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Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS

By now you're probably well aware that certain habits play a big role when it comes to the aging process and your skin. Lying out in the sun all day, trying to get a tan, has a huge effect on your skin, making it wrinkle sooner, for example. The same is true of smoking or drinking a lot of alcohol. But, there are a number of seemingly benign, or even healthy habits, that play a part when it comes to the lines and wrinkles on your face. While you can't stop the hands of time, you might be able to reduce the number of wrinkles you develop by keeping an eye on the following habits.

Using a Straw

Dentists often recommend using a straw to drink sodas and other sugary drinks because it reduces the amount of time the sticky liquid spends on your teeth. But, when you drink with a straw, you purse your lips in a way that can lead to the development of small vertical wrinkles above them. These lines are similar to the lines that form between your eyebrows or at the corners of your eyes, since they are created by muscle movements. That doesn't mean you can't use a straw every now and then, but if you're using a straw daily, you may want to rethink your habit.

If you do have lines above the lips already, one way to reduce them is with an injection such as Botox, or similar treatments such as Xeomin or Dysport. The injections will keep the muscles responsible for the lines from moving, easing the appearance of the wrinkles. Depending on how deep the wrinkles are, your surgeon may also recommend using an injectable filler to fill them in or a skin resurfacing treatment to reduce them.

Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool

Most swimming pools are chlorinated to protect you from bacteria and other pathogens while you swim. Unfortunately, the chlorine in the pool tends to do a number on your skin and hair. The chemical is very drying, so if you spend a lot of time in the pool in the summer, you might notice that your skin has become chalky and flaky. Dry skin also makes you look older, as the skin starts to lose moisture and naturally occurring substances, such a hyaluronic acid, as you age. Hyaluronic acid is what makes skin soft and plump.

If you can't get enough of the pool, there are some ways to protect your skin. Always shower right after swimming, using a mild soap. Apply lotion to the skin to restore some moisture after swimming, too. If you swim a lot, you might want to take preventative steps and apply a thick moisturizer to your skin before you swim, such as petroleum jelly.

Your Diet

You are what you eat, and often the foods you consume and the way you consume them turn on your face in the form of lines, wrinkles and sagging. Constantly going on crash diets or yo yo dieting can have a negative effect on the elastin and collagen in the skin, making it look saggy and dull before its time. Restricting your diet for a set amount of time, then eating a lot so that you quickly gain weight can lead to stretch marks.

While a laser skin resurfacing treatment such as Artisan Skin Resurfacing can help reduce the lines, wrinkles and stretch marks caused by up and down dieting, your best option is to practice moderation when it comes to eating. Work with a nutritionist, if needed, to come up with a diet that helps you reach your weight loss goals without losing or gaining too much at any one time.

The Air Conditioning

Air conditioning that's set too cold can do more than just a require you to wear a sweater in the middle of summer. Since most air conditioners also dry out the air, creating a low humidity environment, too much A/C can also dry out your skin, making the signs of aging more noticeable. If you can control your air conditioning, turn it up so that it's not so cold or turn it off on days when the weather is mild. If you can't control the A/C, such as in an office or apartment building, protect your skin by staying hydrated, using moisturizer and boosting your skin's health with plenty of nutrients.

The only board certified facial plastic surgeon in central Florida, Dr. Ross Clevens is happy to answer any questions you have about factors that age your skin and the best way to cope with them -- whether that means surgery, minimally invasive treatments, or lifestyle changes. Call (321) 727-3223 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clevens today.

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