You know the major causes for 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? Turn back time quickly just by making a few small tweaks to your lifestyle and beauty routine.
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).
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.
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 such as Nioxin Bodifying Foam ($16; nioxin.com).
“Using 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 ($13; drugstore.com).
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. Get it in a daily moisturizer such as RoC Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($29; walgreens.com).
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.
Try the invigorating Renee Rouleau Mint Buffing Beads ($41.50; reneerouleau.com).
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.
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.
Pulling your hair back into a sleek ponytail at the nape of your neck might look sophisticated, but also severe, says Alvow. Instead, move it up a few inches. "The higher the pony, the more youthful and playful it is," he says. Plus, pulling your hair up gives the illusion of an instant facelift.
"Irritations, rashes, severe dryness, and allergic reactions are physical skin stressors, which can thin the skin and contribute to aging," Verallo-Rowell says. If your skin tends to be reactive, seek out products formulated for sensitive types. Look for words such as "hypoallergenic" and steer clear of common irritants: alpha hydroxy acids, fragrance, retinoids, and alcohol.
Try Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer ($13; cvs.com).