Want to Look 45 at 60? Stop Doing These 5 Things Now

12 Dec 2013 at 9:00am

By Steven F. Weiner, MD

birthday candles happy birthday cake

There are thousands of articles on beauty and skin telling you what you should be doing to improve your looks and skin health. I’m going to take the opposite approach. 

I see activities in our office that are plain counterproductive to what I’m trying to improve. If you just stopped these 5 things, your skin (and sometimes overall health) would be significantly better:

1.  Stop strangulating your skin.   

woman smoking cigarette

Without a doubt, smoking is the worst habit for skin health. The nicotine causes the small vessels in the skin to contract. This “strangulates” the organs and deprives the skin of oxygen and its vital blood supply. Toxins from the tobacco enter the blood stream and are distributed throughout the body and skin as well. Worst of all, smoking gives you smoker's lip lines – a very difficult problem to fix.

2. Stop paying good money to exaggerate your age.

blonde woman in tanning bed

I’m surprised that tanning beds are still legal. There is no doubt in the medical community that tanning bed use increases skin cancers:  basal cell, squamous cell, and even melanoma. 

Looking beyond cancers, severe premature aging of the skin is a result. Just as sun exposure does, tanning beds cause breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers leading to loose, thin, nonelastic skin. Volume loss associated with aging is exaggerated.

3. Stop picking.

woman picking face

I see numerous scars related to acne, particularly deeper cystic acne, that the patient tries to “improve” by picking, poking, and needling. This can lead to a worse infection, sometimes MRSA, that requires antibiotics and creams to improve

The end result is often scarring and hyperpigmentation which can require peels and often, lasers or radiofrequency treatment.

4. Stop listening to your friend/neighbor/sister-in-law who recently became a skincare expert.

woman talking on phone

Isn’t it funny that your friend now knows all about what’s good for your skin? And they want to sell you perfect product that will do miracles? And, for additional convenience, they will also ship it you on a monthly basis? Keep your guard up with these folks. Most often, the products are nicely repackaged creams available over-the-counter.

Only physicians can sell certain products which are prescription strength (and have peer-reviewed research behind them).  And, aestheticians, who spend months in the classroom to devote their livelihood to skincare -- are truly experts in guiding your skin care regime.

5.  Stop thinking a facelift will fix everything.

woman with facial bandages

I also hear this daily in our office, ”I’m trying to decide if I should do skincare, peels, filler, lasers, Botox, Ulthera, Infini or JUST GET A FACELIFT."

A facelift will help with laxity, improve the jowls and improve some wrinkles -- but there is so much more that won’t get treated. In most cases, some sort of neck lift must be done to improve the jawline and to "match the face”.  In addition, rejuvenation around the eyes is not part of a standard facelift and requires another procedure called a “blepharoplasty”. And lastly, volume loss is not addressed by a facelift (unless a secondary procedure with fat grafting is performed). 

A facelift will do absolutely nothing for the skin damage that would benefit from lasers, skincare, and peels. Getting a facelift does not mean you can eliminate Botox.

The point is, it takes a multifaceted approach to improve all the aspects of the aging face, and a facelift only addresses a small part of the problem.

6.   (Bonus!) Stop with the straws. 

straws multicolored

This habit leads to those unsightly lip lines and wrinkles, even if you don’t smoke!

Want to know more about anti-aging skincare? Click here!

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