I sit on the edge of my couch at midnight, neck craned, peering at the TV through eyelids that feel as if they’ve somehow morphed into little pillows. That’s new, I think. It’s the seventh consecutive night that I’ve stayed up late playing video games and my left eye has developed a twitch.
Looking in the mirror, my eyes are puffy, my skin looks dry and tired and the little lines I have on my forehead look deeper. Pulling out my jade face roller, I vigorously attempt to iron the wrinkles out of my forehead and the excess fluid from around my eyes. I’ve been consuming alcohol a lot more lately, too, and when I wake up the following morning I feel like I’ve been hit by a MAC truck. So what do I do? Reach for the caffeine, of course.
The following week continues on in this same sort of pattern, and I’m starting to get acne on my cheeks and forehead. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I don’t get many pimples. I [used to] drink tons of water, sweat every day, consume little to no alcohol, get a good night’s sleep, limit TV use, and remove my makeup every night. It’s crazy to look at that list and say, as of today I am doing the complete opposite.
What happened to me? As much as I want to blame the coronavirus (because, well, it feels better to point a finger at something else than at myself), sadly, the abdication of my healthy habits is all my fault. It was my choice to drink less water and more alcohol. To stay up later and consume more caffeine. It was my choice to do those things, and now my skin is paying for it.
The crazy part is how quick it snuck up on me. And it just makes me think about how easily bad habits can be formed. So I’m shifting myself into gear and kicking these bad habits to the curb.
Drinking Alcohol & Caffeine
Yesterday I was walking with a friend to whom I said, “I think I’m gonna pick up a bottle of wine for tonight.” He promptly replied, “Why? It always makes you feel terrible.” I had to laugh because, it does always make me feel terrible—why do I still want to consume it?
But aside from feeling terrible, alcohol is a diuretic, which means its flushes water out of your body (and skin) and it can leave your skin looking dry and saggy. Hello, saggy eyelids. The same goes for caffeine. And while I reaaaallyy don’t want to give up my morning coffee (it’s my happy place), I may combat this with making sure to chug a glass of water before and after.
My routine before bed each night was always: water, makeup removal, relaxing activity, complete darkness and quiet for sleep. But ever since I moved to the city, complete darkness and quiet are hard to come by. And during the pandemic, I’m often forgetting to drink water and take off my makeup.
I read a few years ago the most important thing you can do for your skin is to take your makeup off before bed. Why? This is because your skin renews itself while you sleep, and your makeup hinders this crucial regenerative process. And, the day’s worth of grime, sebum, and products can all clog your pores and cause breakouts.
Gaming and TV use
I actually never thought this was something that could affect my skin. But as The Independent reports, blue light, aka high-energy visible light, “penetrates the deeper levels of the skin, upregulating an enzyme MMP-1.”
And not only that, blue light’s strain on your eyes causes you to squint while looking at a screen (especially if you’re shooting zombies at 12:30am). “Squinting…forces the muscles between your brows and around your eyes to contract, which in turn causes the overlying skin to crease.” Repeated squinting eventually causes the collagen to break down and create deep, permanent wrinkles. I’ve never heard of anything scarier.
Okay, this real talk has gotten me properly frightened of any further slippage in my health and wellness routine. Keep hydrating, giving yourself sleep instead of unnecessary screen time, and let me know what happens!
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Photos: Hasle, Dalbjorn, Felicia, Goodman, Carstens-Peters; Unsplash