Last updated: Sep 11, 2015
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You've got your skin-care regimen down pat. You wear SPF like it's your job. You know how to make yourself glow. But are you prepared for the not-so-pretty side effects of the age of technology—and the impact of our too-busy-to-breathe lives? No worries: It's easy to defend yourself against these complexion killers, as long as you know exactly who your enemies are and you're ready to spring into action. Take control right here.


RELATED: 14 Lifestyle Changes That Make You Look Younger

Smartphone squint
What's going on
Instagram, Facebook, Gilt—so many apps, such a teeny screen on your phone. Americans spend a good four hours a day glued to their smartphones, per a report by Informate Mobile Intelligence. All that tech time means lots of squinting, notes Tina Alster, MD, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C., which can kick-start crow's-feet, lines under the eyes and a furrow between your brows.

What to do
When you open an app, relax your facial muscles; soon it'll be second nature. If little wrinkles have formed, reach for a fast line smoother like Estee Lauder Dimension Expert Liquid Tape ($70; esteelauder.com)—invisible polymers tighten skin. "Eye creams with the wrinkle fighters retinol and vitamins C and E can also rebuild collagen to lessen the look of lines over time," says Harold Lancer, MD, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills.

3 Modern trends your skin will love
1. The return of fats
Now that research shows dietary fat isn't the nemesis we once thought, people are eating more of it—to the great benefit of their skin. "Unsaturated fats are important for trapping water in skin, which keeps it moisturized and looking healthy and young," says Dr. Alster. A study in the journal Plos One also found that a higher intake of monounsaturated fatty acids from plant sources (think avocado and nuts) was associated with less noticeable aging; the nutrients can help quell inflammation along with oxidative stress, which may contribute to photoaging.

2. Mole-check apps
Mole Monitor, Doctor Mole and SkinVision identify and track spots. You can't depend on them alone—research suggests they misdiagnose about 30 percent of melanomas as low-risk—so get an annual skin check. But docs say they can be good for pointing out suspicious moles.

3. Multitaskers
A growing number of skin-care products are designed to work on your skin while you do something else, a trend that started in Asia and is known there as shinagara cosme. The items include masks and undereye patches you can wear in the car or as you sleep.

RELATED: 13 Everyday Habits That Are Aging You

Tech neck
What's going on
Skin below your chin can also suffer from smartphone addiction. "People are getting lines on the lower neck from repeatedly looking down at their devices," says Neal Schultz, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Adds Patricia Wexler, MD, also a derm in N.Y.C., "Phones can be bad agers—I'm seeing more wrinkles on the neck, and women are complaining about sagging jowls at younger ages."

What to do
The obvious (but key) prevention tactic is to hold your smartphone at eye level. Reduce the look of neck rings by daily applying a cream that has glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids; find the latter in Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic and Retinol Fortifying Neck Emulsion ($68; qvc.com). If lines are deep, docs recommend the Fraxel laser, which triggers collagen production to help plump skin and soften lines. (Each session costs $1,200 to $1,500; you'll need three to five.) While nothing topical can help firm up lax jawline skin, derms see good results from an Ultherapy ultrasound treatment (about $2,500).



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Airborne aging
What's going on
Thanks so much, pollution. Women who live in areas with higher levels of soot and traffic-particle emissions had 20 percent more pigment spots and more pronounced nasolabial folds (the lines that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth) than those who don't, found a German study. Those nasty particles can stir up cellular processes that cause aging.

RELATED: 11 U.S. Cities With the Worst Air Pollution

What to do
Easiest of all: Regularly wash your face to get rid of toxins. Topical antioxidants can also protect by attacking free radicals; opt for one of the new day creams made to combat pollution, like Shiseido Future Solution LX Universal Defense SPF 50+ ($90; shiseido.com).

