Do you hop into bed still wearing your mascara? Try out every new skin product to hit the shelves? These common mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but over time they can take a toll on your skin and leave you looking prematurely aged.
Don’t worry: It’s not too late. Here, we break down your bad skin habits and show you how to avoid them—and look 10 years younger.
The No. 1 way you’re aging your skin? Not wearing sunscreen daily.
“The sun is the primary cause of skin aging,” says Neil Sadick, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist. The sun can reach you on cloudy, rainy, or snowy days as well. Plus, Dr. Sadick adds, “skin-damaging UV rays can penetrate through glass, so you need to apply sun protection even indoors.”
He suggests choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks both types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, with an SPF of at least 30. Antioxidant-fortified formulas containing ingredients such as resveratrol, vitamin C, idebenone, or coffee berry can offer additional protection.
Neglecting your hands and neck
Your face isn’t the only area that needs a little TLC. Overexposure to sun affects your hands and neck just as much as your complexion. These areas show signs of aging, like dark spots, dryness, and loss of firmness, notes Dr. Sadick.
Treat your neck and the backs of your hands as you would your face by generously applying moisturizer and sunscreen. While you can buy body-specific products, they aren’t necessary. Those formulated for your face will work just fine, Dr. Sadick says.
Spot treating pimples
Thanks to fluctuating hormones, women over 40 routinely experience acne problems. But using a spot treatment to relieve red spots will only dry out the skin, leaving a raw and irritated area—and it won’t help heal the pimple either.
Instead, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, treat your entire face with an acne-fighting cleanser or moisturizer once a day. It’s your best bet for preventing future breakouts.