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A Valentine Gift to Your Skin

Feb 09, 2015 11:14AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

A dermatologist tells us what we should know to help us look younger this year.

Eating too much sodium
Excess sodium in your diet can suck the moisture out of skin, leaving it dry and dull. To avoid this, cut back on salty treats and invest in a hydrating facial moisturizer.

Facial expressions
Every time you move that beautiful face, your skin wrinkles a little bit. Most of the time your face bounces back and those little wrinkles disappear once new skin cells grow.

Central heating
Many of us spend a fortune on anti-aging skin products, yet we may regularly accelerate skin aging without even being aware of it. The central heating and air conditioning systems that many of us use at home and at work can severely dry out skin, leading to premature aging and wrinkles. To help keep skin youthful and soft, try turning down the heating and wearing more layers to stay warm. Keeping a glass of water in the room can also increase humidity, while wearing a protective face cream can help relieve dryness.

Soap
While you may think that soap is your skin’s best friend, this is actually not the case. The reason for this is that your skin has an acid mantle which is a natural protective barrier of the skin. When you wash with soap – which is generally alkaline – it can remove this protective layer of oils and dry out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles. While it is not advisable to stop washing entirely, try swapping the soap for a PH-neutral and chemical-free cleanser, and bear in mind that there is such a thing as over-cleansing your skin.

Your pillowcase
You may think you’re indulging in a bit of beauty sleep when you hit the hay at night; however the opposite could in fact be true. If you regularly sleep with the same side of your face pressed against a cotton pillow case, this may cause creases on the skin which can eventually turn to fine lines and wrinkles. To help stay youthful overnight, try sleeping on your back instead, or switch to a silk or satin pillowcase to create less compression wrinkles and help maintain skin’s moisture levels.

Not remembering your lips
Three-to-five cellular layers of skin rest upon your lips, so it’s important that your beauty regime includes them too. Frequently having dry, chapped lips causes them to age faster. Look for lipsticks and lip balm that contain petrolatum, dimethicone, and glycerine to help keep your smackers hydrated.

Drinking from bottles and through straws
It may be hard to believe but, yes, the puckering process of drinking from a bottle or through a straw can be harmful. Just like any repeated muscle motion, this can lead to fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Face cream can help. But dermatologists tell those who are prone to fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth to avoid straws altogether.
Drinking coffee
Caffeine is a major culprit when it comes to dry skin and the magnification of wrinkles. Quench skin by drinking lots of water. Add fruit slices like orange or lemon to enhance the flavor.

Not drinking enough water
Hydrating yourself daily will not only help to fight off aging, but also give your skin a healthy glow. Skip the water and you’ll be stuck with rough and “shrunken” skin.

Slouching at work
How often do you find yourself slumped over your desk, hand propped beneath your chin? If the answer is a lot, decreased back and neck pain aren’t the only reasons to sit up straight. Extreme extension or flexing of the neck from leaning on your chin can stretch the skin there, leading to wrinkling and sagging. Looking down for prolonged periods of time while texting or reading may cause or worsen the same damage.

Thanks to Dr. Susan Stuart who maintains a dermatology practice in La Jolla, California.
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