Natural aging is an inevitable process, but premature aging is a big cause of concern. Since we are all obsessed with looking more youthful, we basically try everything the beauty and fitness industries throw at us. However, most of us undermine all the efforts with a few habits that actually make us age faster. So, let’s take a look at some seemingly harmless habits that are actually making us age faster—prepare to have your mind blown!
Taking Long, Hot Showers
Although hot showers are super nice and relaxing after an exhausting day, the truth is that taking long showers can actually make us age faster by drying and damaging the skin. It is because the heat removes the skin’s oil barrier and moisture to make it dry and wrinkly. Even research has shown that cold showers reduce the appearance of acne, and hot showers can cause the development of early wrinkles.
According to skin experts, taking hot showers or washing your face with hot water dehydrates the skin and dilates blood vessels and capillaries. Therefore, it is best to cut the duration of the daily shower routine. Plus, it saves water.
Eating Foods That Speed Up Body’s Aging Process
We are familiar with chronological age, but it is biological age that’s difficult to determine. After all, biological age represents how much our body has aged due to several lifestyle factors such as drinking, sun exposure, smoking, and diet. While we all know how smoking can make a person age faster, some foods also accelerate the aging process. It would be best to avoid French fries, white bread, white sugar, processed meats, carbonated drinks, coffee, and baked goods.
According to nutritionists, other foods that can speed up the process of aging are microwave dinners, hot dogs, bacon, high glycemic index carbs (bagels, pretzels, pasta), high-salt foods, and high fructose corn syrup.
Staying up all night to watch favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix or working for longer hours without getting adequate sleep can lead to faster skin aging. This routine has become more common during the pandemic. Sleep deprivation first makes the skin lose its youthfulness before forming permanent creases on the forehead. It also causes bags under the eyes. Lack of sleep can lead to other health-related problems as well.
Most healthy adults need to sleep for at least 7 hours at night. Staying up too late at night not only affects health but also social and professional life.
Relying Too Much On Air Conditioning
Most of us don’t know that blasting the air conditioner can make the skin age faster. It is because air conditioners make the indoor air dry by removing the moisture from the air. Given that the ideal humidity levels should be about 40 to 60 percent, AC removes moisture from the air and dries out the skin. Lack of enough moisture results in premature wrinkles, tight and flaky skin, and acne breakouts.
Air conditioning lowers the temperature and reduces the body’s natural oil production. However, experts recommend moderate use of air conditioning and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
A wide range of studies strongly suggests that untreated stress can speed up the aging process. Natural aging causes wrinkles, but this process is accelerated by excessive stress. Stress and tension release high amounts of a hormone called cortisol, which can make the skin age faster by breaking down its collagen and elastin. Research has also found that chronic stress causes inflammation of the skin and accelerates the formation of wrinkles.
Eating healthy food and regular exercise can help reduce stress. Exercise, in particular, helps relieve stress because it prompts the body to release feel-good hormones, making a person feel happy and refreshed.
Using Bar Soaps
Most of us have been washing our faces with bar soaps our entire lives without knowing it is not very gentle on our skin. It can speed up the aging process by damaging the epidermis, the outermost layer of our skin. As a result, the skin becomes prone to acne, inflammation, and premature wrinkling. It is because soaps have binders with a higher pH than our skin, it can potentially make the skin enter an alkaline state which causes dryness.
Instead of using bar soap to wash the face, which strips it of its oils, experts recommend using gentle cleansing options. Even using a hand wash for the face is not recommended.
Excessive Frowning, Smiling And Habitual Facial Expressions
Facial muscle contractions can contribute to speeding up the aging process because they cause wrinkles to become more prominent. Habitual facial expressions can also cause facial wrinkles to form over time. It is because the skin loses its elasticity as we age, and repeating one facial expression more often can increase the chances of developing fine lines and wrinkles around those areas. Studies have found that excessive smiling and frowning can actually make a person look older.
Again, it is important to understand that we used the word “excessive.” So, don’t stop smiling and become a robot.
Coffee contains caffeine, which has a diuretic (water losing) effect. While there are health benefits of drinking coffee, a study has shown that caffeine accelerates the aging of the skin and slows down the wound healing process. In addition, the research found that caffeine is responsible for reducing newly synthesized collagen in skin cells and dehydrating the skin, making it look tired, dull, and aged. Drinking coffee also restricts skin circulation by tightening blood vessels.
Given that caffeine has a diuretic (water losing) effect, it is important to stay hydrated and limit the intake of coffee. If someone cannot live without coffee, try not to cross the recommended daily caffeine limit.
