BAD HABITS THAT AGE YOU (PART 2)
STARING AT YOUR PHONE 24-7
The skin on your neck is thinner than the skin on your face, making it even more susceptible to showing early signs of aging. This isn’t good news if you’re permanently attached to your phone. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, shared with me a very real (and very recent) phenomena known as “tech neck,” which takes place when you constantly look down at your cell phone, laptop, or tablet. If you’re like most people, you stare at your phone for almost three hours a day. This forward tilt of your head results in the combination of a loss of firmness in the neck, physical strain, and premature wrinkling of the skin along the front of your neck. The solution is simple, says Dr. Schlessinger, “Hold your phone or device higher when you look at it. Try to hold your head in a neutral position whenever possible and limit the time you spend on your devices. If you’re working on a laptop, sit at a desk and place the monitor at eye-level.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that what you eat can significantly impact how you look. A constant stream of junk food and alcohol denies your body the key nutrients it needs to function at full capacity, but the damage doesn’t stop there. Dr. Schlessinger explains, “A poor diet, specifically one that is high in sugar, can effect your skin from the inside out. Sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin through a process called glycation. This process produces advanced glycosylation end products, or AGEs for short. AGEs are free radicals that lead to inflammation, breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin.” And while the occasional night out with friends is unlikely to do permanent damage, alcohol isn’t your body’s best buddy, “Alcohol dehydrates the body causing skin to look redblotchy, and bloated. Drinking alcohol prevents the production of vasopressin, and anti-diuretic hormone that the body uses to absorb water. This causes the kidneys to work twice as hard to remove excess water from your system, leaving all of your organs, including your skin, dehydrated.” In short, stick primarily to whole foods and lots of water, steering clear of excessive junk food and alcohol intake.
Basic skin care is a big deal when it comes to limiting the effects of aging. As tempting as it is to head to bed after a long day without washing your face, Dr. Youn says this is a big no-no. “This is a bad habit that really needs to not happen. Makeup, as well as the day’s grime, oil, and pollution, clog your pores and can result in acne. Your skin rejuvenates itself at night and cannot do this very well if it isn’t cleaned.”
Even if you’re a rock star about washing your face before bed, it’s equally important that you don’t skip the moisturizer. Skin expert and founder of the skin care brand trillpiderm, Frank Fanning, told me, “By restoring moisture and lipids to skin, we, as humans, will have a body that has reduced lines and wrinkles, reduced flakiness, softer feel, improved elasticity, better cell renewal (especially at night), and improved immune system response.”
DRINKING FROM A STRAW
Drinking from a straw seems so benign – maybe you even do it to help prevent dark liquids from staining your teeth. At any rate, it might be time to retire your straws because pursing your lips to sip from a straw can lead to “smoker-style” lines surrounding your mouth. Dr. Youn emphasizes that these smoker’s lines “can worsen and deepen with any activity that involves pursing your lips, including drinking out of a straw or drinking from a non-reusable water bottle.” Yikes.