There are a few things certain in life: The sun will always rise, God created college football, and no matter how hard you fight it, you will get older. That Father Time is a sneaky fellow— he makes sure that every Southern woman eventually sees her reflection change before her eyes in the mirror. While fine lines and saggy skin are inevitable, there are a few things that accelerate these tell-tale signs of aging. Luckily, we turned to Toska Husted, celebrity facialist and owner of Toska European Spa, for insight. With spa locations in Charlotte and Charleston, she knows a thing or two about Southern skin and sees firsthand the skincare mistakes her clients make. These are the top complexion wreckers to steer clear of, so take notes ladies!
We all know the importance of a protecting ourselves from the sun, but it’s still the number one culprit when it comes to aging. “I’ve been working down South for over eight years and the biggest challenge remains sun exposure and the negative effects it has on skin,” explains Husted. “Chronic overexposure can change the texture and weaken the elasticity of the skin. Sun induced skin damage causes collagen reduction, premature wrinkles, sensitivity and easy bruising.” Even if you’re going outside briefly, always wear SPF and try to seek shade whenever possible.
We all have bad habits, but the top two skin wreckers are smoking and drinking. Besides for being overall terrible for your health, indulging in an occasional cigarette ages you as well: The carbon monoxide from the smoke displaces the oxygen in the skin while the nicotine reduces blood flow, leaving your complexion dry and discolored. When it comes to drinking, just don’t overdo it. “Alcohol dehydrates your body generally, including the skin. Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients,” says Husted. It also can trigger rosacea and give your face an overall bloated and puffy appearance. Next time you over-indulge? Try an anti-hangover face mask like this one.
Toner is one of the most underappreciated steps in a skincare routine and often gets skipped since women assume it’s an alcohol based product that will dry out skin. “In fact, A good toner will gently exfoliate your skin, leaving it purified and clean, helping the pores appear smaller, restoring the ph balance, hydrating and protecting the skin,” says Husted, of why you should begin incorporating one ASAP. Her favorite: Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion.
The don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. When you snooze, your skin cells heal and rejuvenate, so skimping on shut eye prevents this from happening. It’s especially bad if you aren’t getting quality sleep because of stress. “A wide range of studies have shown that chronic stress can speed-up the aging process on a cellular level by shortening the length of each DNA strand,” explains Husted. “It also causes fine lines and wrinkles by reducing the skin’s own protective barrier made of healthy oils known as lipids.” If you’re pulling a late night, make sure to apply a leave-on treatment that nourishes and de-stresses skin like Lancôme’s Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturizing Face Cream.
If you can’t stop scrolling Instagram or Facebook, it’s not just bad for your productivity but it’s also bad for your skin—and leads to the dreaded turkey neck. “The more we incline our heads, the more this skin naturally creases and folds over itself giving your neck a slack, and untoned appearance,” says Husted. The most surprising risk, however, is the indirect sunlight that’s reflected from your smart phone. It can increase your UV exposure drastically, which leads to fine lines and damage. Skincare companies are beginning to make products targeted for tech exposure, like Murad’s City Skin Overnight Detox Moisture that helps counteract blue light radiation.
While Retin-A is a great anti-ager, be careful not to overdo it since it can lead to discoloration, irritation and flaking. Instead, try a gentler chemical exfoliator like glycolic. “It does virtually everything for anti-aging without the redness, flakiness and inflammation,” explains Husted.