One study found that a sedentary lifestyle makes our cells age faster and increases the chances of aging-related diseases. An inactive lifestyle makes us less agile and slouching over laptops while working can age us beyond our years. While working, most of us have a hunched posture. It makes the body feel tired and less efficient. Moreover, slouching leads to curvature of the spine and other health issues that slowly make us appear older.
Slouching and inactivity may result in muscle tension and fatigue that ultimately lead to bad posture. There are different exercises and strategies that can help cut back on slouching.
Trying to lose weight faster with crash dieting? Think twice before embarking on this journey because it is not only good for health but can speed up the aging process. Experts strongly recommend people not to consider crash dieting because it is simply not a healthy solution. It is a short-term fix that poses a long-term threat. It reduces the body’s energy level and causes wrinkles because the skin has less elasticity.
Research has already shown that crash dieting doesn’t work because a person quickly gains weight after returning to eating normally again. It doesn’t help reduce weight and makes people depressed and unhealthy. It’s best to avoid, overall!
Excessive Intake Of Supplements
There is a common misconception that supplements are like a miracle cure. In reality, taking too many supplements can be harmful to the body because we only need them in tiny amounts. Most importantly, vitamin supplements can never replace a healthy diet and should only be taken if someone’s diet has inadequate vitamins. People also take anti-aging supplements in hopes of looking younger. However, it can have the opposite effect on the skin.
Taking too many anti-aging supplements can make the skin extra sensitive to bruising along with side effects such as high blood pressure, headache, nausea, and fatigue.
Occasional drinking is okay, but research has shown that drinking too much can cause skin redness, wrinkles, and a dry complexion. It is because alcohol dehydrates the skin, which then leads to acne, fine lines, and wrinkles. And that’s just the beginning. Alcohol not only puts an extra strain on the skin by making the body release more stress hormones, but it also affects other vital organs of the body.
Several studies have highlighted the connection between alcohol and aging. Alcohol causes deficiency of essential vitamin A, which leads to reducing the skin’s collagen production and cell generation.
Lack of Exercise
While aging is inevitable, unhealthy aging begins due to a lack of regular physical activity. One study found that people who sat most of the day and had very little exercise were biologically older by eight years than the actual age of the participants. Research shows that people who do not hit the gym or exercise have a higher risk of age-related illnesses and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, exercise also helps in preventing age-related injuries. Exercise makes us look and feel younger because it increases hormones such as testosterone, lowers cortisol levels, and controls blood pressure.
While we cannot turn back the clock on aging, we can make regular exercise part of our daily routine to prevent weight gain and slow down aging.
We know that lack of exercise speeds up the aging process, but not many of us know that exercising too much has a similar effect. After all, excess of everything is bad for you. For instance, running too much can damage joints and promote poor posture. Running is fine, but running too much can make the skin start to become saggy and force the body to change its metabolism, which can lead to accelerating the aging process.
The best approach to staying fit and younger is a moderate exercise routine with a healthy diet. It is important to understand that anything in excess can be harmful to our bodies.
Convincing smokers to quit the deadly habit is not easy. Although we tell them about the dangers of smoking, we don’t commonly discuss one effect: how it makes smokers look older. Smoking causes premature aging and wrinkles in so many ways. It contracts blood vessels and reduces the circulation of blood and oxygen level in the body. Smoking also causes collagen and elastin breakdown, which leads to sagging skin, uneven skin tone, and a dull appearance.
Various studies have shown that smoking shortens the lifespan and breaks down the elasticity of the skin. In short, smoking is not cool, and it makes people look older before killing them.
Drinking Through A Straw
The wrinkly old wives’ tale that drinking through a straw causes wrinkles may seem innocuous at first, but it pains us to say that it is true. Breaking the habit of drinking through a straw is important as it avoids wrinkles around the mouth. It is because the movement of the mouth area encourages the breakdown of collagen to cause fine lines and wrinkles. Over time, this habit can cause visible wrinkles.
The repeated motion of drinking through a straw by pursing lips is not good for facial skin. Therefore, try to break this habit as soon as possible.
Tweezing the stray hairs from time to time is okay, but frequently picking and plucking ingrown hairs do more harm than good. The practice of over-tweezing puts skin complexion at risk and makes a person look old. Therefore, it is important to avoid going overboard when tweezing unwanted hair. According to dermatologists, the practice of long-term over-tweezing can cause dark spots called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring that could become permanent.
Therefore, it would be best to invest in a good eyebrow pencil to break the habit of over-tweezing and help fill in the gaps.
Holding a grudge is one of the ways people respond to negative events and feelings. However, not forgiving family members or friends and holding grudges against them can affect a person’s physical & mental health and make them age faster. The build-up of resentment increases the risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Research shows that forgiveness has health benefits that go beyond a person’s spiritual well-being.
