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Here's what's adding years to your face—and how you can turn back time. You're becoming near-s

Here's what's adding years to your face—and how you can turn back time. You're becoming near-s
Issue Time:2016-08-04

Heres whats adding years to yourfaceand how you can turn back time.

You're becoming near-sighted

As your vision worsens with age, othermuscles around the eye pitch in to help you focus, says Ranella Hirsch, MD,past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and AestheticSurgery. But as these tiny muscles are increasingly taxed, they can deepenlines around the eyes, and that can make you look world-weary (instead ofwise). Your dermatologist can improve the appearance of these wrinkles withbotulinum injections, but Hirsch says that it's also helpful to get your eyeschecked. "A patient will come in for a consultation, and I'll send them toan optometrist," she says. "Sometimes what they really need is a pairof glasses."

You're neglectingor abusingyour teeth.

Teeth add structure and vertical heightto the face. When they get worn down through grinding, nail biting oraggressive chewing, or worse, when a diseased tooth needs to be pulled, the facialskin can become looser, explains Phil Haeck, MD, a plastic surgeon based inSeattle and the past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.Combined with the skin's natural loss of elasticity over time, this can lead towrinkles and sagging around the mouth. Dentures help fill in the gaps left bymissing teeth, but dental implants do a better job at restoring the height ofthe jaw, Haeck says. You know what to do: Brush twice a day, have your teethprofessionally cleaned at least once a year and remember to floss. If grindingis a problem, talk to your dentist about a bite guard.

You bought your cheapie sunglasses froma sidewalk vendor.

The delicate skin around your eyes isextremely thin and requires extra attention. Surprisingly, even people who arecareful about sun protection often forget to put sunscreen in that area, saysHirsch, which can worsen wrinkles and discoloration. The right pair ofsunglasses can serve as another line of defense, but only if they have UVA/UVBprotection, as well as lenses opaque enough that you don't squint in brightlight (which can exacerbate frown lines and eye wrinkles, adds Hirsch).

You're taking birth-control pills.

You've probably heard of the "maskof pregnancy," or facial hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal surgesduring pregnancy. Hormonal birth control (especially pills, shots, the ring)can have the same effect, causing brownish-gray patches to appear like shadowson the upper lip, cheeks, forehead and nose, says Jessica Krant, MD, aboard-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at SUNYDownstate Medical Center. This type of discoloration can add years to yourface: A Procter and Gamble study found that women were perceived as oldersimply because of patchy, uneven skin tone. Fortunately, hormone-inducedmelasma usually fades within a year of giving birth or going off the pill,provided that youre religious about sun protection (see last slide). To treatstubborn spots, Krant suggests talking to your dermatologist about brightenersand antioxidants including tretinoin, niacin, vitamin C, kojic acid or azelaicacid.

You're obsessed with losing those lastfive pounds.

As we get older, hormonal changes canlead to decreases in collagen, Hirsch says. And weight loss can make this morenoticeable. "Think of the face as a sofa," she says. "In thepast, when the sofa started to age and sag, women had work done to pull theslipcoverorthe skintighter. Now we know that one of the mostconvincing ways to make it look younger is to re-inflate the pillows." Thelatest technique dermatologists use to restore fullness involves injecting theface with various soft-tissue fillers, says Hirsch, but adds that you can"protect your facial pillows naturally" by maintaining a healthy,not-too-thin weight.

You're letting the sun win.

So many of us are paying for early sunexposureskindamage like brownish-gray patches (melasma), brown spots that look like flatmoles (lentigos), broken blood vessels and freckles. "Patients often say,'The damage is done, and it's too late to fix it,'" says Krant. But that'snot entirely true: You can prevent additional damage and reduce the severity ofthe problems you already have if you remain vigilant. "Additional sunexposure can make conditions like melasma even more noticeable. Existing spotscan get darker and larger while new ones appear," explains Krant. Heradvice is to embrace excellent sun hygiene (sunscreen, hats, sunglassesthe whole nine yards) as a way of life.