Got selfie syndrome?
One in three plastic surgeons report an uptick in procedure requests, now that people are more aware of their looks due to social media photo sharing, according to a 2014 survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. A prime culprit: "Close-up photos can make patients judge themselves a lot more. Then they come to the office obsessing over every pore and fine line," says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Resist the zoom and try one of the new light-diffusing primers or BB creams, like RoC Retinol Smooth Perfexion Instant Line Corrector ($23; at amazon.com). The silicone they contain also helps make skin look gorgeously smooth.

Bunny lines
What's going on
These cute-sounding little wrinkles crop up alongside the bridge of your nose when you smile or grimace. Apart from natural aging, they're often caused by OD'ing on injectables. "Too much botulinum toxin in any one area, such as between the brows, can cause you to recruit other muscles when making expressions," explains Dr. Frank. "It may lead to new wrinkles in unusual places, like how painting only one wall makes the others look dirty."

What to do
If you get injectables, make sure your derm first assesses your facial expressions—then gives you a hit in several areas, including near the bridge of the nose, says Dr. Frank. Also consider the new relaxer Xeomin, which provides a very subtle effect. (One session costs about $400 and lasts three to six months.)

Superwoman skin
What's going on
As more women lean in and attempt to do it all (we're talking to you), experts are noticing the side effects. "I see patients who are so overextended that they're sleeping less, and their skin is suffering," says Richard Fried, MD, a dermatologist and clinical psychologist in Yardley, Penn. Robbing yourself of z's can increase wrinkle-causing inflammation and free-radical damage, he notes, plus lead to puffy, sallow skin.

RELATED: 8 Best Overnight Beauty Products to Wake Up Gorgeous

What to do
We have just the motivation you need. In a study in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, women who got seven to nine hours of sleep had skin that was more resistant to wrinkling and irritation—and fresher-looking, to boot—than those who slept only five hours. In addition to snoozing more, apply an overnight mask like Lancome Energie de Vie Melt-In Sleeping Mask ($65; sephora.com) once a week. Also, set your alarm to go off at night. It'll remind you to get to bed.



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Inflam-aging
What's going on
If your medicine cabinet contains half of Sephora, we don't blame you: There are so many enticing products out there. Thing is, your skin may not be up for quite so much beauty adventure. "Patients with redness or blotchiness say, 'I have sensitive skin,' and think they're using the wrong products," says Dr. Frank, "but they're usually using too many or switching too frequently." The resulting inflammation can damage collagen—and even inhibit its production.

What to do
To soothe skin that's acting up, go on a product detox. Use just the basics—a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen that all contain few ingredients and no fragrance (a common irritant). Try ones from derm favorites Cetaphil and CeraVe. Stick with them for four to six weeks, advises Dr. Frank, so skin can completely calm down. Then add in an anti-aging cream or serum and, a month later, a scrub or peel.

The gel-mani curse
What's going on
One thing not to love about gel manis: the lights used to harden the polish. In a study in JAMA Dermatology, researchers tested the amount of UV rays emitted from 17 curing machines. They found that, while radiation levels varied widely, an average of 12 sessions over the course of three years could result in enough cumulative exposure to damage skin's DNA.

RELATED: How to Remove Your Gel Mani at Home (Without Wrecking Your Nails)

What to do
Dr. Alster suggests wearing SPF or gloves with the tips cut off. You can also look for salons that use LED curing lights, which are safer for skin. Between visits, apply a vitamin-rich hand cream to help strengthen nails and the surrounding skin. Try Sebamed Hand & Nail Balm ($13; amazon.com).

Old-school strategies that work (and always will)
1. Lighten up on makeup
"As you age, you lose elasticity in your pores. Makeup can pack into them, and they look larger," says Dr. Wexler. "Instead of foundation, wear a tinted moisturizer, or go makeup-free except for mascara."

2. Use glycolic acid
It remains many derms' go-to for younger-looking skin—it evens tone, boosts radiance, stimulates collagen and reduces the appearance of pores. Basically, it does everything except apply itself.

3. Limit salt
"When you eat too much salt, your body dilutes it by sucking water out of your skin, which then loses radiance," says Dr. Lancer. "When I go to zero added salt in my diet, my skin looks more vibrant."