Life is so unfair. We spend our teens living in fear of golf-ball sized zits on school picture day, slathering our faces with the tingling burn of Noxzema, and being called "pizza face." Then adulthood doesn't provide any relief. You wake up in the morning one day to find an older, haggard-looking stranger with hollows under his eyes staring back at you.
It doesn't help that every commercial you watch seems to be for the latest celebrity-endorsed anti-aging serum, making you seriously reconsider your choice of programming.
Here are some little-known truths about those unfriendly wrinkles that are giving your age away:
Sorry. Those pricey creams in your medicine cabinet are mostly hype.
When it comes to anti-aging products, you don't necessarily get what you pay for. They lure you in promising to make you look a decade younger in as little as four weeks or to dramatically plump up your sagging skin. But if you haven't discovered this for yourself, no matter how much you pay, anything you get without a prescription from a dermatologist probably won't be all that effective in banishing your wrinkles. Over-the-counter creams aren't considered "drugs" and therefore aren't required to show they're actually effective.
Consumer Reports tested seven different popular anti-aging creams, ranging from drugstore brands to high-end department store buys. The results? Underwhelming, they said. In a 12-week test, results seen by participants were modest at best.
If it's bad for your waist, it's bad for your face.
A British study found sugar consumption leads to the production of molecules that can age your skin. When sugar enters your bloodstream, it creates advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which damage proteins in your body. Among those proteins are collagen and elastin, the things that give your skin it's elasticity and fullness. Once damaged, you're left with not only wrinkles and sags, but dullness. What's worse is that the AGEs also attack your bodies antioxidants, making you more susceptible to sun damage.
You can't just curse genetics.
It's true, heredity does play a role in how we age. Have you ever mistaken someone's mother for their sister? Dermatologists say the likelihood and the timing at which we develop wrinkles is genetic. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, as much as 90 percent of skin aging is caused by sun exposure.
A study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found people who used sunscreen regularly were 24 percent less likely to show increased signs of aging. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you use at least SPF 30 on a daily basis and SPF 50 or higher if you're planning on spending time outdoors, like at the beach or playing sports.
Further proving that aging isn't entirely out of your hands, consider the twins study. Researchers studied around 200 sets of twins and though twins are "genetically programmed" to age similarly, according to author Bahman Guyuron, considerable differences were seen. The twins revealed a range of lifestyle habits and were compared to see which one looked older. Smoking and excessive sun exposure were seen to age the participants by several years, as well as weight, depression, and stress levels.
Water: The fountain of youth?
Supermodels and actresses swear by drinking gallons of the good stuff to achieve their red-carpet glow and plump up their skin. A British woman even drank 100 ounces of water for 28 days straight and swore it made her look 10 years younger.
But there isn't really extensive evidence to show guzzling more water than you need will have any anti-aging effects. Dermatologists do say it is important to stay hydrated, otherwise you could have sunken in eyes, and your skin will lose some elasticity. But drinking more water beyond the recommended amount, won't magically erase your wrinkles.
It can however lead to better habits, like drinking less sugar-loaded sodas and juices.
You might want to flip over.
There's nothing like falling facedown into your bed after a long day, but night after night of sleeping with your face planted in your pillow could lead to permanent wrinkling. Imagine if the unsightly lines you wake up with were etched permanently into your face.The American Academy of Dermatology warns against side and stomach sleeping, instead recommending you try and sleep on your back.
And if you've heard of silk pillowcases being gentler on your hair, they're pretty good for your face too. Dermatologists also say that silk fibers also help your skin retain its moisture overnight, which is a plus for smooth skin.
Load up on fruits and veggies.
Yes, we've been told time and again about the importance of antioxidants as of late. But the virtues of vitamins and minerals in a well balanced diet have been proven. A 2001 study led by Monash University of people aged 70 and older found those who ate diets rich in vitamins including Vitamin C and E had less photoaging, suggesting the foods they ate had a sort of protective effect.
A similar 2007 study of women between ages 40 and 74 found those who had a high intake of vitamin C had fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin.