While the aging process is inevitable, it’s safe to say that majority of us would prefer to age gracefully. You may think getting a good night’s sleep (AKA your beauty rest), slathering on SPF to prevent sun damage, and putting on your anti-aging night cream before bed is enough. However, what if you found out the way you sleep or your nightly skin-care regimen was actually causing you to speed up the aging process? We talked to Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, to find out the everyday habits that might actually be doing damage to your skin.
Sleeping on your face
“Gravity wins when we sleep on our faces,” explains Patel. The immediate effects—puffiness and swollen eyes—are caused by gravity pulling the fluid in your face downwards. Over time, sleeping face-down promotes full-face sagging and loss of collagen over time. Patel’s advice? If you don’t want to age faster, don’t sleep on your face. Train yourself to like sleeping on your back to lessen gravity's effect on your face. (Plus, it's better for your back!)
Not washing your face
It’s not uncommon for women to forget to take off their makeup before bed, but it’s certainly a step you don’t want to miss. Washing your face before bed is essential to removing the dirt, sweat, and makeup from the day. "If you work out and sweat, or have makeup on, the pores get clogged, making breakouts happen," explains Patel. "If you have oily skin, the face will appear greasier and oily." Patel recommends using an exfoliating cleanser to thoroughly wash your face and unclog your pores to prepare your skin to refresh and regenerate overnight. (Gently cleanse your face with The Rain facial cleanser, available at the Prevention Shop.)
Using too many skin-care products
If you use a ton of different skin-care products and aren’t sure of the exact use of each product, that can actually be harmful to your skin. For example: "Products that contain retinol are used to prevent wrinkles, and when mixed with products with benzoyl peroxide to fight acne, it can make your skin dry and increase skin irritation,” says Patel. When the skin gets dry and irritated, it looks red and inflamed—making any fine lines appear more apparent. Instead, stick to the products that you're familiar with and that work for your skin type.
Not drinking enough water
Hydration is important from the inside out. “Water is an important component of the skin and the structures beneath the skin," explains Patel. "When you are dehydrated, skin loses turgor and bounce.” From a short-term perspective, dehydration leads to dry skin that appears wrinkly and sunken in the eye area. Over time, consistent dehydration can cause loss of elasticity of the skin—meaning it doesn't bounce back. Patel recommends feeding your skin at least six glasses of water a day.