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How to Prevent Wrinkles In Your 20s

When we get to college, we make a lot of changes in our lifestyles. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like a big deal to skip a shower after pulling an all-nighter or to sleep in our make-up after a crazy night out. But what we don’t realize is that, while we may look fine now, the way we take care of our skin in college has a big impact on how it will look just five or ten years down the line. And while we’re still dealing with the remnants of our teenage acne, another skin enemy is already (just barely) in sight: Wrinkles. While it’s unlikely that Crow’s Feet have infiltrated your face just yet, there are some preemptive steps you can take if you’re worried about girl to grandma by the time you’re 30. Here’s to getting carded! Unfortunately, it turns out that women are genetically at a disadvantage on the wrinkle front compared to men (so unfair). According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, “the top layer of women’s skin contains fewer sweat glands and sebaceous glands (microscopic glands in the skin that secrete an oily/waxy matter, called sebum, to lubricate skin and hair), which could influence the natural filling of the dermis (skin).” This means that women are more prone to wrinkles, even before you factor in the outside influences and unhealthy choices we make every day like tanning or smoking. The fact that you’ll be beating your hubby in the wrinkle race is enough to make almost any woman worry about aging. But don’t go emptying your bank account for some extreme anti-aging treatment just yet—here are a few things you can start doing now to preemptively combat wrinkles, with tips from Dermatologist David C. Kowalski of Burlington, NC.

  1. Wash your face every day! This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many times it goes undone. When you come home from the club at 2 a.m., your first thought is to fall into bed. But before you collapse with exhaustion, be sure to scrub off all that makeup and sweat left over from your night on the town. Your skin will thank you. Dr. Kowalski explains that a sensible and consistent skin care regimen is essential to keep your skin tight and healthy, so don’t abuse it by caking on the makeup and then leaving overnight.
  2. Stop fake-baking. The UV rays are terrible for your skin, not to mention your organs. It’s better to rock the natural, healthy porcelain skin than to look like an Oompa Loompa now, not to mention get skin cancer down the road. Or premature wrinkles. Dr. Kowalski explains, “Excessive sun exposure causes damage of the skin mostly by UVA and UVB light which causes thinning, discoloration and wrinkling of the skin.” Sounds kind of like a raisin—yuck. This kind of sun exposure can also cause destruction of collagen and elastic fibers of the skin; this, in turn, leads to thinning and wrinkling. Dr. Kowalski adds, “Sun can cause temporary tanning, but also long term and permanent discoloration, freckling and brown spots and light spots.” As if skin cancer weren’t reason enough to ditch the tanning beds, we’ve now provided you with a good cosmetic reason not to fake bake too.
  3. Protect yourself. Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s not sunny outside. It’s the same deal as with tanning—sun exposure without sun protection is bad for your skin’s appearance later in life, even when it’s natural sun, no matter how upsetting that may be. Even if you’re not going to be outside for long or it’s not that hot outside, the sun is still beating down, and is still affecting your skin. Little bits of exposure over time add up. So wear a moisturizer with SPF built in so you don’t even have to think twice about it. You’ll thank yourself when you’re 30 and wrinkle-free.
  4. Quit! Smoking is terrible for your health—your skin included! “Smoking causes wrinkling and an undesirable gray discoloration of the skin through the mechanism of hypoxia,” Dr. Kowalski says. No one wants gray, wrinkly skin. If you were looking for one more reason to quite smoking, this is it.
  5. Rest up and watch what you eat! A healthy diet is imperative to healthy skin. Sleep also plays a factor in maintaining that healthy glow. Dr. Kowalski said, “Poor nutrition can prevent recovery from daily insults on the skin. We need a good balanced diet and adequate sleep. Foods or supplements with antioxidants tend to be especially helpful for the skin.” According to WebMD, some foods that are great for maintaining healthy skin are berries and low-fat dairy products. So go grab a parfait and you’ll be one step closer to healthy, wrinkle-free skin!

The bottom line is, if you’re not there for your skin, how can you expect it to be there for you? So don’t abuse it with excess sun exposure, lacking skin care regimens, and too little sleep and then expect it to look flawless and youthful—take care of your skin now so that wrinkles don’t come knocking at your door any sooner than they need to. Sources 1. "FOXNews.com - Two Wrinkles on the Tanning Addiction: Skin Cancer and Lawsuits - FOX Fan." Breaking News | Latest News | Current News - FOXNews.com. Web. 18 Feb. 2010. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,286606,00.html 2. "Foods for Healthy Skin: You Are What You Eat." WebMD - Better information. Better health. Web. 18 Feb. 2010. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-food 3. David C. Kowalski, Dermatologist in Burlington, NC

Gabriela Szewcow is a freshman Print and Online Journalism major at Elon University in North Carolina. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She is the Design Chief of Elon University’s award-winning newspaper, The Pendulum. She is also a designer for Elon’s yearbook and has a weekly radio show. She is a Spanish minor and hopes to study abroad in Spain sometime during her next three years at Elon. Some of her favorite things include York Peppermint Patties, Jane Austen novels, anything involving Hello Kitty and The Morning Benders. She hopes to someday be a page designer for a newspaper or magazine.
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