Letting a grudge go is not easy at first. It is different from healthy anger that usually dissipates with time. Studies have shown that not holding a grudge and forgiveness lowers blood pressure and reduces stress, which is also beneficial to the skin.
Going Outside Without Wearing Sunglasses
According to a study, sun exposure is responsible for causing 80% of visible signs of aging, such as pigmentation disorders, skin laxity, wrinkles, and other eye conditions. Direct sunlight causes vision problems like muscular degeneration and cataracts. Sunlight also causes repeated squinting that leads to permanent wrinkles near the eyes. Without proper eye protection, UV rays can cause various vision and health issues. The best way to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays is to wear a pair of sunglasses.
Make sure to wear sunglasses during the winter as well. Not wearing them can lead to lots of squinting, causing fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
Sleeping On One Side of the Body
Sleep plays an important part in making the skin look young and fresh. This is because the most important internal and epidermal recovery takes place when we sleep. However, sleeping on just one side of the body can cause the skin to fold up and form vertical wrinkles. It happens because of the shearing forces that are created by the movement of skin against the pillow. If this habit is taking longer to change, try investing in a silk pillowcase to prevent skin chafing.
Experts recommend that the best way to avoid premature wrinkles is the supine position (sleeping on the back) with the head slightly elevated.
Not Taking Care of the Eyes
Not taking good care of eyes causes fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles. Spending too much time in front of computer screens can affect the eyes. Persistently rubbing eyes is one of the common habits that contribute to premature skin aging. It is because continuous eye rubbing causes inflammation in the area around the eyes. Moreover, the toxic habit of pulling and tugging the delicate skin around the eyes can cause wrinkles and fine lines.
Eyecare is extremely important for the vision and overall health of the skin. It is best to invest in a good eye cream, but make sure not to go overboard with it.
People enjoy tanning because it releases endorphins that makes them feel good. The Western civilization’s obsession with tan started when fashion icon Coco Chanel had a dark tan when she came back from a Mediterranean cruise. In the 1920s, pop culture had valued pale complexions, and seeing the dark tan sent everyone into a frenzy. Well, that awesome tan looks good, but how many of us know that it’s making our skin age faster.
Spending too much time in the sun can lead to premature aging as harmful UV rays cause uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, sunburns, and sagging skin. Therefore, always apply sunscreen when tanning or sunbathing.
Using A Cotton Pillowcase
Most of us are familiar with the concept of beauty sleep as to how it makes the skin rest and rejuvenate. But we’re pretty sure not many of us know that sleeping and pillowcase can lead to wrinkles, lines, and other signs of aging. Given that the most common material used in pillowcases is cotton, it is not good for the skin as other materials like silk. Cotton causes more friction against the skin and leads to dryness, irritation and could accelerate the appearance of wrinkles, lines and creases.
Get rid of the cotton pillowcase and use silk or satin pillowcase to prevent face friction, which breaks down collagen and leads to premature wrinkles and lines.
Wearing makeup every day, particularly in excess, can lead to premature aging. Oil-based makeup can clog the skin pores to accelerate fine lines and talc-based products cause dryness and wrinkles. According to dermatologists, ingredients in makeup such as dimethicone, parabens, propylene, and talc are bad because they slowly build-up on the skin and trap oils. As a result, there are frequent breakouts and congestion. Excessive makeup also makes it difficult for the skin to breathe, causing it to look blotchy, dull, and unhealthy.
Some experts believe that applying makeup every day is okay as long as we use quality brands designed for the skin type. However, we believe moderation is the best approach. It is important to understand that makeup alone isn’t the culprit. The way we apply makeup and remove it also plays a role in premature aging.
Wearing a Tight Ponytail
We all love ponytails as they are chic and sassy. Pulling the hair up into a tight ponytail can open up the face and tighten facial features to give a person a younger look. However, the habit of wearing hair stretched tightly can make a face look saggy. The main drawback of a tight ponytail is premature thinning and traction alopecia. The good news is that traction alopecia is reversible. But the first step to getting rid of it is to stop tugging on hair too much.
Also, never tie hair up when it’s wet. It is because hair is in the weakest form when wet. Try not to pull hair into a pony as it could cause a lot of stress and lead to breakage and bald patches.
Not Going To The Stylist
A good haircut can make a person look younger, but not going to a hairstylist frequently can make a person look older. After all, a one-toned haircut can add years to a person’s appearance. It would be best to go with a natural look with face-framing layers. Having healthy and trimmed hair makes a person look radiant and younger. Moreover, the stylish focuses on giving a haircut that balances out the face
Depending on the type of hair a person has, it is important to pay a visit to a hairstylist once every couple of months.
