You may think getting a good night’s sleep and slathering on SPF to prevent sun damage is enough to keep your skin from aging, but what if you found out that little habits were actually making your skin look older?
We talked to Purvisha Patel, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, to find out the everyday mistakes that might actually be doing damage to your skin—and how they can make you look way older than you are overnight.
Sleeping on your face
“Gravity wins when we sleep on our faces,” explains Dr. Patel. The immediate effects—puffiness and swollen eyes—are caused by gravity pulling the fluid in your face downwards. Over time, sleeping face-down promotes full-face sagging and loss of collagen over time. Dr. Patel’s advice? If you don’t want to age faster, don’t sleep on your face. Train yourself to like sleeping on your back to lessen gravity’s effect on your face. (Plus, it’s better for your back.)
Not washing your face
Washing your face before bed is essential to removing dirt and sweat from the day. “If you work out and sweat, your pores get clogged, making breakouts happen,” explains Dr. Patel. “If you have oily skin, the face will appear greasier and oily.” Patel recommends using an exfoliating cleanser to thoroughly wash your face and unclog your pores to prepare your skin to refresh and regenerate overnight.
Using too many grooming products
If you use a ton of different skincare products and aren’t sure of the exact use of each product, that can actually be harmful to your skin.
For example: “Products that contain retinol are used to prevent wrinkles, and when mixed with products with benzoyl peroxide to fight acne, it can make your skin dry and increase skin irritation,” says Dr. Patel. When your skin gets dry and irritated, it looks red and inflamed. Instead, stick to the products that you’re familiar with and that work for your skin type.
Not drinking enough water
Hydration is important from the inside out. “Water is an important component of the skin and the structures beneath the skin,” explains Dr. Patel. “When you are dehydrated, skin loses turgor and bounce.” From a short-term perspective, dehydration leads to dry skin that appears wrinkly and sunken in the eye area. Over time, consistent dehydration can cause loss of elasticity of the skin—meaning it doesn’t bounce back. Dr. Patel recommends feeding your skin at least six glasses of water a day.