8 Weird Things You Never Knew Were Aging You

Caitlin S. Miller

Photo: Dimitri Otis

We’ve all heard the traditional cautionary tales from dermatologists about preventing the signs of aging: “Wear your sunscreen, don’t smoke, eat right.” And if you’re like us, you abide to these rules like they’re doctrine. But what about the other causes of aging? You know, little things here and there that are secret culprits of wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines. We hate to break it to you, but there are a number of activities and other random things that age you every single day. We spoke to two dermatologist to learn about the weirdest causes of aging.

Your pillow
If you’re a true beauty fan, you’ve likely heard about your pillow being a big cause of breakouts as well as wrinkles. And sadly, according to Dr. Hadley King of SKINNEY Medspa in New York City, this pillow talk is actually true. “Most of us have deeper wrinkles on the side of the face we sleep on,” she says. To help prevent these wrinkles from forming, she suggests investing in a silk pillowcase or a well-shaped pillow. She suggests Nurse Jamie’s Beauty Bear Age Delay Pillow ($69, nursejamie.com).

Fluorescent lighting
Turns out it doesn’t just make your pictures look weird, it’s actually bad for you. According to Dr. S. Manula Jegasothy, founder of Miami Skin Institute, research studies show that sitting under fluorescent lighting for eight hours a day, five days a week, over the course of 30-40 years amasses to a significant amount of UV radiation. Uh oh. “Research doesn’t show currently that it’s enough to cause skin cancer, but it definitely accelerate sun damage and photo-aging,” she explains. “That’s why you should always wear SPF, even if you aren’t spending any time outdoors.” Looks like SPF is more important than we ever thought.

Eye makeup
We’ve heard it before: Eyelid skin is very delicate. But it turns out there’s a right way to remove your makeup to avoid wrinkles. “Eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on the face and body, therefore it’s most prone to age from external factors such as aggressive rubbing and chronic allergies,” says Dr. Jegasothy. To remove makeup without aging the eye area, she suggests gently applying an emulsifier such as Vaseline or Aquaphor to the whole eye area and allowing the emulsifier to melt the eye makeup for five minutes. Then gently wipe off the product with a cotton ball or soft tissue. “Even people with oily or acne-prone skin can use this trick,” says Dr. Jegasothy.

Acrylic nails
Now this is something we’ve definitely never considered: our  mani might be making our hands age. “The act of applying, filling, and removing acrylic nails is extremely damaging to the cuticle skin and cause it to become inflame and thickened,” explains Dr. Jegasothy. “This thickening of the cuticle skin ages the skin.” Not to mention wearing acrylic nails in general can give hands an older appearance. Dr. Jegasothy notes Cameron Diaz’s character in The Other Woman was given red acrylic nails to emphasize she was older than Kate Upton‘s character!

Fad diets
Fad diets are bad for you for many reasons—unhealthy meal options, unsustainable expectations for a number of reasons—but yo-yo dieting is particularly bad for your skin. “Our skin loses elasticity as we age and this process can be accelerated by fluctuations in weight,” explains Dr. King. “Maintaining a more stable weight will increase the tautness of your skin.”

Tight ponytails
Say it isn’t so—wearing our favorite hairstyle might not be the best for skin! “Pulling the hair back on a chronic basis causes hair to break along the hairline, causing scalp hair to be thinner, sometimes even causing the hairline to recede,” says Dr. Jegasothy. So the next time you start to pull your hair back, just make sure it’s on the loose side!

Over-exaggerated facial expressions
“Of course I’m not advocating not making facial expressions but be aware if you tend to furrow your brow when you work or if you are constantly raising your eyebrows when you emphasize a point when you’re talking, for example,” notes Dr. King. “Making an effort to decrease some of these habits will decrease your facial lines.” But if you’re looking for a more permanent solution to break these habits, Dr. King says Botox will do the trick.

Romance languages
We know what you’re thinking, but hear us out. Similar to repeated facial expressions, those who speak Romance languages might be at a higher risk of wrinkles around the mouth. “People who speak romance languages like French, Spanish, and Italian tend to purse their lips more when they enunciate words, causing them to get vertical lines, or “smoker lines,” on their lips,” explains Dr. Jegasothy. “Pursing lips in general, whether to talk, take selfies or drink from the straw can cause those lines.” Who knew?

More from Daily Makeover: 5 Weird Things That Might Actually Be Causing Your Acne