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  • "Zoom face" is an altered perception of your face that makes you look older than you are.
  • Pandemic stress may contribute to accelerated aging, experts say.
  • Dermatologists say reducing stress and exercising can help improve skin.
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If your reflection on Zoom is looking a little aged, experts say it could be because the platform warps your self-image.

"Some of this is due to perception, what I call 'Zoom face,'" Dr. Rajani Katta, a dermatologist based in Texas, told CNN. "Between the harsh lighting, the strange angles, and just staring at your face for hours on end, it can alter your perception of your own appearance."

But the changes may be real offline, too.

Dermatologists told CNN that pandemic stress, caused by losing a loved one or feeling restless, can take a toll on your skin and cause faint lines.

Stress disrupts your sleep, which leads to swollen eyelids and dark circles under the eyes. Your body also releases more cortisol when stressed, which halts collagen production - and collagen is key for wrinkle prevention.

For better skin, exercise, sleep, and eat foods rich in antioxidants, dermatologists say

If you're aging quicker because of the pandemic, experts say there are many ways to reduce your stress levels.

"What I recommend doing is cycling through your skin care," Dr. Whitney Bowe, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told CNN.

That means using anti-aging products one night and then using sunflower seed oil or jojoba oil the next night or two.

For nutrition, experts recommend eating foods with lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties because it helps protect your skin, Katta told CNN.

During the day, experts say you can actively try to reduce stress by doing yoga, meditating, or deep breathing.

"All of those have been shown to decrease cortisol production and stress levels," Bowe said.

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