There are startling factors at play when it comes to looking older. We reveal these wrinkle-makers and show you how to fix them.
Call your mom and tell her that she’s off the hook! According to a study by Olay, our lifestyles have way more of an effect on the ageing process than our genes.
As little as 10% of skin ageing can be attributed to our genetic make-up, while the remaining 90% is down to external lifestyle choices. The study of 155 000 women shines a light on some pretty shocking wrinkle culprits. The sun, as we know, plays a huge part but dry skin, low self-esteem and weight were also found to have a negative impact on our faces.
The good news is that our daily habits and behaviours play the most significant role in ageing well. You’re in control of these lifestyle choices, which means that you determine your wrinkle destiny.
Surprising things that are ageing you – and how to fix them:
Bad attitude = bad skin. A positive sense of self-esteem, however, can help slow the ageing process. Olay’s study found that women who had an upbeat outlook towards themselves were 30% more likely to be an exceptional skin-ager. You could argue that these women had self-confidence because they’d aged well (it’s the beauty equivalent of the chicken and the egg!) but the science on positivity doesn’t end there. ‘Another recent study also shows that women with an optimistic attitude had a longer life expectancy,’ reveals Olay scientist Dr Frauke Neuser.
Age well tip: Next time you look in the mirror, find something encouraging in your appearance – maybe it’s long lashes or high cheekbones – anything that turns that frown upside down!
Too much stress
We don’t want to make you more anxious, but stress can accelerate ageing and even make you look less attractive. Getting worked up regularly weakens the skin barrier and reduces collagen so that creases appear faster.
Age well tip: Treat yourself to a nightly facial massage using your favourite cream or oil to soothe your mind, ease muscle stress and promote a healthy glow.
Skincare guru Susan Harmsworth swears by this 60-second trick to unwind:
- Sit comfortably, drop your shoulders and relax the face and jaw.
- Warm two pumps of product (try Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon with motion-activated lavender essential oil) in your palms and massage into your face and neck.
- Close your eyes and focus on breathing deeply, then cup your hands over your nose and inhale the essential oils before exhaling.
- Repeat a few times.
There is a school of thought that says naturally oily skin types are better equipped to stave off lines. These naturally moisturised complexions keep skin springy and resilient to wrinkles. An eight-year study showed women with dry skin are more likely to develop severe wrinkles.
Age well tip: Moisturise twice a day and look out for products with glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which are both great hydrators. If you need a hydration boost try Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Brightening Hydragel Cream.
Sipping a drink through a straw
Your dentist may thank you for this one, but the mirror might not! Like smoking, pursing your lips around a straw or drawing water from a plastic bottle causes lines around the mouth. These creases are caused by repetitive muscle movements that create a line and over time, a wrinkle.
Age well tip: Give up the straw (just brush your teeth after a sugary drink) and pour bottled water into a glass. Target folds and creases with BioNike Defence Exilage Contour Eye-Lip Balm.
It turns out that where you live could also be ageing you. Olay’s study found women who lived in urban areas were more likely to look younger. ‘Those that live in more rural areas tend to spend more time outdoors, which means more UV exposure,’ says
Dr Neuser. And despite experts warning about the ageing implications of pollution, Dr Neuser explains that, although pollution definitely plays a role in wrinkles, its effects are trumped by UV damage.
Age well tip: Wear a daily moisturiser that protects against those UVA and UVB rays, plus pollution, like Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield SPF 25.
It’s normal to notice the onset of jowls as you hit your forties, given the natural loss of elasticity, but experts warn it’s occurring earlier. Known as ‘tech neck’, staring down at our phones is causing premature creases and folds on the neck.
Age well tip: If you can, sit up straight and stare at your device at face-level to stretch out the skin on your neck and jawline. To minimise the damage, treat existing creases with Dermactin-TS Age Defying Neck & Décolletage Smoothing Cream to help boost elasticity and even skin tone. The key lies in the application – massage in upward strokes from the décolletage to the jawline.
Some dermatologists claim to be able to tell which side you sleep on just by looking at the creases on your face. ‘Lying on one side of your face in a deep sleep will cause ridges and wrinkles in the skin over time, especially if you sleep on a thick or rough fabric,’ warns skincare expert Nichola Joss.
Age well tip: Cut the creases and swap your cotton pillowcase for a silk one, like The Silk Lady 100% Organic Silk Pillowcase. Skin and hair will slip and slide over the material so you’re less likely to wake up with facial crinkles (or crazy hair!).
A high BMI
It’s time for a maths lesson. To work out your Body Mass Index divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres, then divide this answer by your height again. If your BMI is over 25, it’s bad news for your skin. Dr Neuser suspects the link lies in general health. ‘If you live a healthy lifestyle then your skin is more likely to be healthy and look youthful.’
Age well tip: Cut out sugary, processed foods and fill your fridge with skin superfoods. Walnuts promote healthy cell renewal, cucumber contains silica that strengthens your connective tissue for smoother skin, and avocado is a great skin nourisher.
Skipping your yearly eye test
If you’re squinting to read the fine print, the muscles around your eyes are being tested, as Nichola explains, ‘Repetitive facial movements cause deep lines and wrinkles in the skin so squinting will have a detrimental effect around the delicate eye contour.’
Age well tip: Check in with your optician every two years or if you find yourself struggling. Treat those lines, dark circles and puffy bags with Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Eye Serum or use Mineraline Rejuvenate Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream.