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You’ve got sun spots

You’ve got sun spots
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Skin ageing is going to happen – but lifestyle and environmental factors can make you appear older than you are. For example, you know the sun can harm your skin, but this damage can actually age your skin’s appearance with unsightly brown patches. “As we enter our 30s, we begin to see the cumulative impact of sun damage, including sun spots,” says dermatologist, Dr Whitney Bowe. Much of the damage that causes sun spots is UV-induced, but hormones can fuel spots and splotches too.” She advises addressing the dark spots with a serum containing botanical brighteners, like licorice, soy, arbutin and niacinamide; or talk to your dermatologist about the prescription bleaching cream hydroquinone.

Find our what dermatologists say you should never do to your skin.

Your skin is super dry

Your skin is super dry
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When you’re a teen you worry about oily skin, but as your skin ages, you may encounter the opposite problem. “Gaps in the skin’s protective top layer can let out precious moisture molecules and allow in irritants,” Dr Bowe says. The sun, smoking and even stress can contribute to this breakdown, she says. “To keep your skin healthy and hydrated, look for moisturising ingredients like omegas, coconut oil, ceramides and dimethicone,” Dr Bowe says. “A once-a-week mask – either a humectant-laden sheet or a rich overnight cream mask – can keep skin hydrated and sated, allowing anti-ageing actives to perform better.”

You’ve noticed crow’s feet

You’ve noticed crow’s feet
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These fine lines around your eyes may be the first sign that your skin is starting to age early. “The dermis is the layer that is responsible for keeping our skin tight, firm and free of fine lines,” Dr Bowe says. “As we age, cell renewal begins to slow, the skin’s outermost stratum corneum thickens, and elastin fibres in the dermis fall into disarray.” Boost your collagen, which fills in these lines and gives skin more plumpness, with products containing ingredients like peptides, growth factors and stem cells, she says.

Did you know that these daily habits might be ageing you prematurely?

You have brown spots that aren’t from the sun

You have brown spots that aren’t from the sun
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Warning, cell phone addicts: your phone is ageing your skin. You may think you’re protecting against sun damage, but the infrared and high energy visible light from your phone can also leave its mark on your face. “Certain wavelength of visible light, specifically blue light, which is emitted from our computers, televisions, tablets, smartphones and even some indoor light bulbs, can also contribute to spots,” Dr Bowe says. Plus, “new studies are demonstrating that women who live in urban areas and are exposed to higher levels of pollutants are more likely to develop brown spots on their skin.” Combat the damage with an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant cream.

Your skin feels tight

Your skin feels tight
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This one common skin-care mistake is running your face: washing it too harshly. You might think that ‘tight’ feeling after washing is a sign of firmness, but you actually want your skin to be supple, nourished and flexible. “If your skin feels tight or squeaky clean after you cleanse, you are actually damaging the skin’s healthy barrier and drying the skin out,” Dr Bowe says. “Make sure to use a cleanser that doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils – instead opt for gentle, hydrating cleansers that moisturise as they cleanse, like Dove’s beauty bar.”

Read on for the best foods for younger skin.

Wrinkles are starting to appear

Wrinkles are starting to appear
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If you’re starting to suddenly notice wrinkles that weren’t there before, remember you are what you eat – or your skin is, according to research. “As I discuss in detail in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, there is some very compelling evidence about how diet can stave off wrinkles,” Dr Bowe says. Vitamin C fights UV damage, lycopene stabilises DNA in cells, polyphenols repair damaged skin, and zinc and vitamin E act as antioxidants. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts contain these important nutrients, and adding them to your diet can protect your skin from the damage that leads to wrinkles.

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You look worn out

You look worn out
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According to studies, a haggard appearance can be caused by an unlikely culprit: sugar. “Sugar impacts your skin through myriad pathways in the body, such as spiking insulin and inflammation,” Dr Bowe says. Plus, glycation, the bonding of sugar to other molecules, makes proteins stiff, damaged and susceptible to free radicals. “Imagine what that does to the proteins in your skin!” Dr Bowe says. “This bonding is a prominent feature of ageing.” Collagen and elastin, the fibres that keep skin firm and elastic, are among the most vulnerable proteins in this process, she says.

Find out exactly what happens to your body when you stop eating sugar.

You’ve lost your “glow”

You’ve lost your “glow”
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As the rate at which cells rejuvenate slows, your face loses radiance and can make you look less youthful. To retain that healthy glow, Dr Bowe suggests an over-the-counter retinol. “Retinoids are heavily researched and proven to boost your skin’s health and appearance,” she says. “Vitamin A-based retinoids normalise cell turnover – a process that slows with age – to promote clear, smooth, radiant, even-toned, healthy skin.” But, you can’t use these products while pregnant or nursing (pregnancy will give you its own glow anyway!).

Your cheeks are sagging

Your cheeks are sagging
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If you feel like you’ve begun to take on a hollow appearance, it might be because you’re losing fat below your skin. “This layer of fat supports and cushions the skin, giving us our plump, youthful contours – however, as we mature, we lose volume in this layer,” Dr Bowe says. Gaining a few kilos may help, but Dr Bowe says to also consider facial fillers. “Additionally, research is showing that facial yoga might help,” she says. A recent study from Northwestern showed a facial exercise program made middle-aged women’s cheeks appear fuller and more youthful.

You will also look more youthful by avoiding these hairstyle mistakes that age your face.

Your skin has a papery texture

Your skin has a papery texture
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Even though you’re not yet elderly, prematurely aging skin may start to look as thin as your grandmother’s. “Two things contribute to that fragile, paper-like texture that develops on the skin,” Dr Bowe says. “First, levels of calcium, which is critical for keeping the skin firm, drop as our skin matures. Second, the pH of the skin climbs.” These pH changes can eat away at collagen. Dr Bowe suggests using a serum with calcium amino acids and peptides. Also, adjust your pH using a moisturiser with probiotics. “Probiotics restore enzyme activity closer to that of young, healthy skin,” she says.

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Reader’s Digest Magazine delayed due to coronavirus
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in Malaysia and the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in these regions. We hope to have the issues available around 15 April in Malaysia and around 24 April in the Philippines, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience.
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– The Reader’s Digest team