Yes, age and genetics play a big part in the aging process, but there are hidden factors which can sneakily add fine lines and wrinkles faster to our complexions. It’s true that we’re so very quick to blame accelerated aging on environmental factors such as stress, sun exposure and outdoor pollution, but it’s also likely that our indoor environments are helping us age faster than we’d like to as well.
To find out exactly what role indoor environments play in the aging process, we’ve asked RealSelf dermatologic surgeon Dr. Joel Schlessinger to set the record straight on how various rooms of our homes and offices contribute to rapid aging.
When you really allow yourself to think about it, we spend an enormous amount of time in our bedrooms and time spent in your room during the winter can actually be most taxing on the skin because heat from your radiators makes your skin drier, leading to premature wrinkles in return. Technically this goes for any room in your house.
“Low humidity depletes your skin of moisture,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “As a result of indoor heat, skin is left feeling dry, tight, and uncomfortable.”
Investing in good moisturizing skin care products can help your skin stay hydrated, but for a bigger moisture boost, Schlessinger recommends adding a humidifier to your room while you lounge and sleep. Humidifiers can help provide moisture to dry and parched skin, helping the skin maintain a natural suppleness and elasticity.
“Running a humidifier in your home can add moisture to the air and help prevent dry skin,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Change out the water every day, and clean it once a week to reduce the chance of bacteria growth.”
Much like our bedrooms, we spend a huge chunk of time behind our computer screens. And yes, staring at a computer screen all day isn’t exactly the best activity for your neck and staring down at your phone proves to be even more straining.
“On average, people stare at their cell phones for almost three hours a day,” explains Dr. Schlessinger. “The neck’s delicate skin doesn’t like that kind of physical strain, as it adds stress on the muscles and nerves, which can do damage over time.”
While looking at your phone is pretty darn unavoidable, there’s a better way to hold your device without straining your neck. Dr. Schlessinger suggests holding your phone at a higher elevation to help avoid dreaded damage to your neck muscles and nerves. Make sure your computer screen is also at eye level.
It’s really no shocker how your food choices affect the health of your skin but eating excessive amounts of junk food can age you faster than you think it would. Being that sugar and alcohol in particular can leave your skin dehydrated and inflamed, eating a balanced and healthy diet is key in achieving healthy-looking skin.
To make better eating habits, always drink lots of water, and try munching on raw fruits and veggies whenever you can. But if you do decide to treat yourself, Schlessinger stresses to enjoy sweet treats and alcohol in moderation.
“The important thing to remember is moderation,” Schlessinger says. “An occasional sweet treat or glass of red wine won’t do much harm, as long as you balance it out with a healthy diet.”
Your bathroom seems like the last place aging can occur, but Dr. Schlessinger cautions that it’s definitely possible because it’s where we apply our makeup. Apparently, repetitive facial movements caused from makeup application can help wrinkles form more easily.
“Holding a static facial expression or moving your muscles in the same way can create creases in the skin,” explains Dr. Schlessinger. “Over time, those continuous duck faces and raised brows break down collagen and elastin, allowing wrinkles to form.”
To apply makeup without adding further strain onto your face, try putting on your foundations and eyeliners with relaxed facial movements instead. A still and relaxed face allows you to still achieve that flawless makeup look without getting any new lines or cracks in the process… or at least make it less likely.