You know the major causes of wrinkles and dull, older-looking skin -- smoke, sun, and genetics, just to name a few. But did you know that seemingly harmless everyday habits and even the way you wear your hair could make you look older than you actually are?
The classic sign of tiredness encourages your eyes to water, which can contribute to swelling and puffiness, says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. Over time, that extra fluid weakens elasticity and stretches the skin under the eyes, accelerating under eye bags and wrinkles, she says.
The fix: Get your beauty sleep and counteract under eye puff with an eye cream that contains skin-tightening caffeine. Try L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment ($25; ulta.com).
Forgetting Your Sunglasses
Repeated facial expressions contribute to wrinkles. “Of course, our faces are meant to move,” Rouleau says. “But you do want to avoid facial expressions that are unnecessary.”
One way to do it: Always wear sunglasses when you’re outside. Brightness causes squinting, which can lead to an increased crinkling around the eyes, she says.
Your Voluminous Hair
We understand the need for a little lift, especially if your hair feels thinner than usual these days. But heavy-duty backcombing can make hair look helmetlike -- a very dated, mature look, says Mordechai Alvow, founder of Yarok Beauty Kitchen in New York City.
To thicken up without going to new heights, try a volumizing mousse that will plump up the diameter of each individual strand.
“Using a concealer that’s too thick under the eyes in an attempt to cover dark circles only ends up bringing out wrinkles, making you look older,” says celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose. Ditch the opaque, cakey stuff and switch to a lightweight formula that corrects and brightens skin discoloration, instead of completely covering, he says.
Try Physicians Formula Youth Wear Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Concealer.
Your Drive to Work
If you think you don’t need SPF when you’re in your car or office, think again. “UVA rays are responsible for changing the DNA in the skin, causing premature skin aging and skin cancer,” Rouleau says. “These have approximately the same strength from summer to winter and can penetrate through clouds and even windows in your home, office, or car.”
Play it safe by wearing sunscreen each and every day.
Blood flow starts to lag with age, which is partly why skin loses it radiance with age, Rouleau says. To give it a little boost, take a hands-on approach and invest in regular facials (think massage), using products that contain vasodilators, or even applying a mechanical exfoliant such as scrub.
In an effort to brighten up your complexion, you've been dusting on a vibrant shade of pink blush. But "blush that's too intense can make you look like you're trying too hard to look younger," Barose says.
The fix: Go for colour, but in a sheer formulation and blend well.
Or any other major source of stress in your life, says Vermén Verallo-Rowell, M.D., dermatologist, dermatopathologist, and founder of VMV Hypoallergenics, can cause inflammation, which accelerates skin aging. Since you can't play hooky every day, reduce stress levels by getting adequate sleep, exercise, and meditation. Verallo-Rowell says studies show a link between these things and an increase in telomerase, an enzyme that is fundamental to the long-term health -- and youthfulness -- of cells.