10 Skin Sins

You may be diligent about sharing with your clients the importance of wearing sunscreen, using an anti-aging product, and applying moisturizer. However, there are a few mistakes that people often make that can sabotage their skin and cause extra wrinkles. Dr. Kally Papantoniou, a board certified New York dermatologist who often sees “skin saboteurs” in her practice, shares 10 skin sins that are easily avoidable.

1. Not wearing sunglasses
While it is important to protect your eyes against harmful ultraviolet rays, sunglasses do more than just protect eyes. They also play a role in protecting the thinner skin around the eye against damage. Dr. Papantoniou says, “Repetitive squinting in bright light can lead to crow’s feet, which often require dermal fillers to smooth again. Keep sunglasses in your car so you’re less likely to find yourself out and about without them.”

2. Substituting sunscreen for moisturizer
While we know that sunscreen must be part of a daily routine, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as your moisturizer. Dr. Papantoniou stresses, “Not all sunscreens hydrate, and some may even add oil or dry out your skin. Apply both moisturizer and sunscreen for days out in the sun, or use a moisturizer with SPF for daily use.”

3. Skipping the body
Many people skip moisturizing their body after showering. As we age, elbows and knees become dryer and skin begins to sag. A body moisturizer applied daily will lock in moisture keeping skin soft, supple and radiant.

4. Bathing in hot water
A steamy shower or soak in the hot tub may be great for sore muscles, but studies show it’s bad for your skin. That’s because hot water breaks down skin elasticity and causes premature wrinkling and sagging. When bathing, keep the water warm rather than piping hot and save the hot tub soaks for special occasions.

5. Sitting in front of a fire
Sun damage isn’t the only light source responsible for aging. New studies show that the heat emitted by fire affects the skin similarly to UV rays, resulting in thinner skin, blotchiness, dryness, and free radical damage. Dr. Papanatoniou cautions, “Be sure to sit at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and keep your exposure brief.”

6. Eating refined sugar
Here’s one more reason to curb your sweet tooth: Sugar damages collagen and elastin, youthful proteins that give the skin its firmness and elasticity. To keep your skin looking its best, swap sugary candy for fruit, skip the soda, and cut back on processed, packaged foods.

7. Sleeping face-down
Pillow creases may be more than a temporary problem. Sleeping on your face for an extended period of time can cause permanent wrinkles to develop. Train yourself to sleep on your back or try a wrinkle-reducing pillow designed to minimize the amount of compression between the fabric and your skin.

8. Sipping through a straw
“The puckering motion you use to drink through a straw is like that of smoking a cigarette, and can result in similar consequences. Using a straw etches vertical lines around your mouth that become more pronounced over time. Drink from a cup when possible to prolong a youthful pout,” says Dr. Papantoniou.

9. Driving without sunscreen
The sun’s harmful rays actually penetrate the windows of your car! Although windshield and window glass block UVB rays so you won’t get burned, the harmful UVA rays still penetrate. Protect your skin by applying SPF 30 or higher onto your face, arms, and especially hands to prevent wrinkles and spots. Dr. Papantoniou points out, “UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age the skin and contribute to skin cancer.”

10. Squinting at your computer
Staring, frowning, or squinting at a screen for too long can cause an unwanted line between your eyebrows and may lead to crow’s feet. It’s important to regularly visit your optometrist to have your eyes checked and be sure to take a break away from your desk every couple of hours.

About Dr. Kally Papantoniou:
Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a cosmetic dermatologist, board certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in injectables, lasers, body contouring, surgical and medical dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. www.drpapantoniou.com