She was the face that burned us all: Tan Mom, the Nutley, NJ woman accused of child abuse when her young daughter suffered burns from a tanning bed. One glance at her shriveled, damaged face sent even diehard sun-worshippers (literally) running for cover.
Of course, it was no surprise that a woman who spent so much time in tanning beds would possess a face which looked decades older than her actual age. And although most of us are smart enough to avoid tanning salons, we may not realize how much damage we unintentionally inflict on our skin. Below are some surprising culprits behind the skin aging process.
1. Not Wearing Sunscreen Every Day
Of course, we slather ourselves in SPF when we’re headed to the pool or the beach, but oftentimes we forget about our exposure to UV rays in less obvious scenarios. The truth is, you’re exposing yourself to the sun every single time you step outside, even on cool or cloudy days. There are two types of rays: UVA and UVB. UVB rays (the ones that cause us to burn) are not as strong during winter months, but UVA rays (the ones associated with skin cancer and premature wrinkles) not only penetrate the skin on a deeper level, but are also present at all daylight hours throughout the year.
In order to avoid damaging your skin and aging it prematurely, you must wear sunscreen all year long. We like: Brush On Block. This Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 mineral powder sunscreen was created so it would be simple for men, women and children to easily apply everyday protection. You can brush it over makeup, since the translucent mineral powder isn’t messy or greasy. It’s convenient, effective and transportable, so you’ll never get caught unprotected.
2. Eating Too Much Sugar
Sure, we all know that a sweet tooth can add some pounds to your frame, but it turns out that it also aids in making your skin appear older. According to Prevention magazine, that’s because “the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).” These AGEs damage the collagen and elastin in your skin, breaking it down and leading to a dull, wrinkled appearance.
3. Not Wearing Glasses
Every one of us is probably guilty of vanity at one point or another, especially as we grow older. And one sin many of us have committed is refusing to buy “readers,” those little drugstore glasses that come in handy as age deteriorates our eyesight. Turns out, we’re actually harming our skin by not wearing them. Every time we squint, we damage the elastin fibers around our eyes. The result? Wrinkles and fine lines.
So, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Even if you aren’t dealing with vision changes, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses every time you walk out of the house as well, for the same reasons—squinting = wrinkles.
4. Chewing Gum
Gum chewers, we’re here to burst your bubble. Sadly, many physicians have attributed the repetitive motion of gum chewing with loss of elasticity and wrinkles around the mouth. The good news? They believe that this affects only those who chew a lot of gum, so the occasional smacker is probably in the clear.
5. Drinking from a Straw
For ages, dentists have said that drinking from a straw is better for your teeth; unfortunately it appears that the action can leave you with some wrinkles around your mouth. Apparently it’s due to the act of pursing your lips, once again breaking down that wonderful collagen and elastin. Try sipping from a glass instead.
Yup, we get that everybody needs a caffeine fix, but be wary about that second cup. The caffeine levels found in coffee, as well as in energy drinks and soda, are responsible for dehydrating your body. Dehydration can cause fine lines as well as age spots and wrinkles.