true. Alcohol saps away the natural moisture of your skin, worsening wrinkles and even acne, making you look older than you are.

Again, if you reduce your drinking or stop altogether, good news! Your skin, like most organs of your body, will use its incredible ability to regenerate. However, that ability does depend on the damage already done.

So take care not to cause too much damage to it.

4) (Some Types of) Food

Well, if you’re not particularly watching what you eat, you may be contributing to the increased wrinkling of your skin.

In general, if you’re not careful, your food can cause many, many health issues. If you eat a lot of sugary, fatty, processed foods, your skin is not going to love it.

Eating a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates leads to damage in collagen, which, as we’ve mentioned before, leads to wrinkles.

The best thing you can do is watch what you eat (at least a little).

Here is some of the food you should avoid or, at least, limit in your daily diet:

  • Deep-fried food. Yeah, we know, it’s delicious, but deep-fried food adds to inflammation.
  • Processed sugar. No, of course, this doesn’t mean you should cut all sugar out. However, you do need to reduce it significantly if you want to avoid premature wrinkles. Basically, when sugar enters your bloodstream, it binds to a protein, creating by-products called AGEs. These damage collagen and diminish the skin’s integrity.
  • Processed meats. They are usually quite high in saturated fats and have nitrates, which can lead to inflammation.

When it comes to food good for your skin, there are various options. But the main gist is, and you might have guessed it – fruits and veggies are the best! Fresh fruits and vegetables have plenty of zinc, vitamin C, beta carotene and selenium, which help the body produce collagen and protect it against free radicals.

Another thing you should eat is food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acids. This includes salmon, olive oil, avocados, flaxseed and oatmeal.

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/characteristic-view-modern-city-skyline-covered-1100995652

5) Smog

Aside from the clear detrimental effects air pollution has on our general health, it also affects our skin in the worst ways.

Chemicals in the air, tiny particles called PMs, cause quite the problem for your skin. It is those particles that increase age spots and wrinkles. Another thing that increases aging of your skin is nitrogen dioxide, another common part of air pollution. Apparently, once these agents get into the skin, they activate inflammation. And if you have too much chronic inflammation, certain enzymes remove more collagen than your skin can create, which, of course, results in wrinkles.  

Now, pollution and smog are issues in almost all major cities in the world, and while certain measures are being taken to lower it, it is uncertain when or if they will be successful.

But there are things you can do for your skin on a daily level. Always cleanse your face after coming home to get rid of the particles on your face. Then, fortify your skin and use a cream rich in antioxidants each morning. This will provide your skin with the necessary protection, at least for a little while.

Habits That You Should Break

When it comes to activities that you may do on a daily level, quite a lot of them are the essential cause of premature wrinkles.

And the good thing about habits is – you can always break them!

Here are some habits that you should try to break in order to prevent early wrinkles.

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/top-view-attractive-young-woman-sleeping-653166973

6) Sleeping on Your Stomach/Side

There’s almost nothing better than diving straight into your pillow at the end of a challenging day.

Or curling up on your side like a baby.

Sadly, these are the sleep positions that will lead to wrinkles.

According to the National Sleep Survey, an overwhelming 74 percent of people sleep on their side. About 16 percent sleep on their stomach, while 10 percent sleep on their back.

But that means that 90 percent of people cause compression wrinkles on their faces – around their eyes, nose and mouth. You should at least go to bed on your back and make a conscious effort to sleep in that position.

Another problem with this sleeping habit is that many pillowcases draw moisture from your face. This leaves your skin dry, making it prone to wrinkles. To combat this issue, you should switch to a silk pillowcase, which will not dry your skin out.

Also, and this goes without saying – try to get as much sleep as you can. There is some truth to the “beauty sleep” phrase. Namely, while you sleep, your skin regenerates and repairs itself. Unfortunately, it cannot do that if you don’t sleep as much as you should.

Woman sleeping on her side

7) Putting on Makeup the Wrong Way

Yeah, you might be wondering – how the heck can you put on makeup the wrong way?

Well, if you take a look in the mirror when you’re applying your makeup – you’re making a face, aren’t you?

Most women, when applying makeup, raise their eyebrows or frown. This creates lines which disappear when you stop making a face, but in time, they will stick.

It seems that moms all across the globe are right – stop making that face or it will stay that way.

So, the next time you’re applying makeup, try to make a conscious effort not to raise eyebrows or frown.

Another thing you should take care of when it comes to makeup is – try to use the right kind. If you use heavy foundations and powders, that can settle into the wrinkles and fine lines on your face, accentuating them instead of hiding them.

Use a lighter formula for your foundation or even a tinted moisturizer.

8) Looking Down

Woman looking down at phone

No, we don’t mean in the metaphorical sense (although looking down on anyone is simply not okay), we mean actually, physically looking down.

You might think that you don’t do this that often.

But you also may be reading this on your tablet, phone or laptop, while bending your head downwards.

In general, we spend too much time staring at our technological devices. Now there’s even a name for that – tech neck. And while the worst thing about tech neck is the strain on your neck muscles, there is also an unfortunate side effect – the wrinkles on your neck.

Since the skin on the neck is thinner, it’s much more prone to wrinkling.

In order to preclude this, you can use firming creams. But, the best way to prevent tech neck altogether is to place your laptop at a higher level, and holding up your smartphone.

9) Squinting

Did you know that squinting is actually one of the most common facial expressions? We squint when the sun is too bright, when we can’t see something and even when we’re simply feeling happy or sad.

But that just means that crow’s feet will appear sooner than you’d think.

Again, the skin around the eyes, like that on the neck, is quite thin, making it easier for wrinkles to appear.

When it comes to ways to prevent that, if you’re going out into the sun, always (and we can’t stress this enough) wear sunglasses. However, not just any sunglasses – wear those that block UVA and UVB rays to get maximum protection not just for your skin, but also your eyes, which can also suffer from the sun.

If you’re wearing prescription glasses, make sure that you visit your optician regularly so that you don’t have to strain your eyes and squint all the time. The right prescription is basically a win-win!

10) Drinking with a Straw

Woman drinking through straw

Like with squinting and any other repetitive facial movement, if you have a habit of drinking with a straw, you’re gonna pay for it in wrinkles.

For a long time, drinking with a straw was all the rage because it was said to protect your teeth. While this may or may not be true, straws are definitely not good for the skin around your mouth.

This repetitive motion of pursing your lips can make wrinkles appear around your mouth much faster than necessary. Also, the tighter you purse your lips, the deeper the wrinkles will be.

So, next time you’re offered a straw, decline it. Not only will your skin be grateful for it, but the turtles will, as well!

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