Brown spots, gray hair, and wrinkles? Predictable. When it comes to signs of aging, most women are well-versed in the usual suspects. But some unexpected factors could be making you look older than you realize.
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1. Under-eye Circles
Crows-feet get a bad rap, but under-eye circles are equally as aging. Losing volume under the skin is a natural part of getting older, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, a cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist in Chicago-this can cause deep depressions under the thin layer of skin. In addition, certain women naturally have extra pigment under the eyes, while others have prominent blood vessels that are showing through the skin as purple.
Turn back the clock: A few makeup tricks can help. Carmindy, the makeup artist behind TLC's "What Not to Wear", says to start with a very thin veil of foundation (a sheer spray works well)-thick layers or powder will settle into the depressions. Then, instead of a heavy concealer, try a light pink brightener. "It bounces light under the eye, making you look much younger," Carmindy says.
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2. Your High-School Hair
Long locks may seem like the picture of youth, but here's a reality check: Even if you're dyeing, sporting the same haircut you had in high school can really add years to your face. "Longer hair just drags you down," says Anthony Morrison, the original Bravo Network Shear Genius competition winner and the Glam Squad hair expert from TLC's makeover show 10 Years Younger. Nothing says old lady like an out-of-date cut, especially one that's all one length.
Turn back the clock: To bring your hair into the 21st century, Morrison suggests looking through magazines to get ideas. "Shoulder length and above is always a really nice way to go," he says. He also recommends long, soft layers and side bangs. Still not ready to part with your hard-earned inches? The key to making long hair work is for it to be healthy and shiny, says Morrison-he recently created his own hair care line called Anthony Morrison Weightless Moisture.
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3. Droopy Earlobes
Most women brace themselves for a certain amount of sagging, but they probably aren't expecting it to happen in their earlobes. Through the process of photo aging, skin loosens and becomes more lax, says Christopher Harmon, M.D. a dermatologist in Birmingham, AL. That, in addition to a lifetime of heavy earrings, can result in floppy earlobes. Even more common is for piercings to get longer as earrings are pulled and snagged.
Turn back the clock: Since earlobes are one body part that can't be tightened with exercise, the only solution here is a quick surgical procedure. To repair stretched holes, Harmon sews the hole back together and then repierces the ear after it heals.
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4. Funky Feet
The saying goes that you can tell a woman's true age by looking at her hands-but the feet tell a story of their own. Years of walking in high heels, flip-flops, and other unsupportive shoes can take their toll in the form of bunions. "It's a wear-and-tear phenomenon," says Colleen Schwartz, DPM, a podiatrist in Pleasanton, CA and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Turn back the clock: Keep your feet youthful by taking steps to avoid a bunion in the first place, especially if they run in your family. Because the problem is created by a muscular imbalance, try feet-strengthening exercises such as Pilates or yoga. And rethink your footwear, especially if you're going to be doing a lot of walking. If a bunion does start to develop, see a podiatrist.
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5. Too-Sparse Eyebrows
A lifetime of plucking and thinning unruly eyebrows can cause long-term sparseness, Harmon says. Because brows already thin out as we get older, women can end up with an unflattering shape and arch.
Turn back the clock: If you have full eyebrows, avoid overplucking. But if you've already started to lose volume, makeup is your best friend. A liquid brow corrector can fill in thin spots and even cover grays, Carmindy says. For the best look, feather it on using small, little brush strokes.
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