As much as there are factors out of our control (what am I supposed to do about all the pollution clogging up my skin?), ultimately a lot of our epidermis woes are the result of our own behavior. Our bad habits show up in our skin (so even after that hangover subsides, it's lingering on your face), causing uneven tone, sensitivity and, the big one: aging. Here are the top five reasons your skin isn't at its best right now:
This is the No. 1 culprit for premature aging, says Miranda Kerr’s facialist, Ildi Pekar. “Fine lines, which are found mainly on the face, are caused by stress. Deeper wrinkles around the eyes show signs of stressed skin. Wrinkles directly in the center of the forehead also signify aging caused by stress — they are known as worry lines.”
Believe it: Stress doesn’t just make you anxious, it also ages your skin, according to Pekar. She suggests de-stressing using aromatherapy, which calms your mind down. “Use essential oils at home or go to a professional. Give yourself a 5- to 10-minute face massage which relaxes your skin muscles, exercise regularly, or meditate weekly.”
Lack Of Sleep
You need at least seven to eight hours to let your skin cells renew overnight, says Pekar. “When you don’t get enough rest, it can take a toll on your skin, causing it to be dull and dry, leading to premature aging. A lack of sleep also causes you to have dark circles around your eyes, making you look older.” She also says signs like skin having a grey and loose appearance due to a lack of collagen production point to sleeplessness.
Put yourself on a sleep regime: Make a bedtime and stick to it. “Shut off all electronics one hour prior to bed, and never sleep with the TV on,” she adds.
“When you are not nourishing your body with vitamins and minerals, it shows up in your skin,” Pekar says. “Drinking alcohol creates wrinkles and fine lines due to dehydration of the skin and can also show liver problems. These lines are normally the vertical line in between your eyes. You can also see dark circles around the eyes due to lack of hydration and circulation. Some people also show signs of puffiness in the skin, which can be caused by water retention," which in turn is caused by consuming a lot of alcohol, coffee and salty or fried foods.
The solution here is pretty obvious: Drink more water and follow a better diet full of colorful veggies (“which have the most vitamins and nutrients to feed your skin and keep it supple, hydrated and glowing,” says Pekar).
Leaving It Vulnerable to Pollution
You can't control it the way you can control your diet, but pollution is still a huge factor in blah skin. “It’s highly toxic and slows down your cellular growth, which causes your skin to rapidly age,” Pekar warns. “Toxins can decrease oxygen and collagen in your skin, which causes a dull appearance. When polluted, skin looks irritated and can also appear very blotchy with an uneven tone and constant breakouts.”
Protection is key here: “Use an SPF to protect your skin from free radicals that cause aging. Cleanse your skin every night, exfoliate twice a week and use products with antioxidants to help moisturize and stay protected.”
Using the Wrong Products
Are you aging your skin simply by slathering it with the wrong stuff? Products that contain harsh chemicals will damage your skin cells over time, according to Pekar. “Skin will look always irritated, prone to breakouts and show a lot of redness because it is sensitive.”
Take a gentler approach: Switch to organic products with lighter, more effective ingredients to soothe this sensitivity.