Not Showering After Swimming
We’ve always been told to shower before and after swimming. Ever wondered why? Well, chlorine is added to swimming pool water to kill parasitic pathogens and infectious bacteria. It works as a disinfectant and helps kill germs like E-coli. However the problem is that chlorine also opens the pores of skin and strips it of natural oils to cause itchy, dry, and irritated skin. Moreover, the dryness of the skin contributing to premature aging.
The chlorine in the swimming pool sticks to us even after taking a shower. Therefore, it is important to take a bath with a pH-balanced soap to eliminate the damaging effects of chlorine.
Giving a good rub to the eyes after an exhausting day can feel good, but there’s a huge downside to this habit. The skin around the eyes is delicate, which makes it more prone to wrinkles and sagging if we treat it roughly. That’s why it is important not to rub eyes as it can stretch the skin, which easily breaks the elastic and collagen in the sensitive skin.
An occasional rub might not do much harm. Still, we need to try our best to refrain from doing it because it increases the risk of infection, damaging the cornea, and developing wrinkles around the eyes.
Excessive Sauna Therapy
Spending time in the sauna is an effective way to reduce weight, stress, and balance hormones. It has mind-blowing benefits ranging from weight loss to anti-aging, and it should be a part of everyone’s healthcare routine. While saunas can help slow down signs of aging, excess of this therapy can have the opposite effect on the skin. Prolonged exposure can actually dry out the skin and cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear.
Try to avoid spending too much time in the sauna no matter how much fun and relaxing it is. Keep in mind that excessive sauna therapy can quickly break down skin’s elasticity and make it look saggy and wrinkly.
Increased Screen Time
Understandably, our screen time has increased a lot due to the pandemic and work-from-home culture. In addition, all physical meetings have been shifted to online platforms, further increasing our screen time. To make matters worse, we are watching binge-watching TV shows and movies on Netflix in our spare time. Most of us even use smartphones right before sleeping. However, our over-exposure to blue light can actually make us look older.
Too much screen time can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina and increase the risk of macular degeneration and premature skin aging.
Not Drinking Adequate Water
As 70 percent of the human body is made up of water, it is hard not to imagine what would happen if we don’t drink enough H2O. Unfortunately, many people have a habit of drinking less water than what a human body needs without realizing that it could lead to chronic dehydration. It worsens during the winter. Water helps regulate body temperature, assist digestion, and give skin a plump appearance.
Without water, the skin slowly starts to age and fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear due to collagen breakdown in the skin. Make a habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of water in a day. Even when there is no thirst, try to sip a small amount of water throughout the day.
Using a Smart Phone Before Going to Sleep
We use a smartphone throughout the day to make calls, text, send emails, use social media, and watch cute cat videos. The truth is that this technology has made our lives a lot easier and so interesting that we can’t live without it. Imagine spending a day without a smartphone. That’s why most of us spend a lot of time using smartphones before sleeping. However, there are many reasons why it is a bad habit.
It keeps the mind psychologically engaged. It leads to sleep deprivation, which can accelerate signs of aging. Moreover, excessive screen time before going to bed suppresses melatonin to cause tiredness and even insomnia. All of these issues affect our skin.
Not Using Sunscreen
Various studies have shown that regular use of sunscreen prevents sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging. Instead of using sunscreen only when attending a picnic or heading to the beach, try to use it whenever going out. Research has shown that using a sunscreen every day helps prevent premature aging. Given that sun exposure diminishes skin’s immune response and depletes collagen, the skin finds it hard to stay smooth and firm.
As sunscreen prevents sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer, experts recommend using sunscreen identified as “broad spectrum.” A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects from UVA and UVB rays.
Dermatologists are in favor of exfoliation as a great way to shed dead skin cells, but the popularity of cell-scrubbing cleansers and other products means that a lot of women and even men are exfoliating more than needed. According to dermatologists, exfoliating too aggressively can cause wrinkle-causing inflammation, one of the major causes of aging. It can also leave the skin sore, red, bruised, and irritated. Experts recommend gentle exfoliation for a few nights a week.
Therefore, it is important to try not to go overboard when exfoliating as it could damage the skin and cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear much sooner.
Not Removing Makeup Before Going To Bed
Okay, we can understand that removing makeup after a fun, exhausting night seem like a big task, but going to sleep without doing it could lead to premature aging. It is because makeup traps dead skin cells and causes the skin barrier to break down. Sleeping with makeup also prevents the skin from a much-needed renewal at night, leading to the breaking down of collagen. Makeup also clogs the pores and lead to blackhead and acne breakouts.
Sticking to the habit of not removing makeup before going to bed might save time, but it can eventually lead to fine lines, wrinkles, and other skin problems.