4 Things to Do Right Now for Younger Looking Skin
Experts say that some of our most innocent habits could induce serious damage to our skin. With these little shifts, you’ll outsmart them all and stay smooth and lovely.
1. Get the Right Indoor Lighting
We know that the sun’s UV rays cause wrinkles, spots, and skin cancer – but now, news comes that taking shelter indoors doesn’t completely put your skin out of harm’s way. “LED lightbulbs emit moderate levels of UV,” explains Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. “And the overhead lighting in office buildings and stores gives off a type of light that can trigger melasma, a condition that causes brown patches on the face.” But before you resolve to live by candlelight, know this: Indoor lights are far less damaging to skin than the sun, and it’s easy to cut down your exposure at home. Gohara suggests using low-wattage bulbs or energy-saving CFL bulbs, and installing dimmers for overhead lighting. To protect skin once you leave the house, apply an antioxidant serum every morning – Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum ($10; amazon.com) is a nice one – followed by a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. Gohara notes that a mineral formula that contains iron oxide, such as SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($34; amazon.com), can help prevent melasma.
2. Turn Down the Heat
It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick: Infrared radiation, or IR, is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we feel as heat. “It releases from any object that gives off warmth, be it a grill or a steamy sidewalk – and the hotter something is, the more IR it produces,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Here’s where things get tricky: Moderate, controlled levels of IR can actually be good for skin, triggering collagen and elastin (which is why you see infrared technology in at-home anti-aging light devices), but excess levels have been linked to skin spots and melasma. So what’s the right balance for a youthful complexion? “You don’t have to toss out your blow-dryer or hot iron; just avoid high heat where you can,” Zeichner says. “Don’t linger in front of a hot stove, and use a headset to chat on your mobile phone so the warm screen isn’t by your face.”
3. Chuck the Gum
Your third-grade teacher didn’t know it, but she was giving you great anti-aging advice when she told you to spit out your gum. “The motions caused by constant gum chewing can lead to creases around the mouth, even sagging jowls,” says Macrene Alexiades, M.D., president of the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center of New York. She suggests dialing back to once or twice a week, and chewing for no more than 10 minutes at a time. If you usually grab gum to curb snack cravings, reach for a cup of peppermint tea or water with lemon instead. To soften lines around your mouth, dab on a lotion daily that contains wrinkle-fighting peptides and hyaluronic acid to plump skin – or try Alexiades’s 37 Actives Filler Lip Treatment, which contains both ingredients.
4. Reduce Tech Neck
Hold the phone! Our mobile devices may keep our lives in order, but they’re not so kind to the delicate skin on our neck. One study found that on average, we check our phones a whopping 150 times a day, looking down each time. “This repeated folding of the neck skin leads to premature wrinkles and a loss of elasticity there, known as ‘tech neck,'” says Zeichner – one more reason why dermatologists stress the importance of using a neck cream that has retinol or peptides twice a day to keep skin taut. Try RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest, Neck, and Face Cream ($27.99; amazon.com) or StriVectin TL Neck Cream ($15; amazon.com). “Blend a nickel-size drop from your collarbone to your jaw with upward strokes so you don’t pull on the skin,” says Zeichner. When checking your phone, hold it at eye level to avoid tilting your neck – or better yet, get off text and call your friend.