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Aging Well
Skin Health

Don't Sabotage Your Skin's Appearance

Age is not the only cause of wrinkles and neither is genetics. Lifestyle and beauty habits can also exacerbate the aging process.

But the good news is that you can help your appearance by changing your habits, Dr. Mirwat Sami, a Houston Board-certified Ophthalmologist specializing in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, shares some smart strategies to stop yourself from becoming a “skin saboteur.”


You might get a good night’s sleep on your sides and tummy, but you’re unnecessarily stressing your skin, Sami explains. Fetal and tummy positions cause uneven blood circulation, which locks up nourishment, blood, and oxygen on some parts of your body while depriving other body parts, including skin, and causing it to become wrinkled. “Not only do these sleeping positions cause wrinkles,” Sami says, “poor blood circulation causes fluids to be stuck around your eyes. This contributes to the formation of eye bags and dark under eye circles that make you look tired and older. Additionally, sleeping on the face or on one side can result in worsening of age-related descent of our features. I can usually tell which side my patients sleep on because there is more flattening and deflation of the face on that side.”


Many of us spend a fortune on anti-aging products, yet we may regularly accelerate skin aging without even being aware of it. The central heating and air conditioning systems that many of us use at home and at work can severely dry out skin, leading to premature aging and wrinkles. To help keep skin youthful and soft, try turning down the heating and wearing more layers to stay warm. “Keeping a glass of water in the room can also increase humidity, while wearing a protective face cream can help relieve dryness,” Sami says.


Tobacco is ranked only second to sun exposure as the leading cause of wrinkles. Sami explains that “It interferes with the absorption of Vitamin A and C, both of which provide us with skin protection. This is because nicotinepromotes dehydration. It also narrows the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin. This impairs blood flow, depleting it of oxygen and nutrients such as Vitamin A. It also damages collagen and elastin. Additionally, smoking also the healing process due to its effect on blood vessels. The heat from the cigarette causes irritation around the eyes and forces the smoker to squint more. This leads to increased wrinkles especially around the eyes. You will also develop hollowed cheeks around the mouth from many years of dragging this in between your lips.”