From hot showers to sleeping on your side – the 7 everyday habits you didn’t know were ageing your skin

You might have your anti-aging skin routine down pat and take care to lather your face in sun cream daily.

But according to skin doctor Dr. Dev Patel, the products you use are “just one piece of the puzzle”.

Your hot showers could be doing your skin more harm than good, according to Dr Dev Patel


Your hot showers could be doing your skin more harm than good, according to Dr Dev PatelCredit: Alamy

Sometimes, everyday things you do without thinking – like sipping a drink through a straw or turning your shower temperature up – can cause grooves to form in your face over time.

Founder of the award-winning skincare line CellDerma, and advanced aesthetic doctor at Perfect Skin Solutions, Dr Patel shared the seven habits of bringing your skin game down a notch and leaving you with wrinkles.

1. Steamy showers

Nothing’s more comforting than a hot shower at the end of the day or when the weather‘s chilly.

Though you might feel soothed by the warm water rushing over you, Dr Patel said your skin might not be so happy in the long run.

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“Hot water can cause inflammation in the skin surface, resulting in a loss of moisture,” the skin doctor explained.

“Think about when you spend too long in the shower – your fingers go wrinkly, your skin becomes dry, and your body needs a deeply hydrating moisturizer.

“These are all signs that moisture has been stripped away from your skin by hot water, which can cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear more exaggerated.”

Though not the most enticing on temperatures – especially as we head into colder weather – Dr. Patel said that your shower water should ideally be lukewarm to “ensure your healthy skin barrier is not being stripped of its natural oils that are essential for supple skin”.

And if you’re the type to vigorously rub your body with a towel as soon as you step out, Dr Patel said you could be making your skin even more parched.

Try patting yourself down gently, he advised.

2. Rubbing your eyes

There’s a reason YouTube makeup gurus are always advising you to tap on concealer with your ring finger – the skin around your eyes is especially delicate and susceptible to damage.

That’s why rubbing your eyes is a no-go if you want to avoid causing wrinkles, Dr Patel advised.

The urge to give your peepers a rub probably comes automatically if you feel a tickle, but it can actually “put a lot of pressure and tension on our eyes [and] make the skin fragile over time”, the aesthetics practitioner noted.

“The tugging and pulling actions can cause the skin to stretch prematurely and increase collagen breakdown.

“Also, persistent rubbing of the eyes can eventually damage the skin’s barrier, which helps to retain moisture for supple skin and keep out infection.”

To combat fine lines and tighten the skin, Dr Patel suggested applying a corrective serum that boosts collagen production to your peepers.

3. Over-cleansing

It’s important to wash the makeup, sun cream, and grime off your face at the end of the day, but cleansing more than twice a day can strip your skin of the natural oils that keep it hydrated and supple.

This can damage your skin barrier, leaving it dry and more prone to developing fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging.

Dr Patel advised you to avoid cleansing more than twice a day and use lukewarm water – as you should with your shower.

He added: “To strengthen the skin barrier whilst cleansing, use a botanical formula with ceramides to nourish the skin.

“Also, ensure your cleanser does not contain any harsh surfactants in it, as this can cause further inflammation and dryness to the skin.”

4. Forgetting your sunnies

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement; they play a crucial role in protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays,” the skin doctor stated.

Not wearing them on a sunny day can lead to “wrinkles, age spots, and a loss of skin elasticity” over time, according to Dr Patel.

The lack of shading can also make you squint more in the bright light, leading to the crow’s feet forming in the outer corner of your eyes, which over time become more pronounced.

Dr Patel said: “As your first point of call, you should aim to wear sunglasses, your broad-spectrum SPF15+, and a wide-brimmed hat for full body protection on sunny days.”

5. Peering at your phone

You probably pick up your phone multiple times a day, but you might not realize you’re creating folds in your neck by peering down at it.

“Excessive screen time, with our heads bent down and necks tilted forward, can lead to a phenomenon known as “tech neck”,” Dr. Patel warned.

“As well as causing strain and injury to the muscles and tissue structures of the cervical spine, the constant bending of the neck can cause the skin to crease and fold repeatedly.

“Over time, these creases may become more pronounced and can develop into permanent wrinkles.”

And if you’re guilty of scrolling before you sleep, you might not also realize you’re squinting your eyes to see your screen in the dark – yet another way you can get crow’s feet.

6. Sleeping on your side

You probably have a favorite sleep position that you assume as soon as you climb into bed.

But if this involves sleeping on your side or front, this can be bad news for your skin, according to Dr Patel.

“Your face is likely pressed against the pillow, which can pull down on your face and contribute to sagging skin,” he explained.

“Since we spend a third of our lifetime asleep, these folds can become repeatedly reinforced into your skin over time, causing vertical wrinkles.”

He advised you to try to train yourself to sleep on your back and invest in a silk or satin pillowcase if you can, to lessen friction on your skin.

7. Sipping through straws

According to Dr Patel: “Whilst consuming a few drinks with a straw is unlikely to cause permanent wrinkles, nowadays our water bottles have straws attached to them and we are encouraged to use reusable straws as an eco-friendly option.

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“Daily, repetitive pursing of the lips can cause the wrinkles around your mouth to become more pronounced – whether that’s your laugh lines, lip lines, or marionette lines.”

This becomes more of a problem as we get older, as lower levels of collagen weaken our skin, leading to “deep, vertical furrows [forming] around the mouth from repetitive pursing”.

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