Friday, September 25, 2009

5 things that can ruin your skin (a friendly reminder)

Let's be honest with each other: No matter how enlightened one may be, the experience of discovering new wrinkles is everything from startling to a major bummer. It's not easy to watch yourself age, but it is inevitable. However, there are a few things we can do to take back the power, to slow down the process, and to make our faces look as young as possible for as long as they possibly can. You probably know most of this stuff, but you might have forgotten. Or, if you've been living under a little stone and have never heard of sunblock, it's honestly never too late to start practicing safe skin.
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1. Unprotected sun exposure
If we could be tan for the rest of our lives, we SO would, but tanning causes premature aging, fine lines, and unpleasant big brown splotches and freckles all over your skin (also: skin cancer. Scary!). This is why we should all be using moisturizers with SPF 30--and don't forget to slather it on your neck and hands, as well. They're two places with delicate skin that's prone to aging young.

2. Smoking
Between the drying out and the toxins and the oxygen-zapping and the above-the-lip, pucker-inhale wrinkles, smoking does absolutely nothing good for your skin and really just makes you look old and gray-faced before your time.

3. Booze
Ooh. I bet you liked those four Mojitos last night, but you know what? Your skin hated them. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, it can cause tiny red veins to rupture on your visage, and make you look as blotchy and flushed as Nick Nolte in a mugshot. To combat this: Down a glass a water between spirits, and limit consumption to just a couple of booze-y beverages per night.

4. Sugar
Dear chocoholics, cookie monsters, and anyone who regularly polishes off a pint of Chunky Monkey: Sugar messes with your skin's collagen; it can lessen its repair function and speed up elasticity loss, leaving your face dull and saggy. Curb sweet tooth cravings by turning to natural sugars like those found in fruit or, even better, snack on a handful of almonds which are packed with both antioxidants (good for skin!) and protein.

5. Dehydration
You know the rule: You need 8 to 10, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. As annoying as this is, it's just enough to keep your organs flushed and functioning and your skin hydrated from within. The second part of the hydration-equation is experimenting with skincare regimens until you find the right one for your budget and skin type. Essentially all you need is a mild cleanser, a good day moisturizer with SPF and slightly thicker night cream that's packed with vitamins and will give you skin-healing benefits while you sleep.

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