Aging isn’t just about wrinkles, dark spots, and puffy eyes—it’s about the habits you have that make your skin look older than it should be! Here are 6 habits that age your skin, along with steps you can take to start looking younger again.
Our list of common habits that age your skin:
1. An Unhealthy Diet Ages You
The 1st of the habits that age your skin: if you’re not eating well and are instead opting for highly processed foods, then it’s probably no surprise you’re already starting to see some lines around your eyes. Processed carbs and sugars spike our blood sugar quickly, leaving us hungry sooner while stripping nutrients out of our food. To age gracefully, it’s time to make smart choices about what we put on our plates—and set ourselves up for success by stocking our kitchen with anti-aging super-foods like dark leafy greens, pomegranates, and blueberries. Each of these contains powerful antioxidants that fight wrinkles at their source—the cell level.
2. Sun Exposure Ages You
Another of the bad habits that age your skin is too much exposure to sunlight. UV rays from sunlight damage our skin. These ultraviolet rays break down collagen, one of our main structural proteins, which give our skin tone and strength. The longer we stay out, unprotected, and don’t put on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients) or take other steps to prevent sun damage, like getting enough sleep and wearing hats to block UV rays when we’re outside, the more likely it is that years will show up on our faces before they should. At-home remedies are best since they can help reduce inflammation without side effects; however, you might want to consider incorporating certain habits into your life now if you care about staying young-looking—starting by avoiding habits that age your skin.
3. Lack of Sleep Will Age You Faster
It’s common knowledge: lack of sleep makes you look older, but it can actually make you age faster. The hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are associated with stress, travel to all areas of your body while you’re sleeping, but never reach their destination. As they stay in your blood system instead of traveling to other cells, they cause damage and speed up aging. Also, avoid taking a hot shower or bath before bedtime; hot water will dry out your skin while you sleep and prevent vital nutrients from being absorbed into your system. And always moisturize! Dry skin is an aging nightmare.
4. Not Cleaning your Face Ages Your Skin
Many people are concerned about getting wrinkles and fine lines when they get older. But it’s really all about what you do now to take care of your skin—because those habits that age your skin are not limited to later in life. For example, failing to wash away makeup at night can actually cause premature aging. Makeup clogs pores and blocks toxins from leaving your body, which causes irritation and inflammation. These two issues accelerate signs of aging like fine lines and crow’s feet. (For more, read our related story: Rule for anti-aging.)
5. Smoking Ages You
This is probably the worst of the habits that age your skin. Smoking is not only an addictive habit, but it ages you quickly. According to WebMD, People who smoke usually develop yellowing of their teeth and fingernails, wrinkles around their lips and eyes, and more wrinkles on their face and neck. A number of factors cause these premature signs of aging, including poor circulation due to narrowed blood vessels as well as exposure to carcinogens produced by cigarettes. Many nicotine products also contain harmful chemicals like parabens and formaldehyde. If you want to keep your skin young-looking it’s important not just what you eat but also what you put on it.
6. Alcohol Ages You
That glass of wine you’re enjoying tonight might seem harmless, but over time, alcohol can wreak havoc on your skin. Alcohol stimulates cell division, which makes new cells grow — but these new cells aren’t as healthy as they could be. The older, unhealthy cells then mix with fresh, young ones and create weak spots in our skin. Over time, we develop wrinkles and fine lines around our eyes and mouth (sob!). Worse yet: There’s no reversing or stopping it once it starts happening. So if you’re looking to stay youthful-looking for as long as possible — skip out on that glass of wine every night or two (or three).
There’s nothing inherently wrong with habits that might be associated with aging, but they aren’t what you want to prioritize if you want to look young. So, skip smoking and drinking alcohol. And choose specific foods based on their nutritional content—not how easy they are to prepare or how good they taste. Stay hydrated, too—your body needs water for everything from digestion to proper brain function. Instead of succumbing to these triggers for skin aging, focus on eating well and staying active as your best options for a youthful appearance!
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