6 Morning Habits That Make You Look 10 Years Older
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After a night of sleep, your skin needs to be woken up—not stripped of its natural oils via a medicated cleanser. "The number one thing that makes your face look older is being overly dry," says Julius Few, MD, director of the skin clinic at The Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Aside from drying due to arid winter air, oil production in your skin also decreases as you age, exacerbating parchedness. The result? More visible wrinkles and pores, and a duller appearance, says Few. He recommends washing your face at night to get skin clean, but using only a lukewarm splash of water in the morning.
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While you may be well aware of the dangers of the sun's UV rays, there's another outside assailant to take note of: pollutants, says Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in the greater Boston area. "Our environment is getting increasingly more polluted. Skin is being exposed to free radicals, which research shows causes premature aging," she says. Use an antioxidant serum in the morning before applying moisturizer. Look for formulas with vitamins C, E, ferulic acid, green tea or lycopene, all effective antioxidants.
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If so, don't forget to drink plain water, too. Few recommends matching the amount of coffee or tea you're drinking with H20. "It's a great way to stay on top of your hydration," says Few. If you already realize you don't drink enough water, know that skimping on H20 can be aging. Not only can skin be drier as a result, but "your pores may also be more visible because your skin isn't as supple," Few adds.
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One patient visited Few recently and confessed that after skipping her workout, she didn't look as vibrant and awake as usual. There's a reason for that. "Exercise increases the microcirculation in your face, which helps improve moisture in the skin. People generally look younger after they've worked out," says Few. Without exercise, you may appear pale and deal with dull skin. Even better are the long-term benefits: Regular endurance activity helps prevent cellular aging in the skin, finds 2015 research on animals and humans, published in the journal Aging Cell. You don't need to lock yourself in a gym, either. Few recommends 20 minutes per day.
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You may have wrinkles or brown spots you'd like to disguise, so you slather on a thick layer of foundation and top it off with a generous dusting of powder. Unfortunately, a heavy application clumps and settles into creases, making them more noticeable, especially in the winter when skin is drier, says Few. "It tends to make your skin look pasty, which ages you," he adds. Mature skin also needs makeup containing hydrators like hyaluronic acid to help plump and smooth lines, says Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and the author of Skin Rules. "Use a sponge when you apply, so that you use a lighter layer and can blend it in," she recommends.
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Eyes are one of the first areas to show the signs of aging, says Imahiyerobo-Ip. "If you compare a 30- and a 20-year-old, you can see that the 30-year-old may have visible lines around their eyes," she says. The lesson: Don't neglect your eyes. Use an eye cream in the morning (and at night, too) that addresses your particular concern. (For instance, look for hyaluronic acid if you're worried about crepiness, or the ingredient caffeine if you have dark circles.) Slather a broad-spectrum SPF 30 moisturizer around your entire face, including the eye area, which could reverse signs of aging and prevent future damage. Then, sport your shades. It may seem silly, but whether it's cloudy or sunny, winter or summer, "it's still the same sun," says Imahiyerobo-Ip. Wraparound shades will protect your peepers and the surrounding skin to help keep crow's feet away.