Although aging is inevitable, it is also accompanied with several types of health problems like obesity. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, as you age your skin becomes thinner and dry. This leads to wrinkles formation, increased pigmentation (hyperpigmentation), loss of elasticity and dull skin.
If you look in the mirror and discover that your body is showing aging signs sooner than you might expect. Several factors like environment, lifestyle and dietary factors may likely be the cause.
By taking proper care of your skin and overall health, and lifestyle modification can help you prevent premature aging.
This article looks at top 10 habits that make your skin age faster.
Habits That Makes You Age Faster
1. Alcohol is a known diuretic meaning when you take it in excess it causes dehydration. Dehydration decreases the skin natural moisture, which automatically makes you look pale and older than your age
Excess alcohol intake also depletes important nutrients especially vitamins A and C. These two vitamins are essential for maintaining vibrant and supple skin.
In addition, excessive alcohol intake also triggers rosacea outbreaks. Studies also show that high alcohol intake is associated with skin cancer.
A 2014 study published in Cancer Causes and Control reveals that high intake of alcohol, high intake of white wine or liquor were associated with increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (1).
However, this does not imply you cannot enjoy having a drink, just drink in moderation or occasionally.
Habits That Makes You Age Faster
It is a known fact that smoking is linked to heart disease, infertility, bladder cancer, high blood pressure and lung cancer, but if none of this motivates you to ditch this habit, maybe vanity will.
Smoking is also known to accelerate aging process of the skin.
The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke deprive your skin cells of oxygen, which leads to paleness, uneven coloring. It even stimulates the breakdown of collagen and cause loose and saggy skin.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological science reveals that smoking tobacco accelerates skin aging. So if you are so much concerned about your physical appearance, you should quit smoking (2).
Another study in 2013 published in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery shows the facial changes caused by smoking between smoking and nonsmoking identical twins (3).
Whether you smoke or you spend time with a smoker, the smoke from cigarette is bad for your skin’s health.
By giving up on smoking and avoiding second hand smoke, you can restore your skin’s health and avoid premature aging
A 2010 study published in SKINmed Journal reveals that giving up on smoking rejuvenate skin conditions and skin-aging effects (4).
Habits That Makes You Age Faster
Stress, anxiety and constant worry takes a toll on your skin.
A 2012 study reveals that job-related stress can cause a harmful effect on DNA in your cells (5).
In another scenario, have you noticed that when you frown a lot you are feeling stressed which is not good for your appearance?
Over time, your facial muscle actually twitches and conforms to that movement. The ultimate result is wrinkles on the forehead which makes you look much older than your age.
As mentioned above, stress plays a vital role in initiating cascade of events that cause skin aging at the cellular level.
Stress accelerates the breakdown of collagen, DNA damage and also promotes the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines), which trigger premature aging.
A 2014 study published in Inflammation Allergy and Drug Targets reveals brain-skin connection and how the skin reacts to the stress level by activating the endocrine and immune systems, and the negative impact of chronic stress on skin’s health (6).
In addition, stress is also a risk factor for several chronic diseases including hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease
You cannot totally eliminate stress, but you can manage it and reduce its effect.
4. Too Little Sleep
Normally an adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and just one night of bad sleep can make you look and feel tired.
Bad sleep can even lead to dark circles and bags under your eyes. Now imagine what little or no sleep over a couple of days can do to your skin appearance.
Depriving yourself of sleep could cause skin damage in several ways.
First, it could increase your cortisol level, which can worsen inflammatory conditions.
Second, it can cause improper collagen formation, leading to skin aging.
A 2013 study by the University Hospitals Case Medical Center reveals that sleep quality has a direct impact on skin function and aging (7).
This study reveals that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from several environmental stressors, such as UV radiation or disruption of the skin barrier.
Burning the midnight oil can be fun, but the effect is that it makes you look older than your age.
Importantly, avoid sleeping too long on one side of your face, as it could cause wrinkles and sleep lines.
No matter how amazing the sun feels on your body, sunbathing or tanning is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.
Long-term exposure to excessive ultraviolet (UV) rays weakens your skin cells and blood vessels, which eventually causes a tanned, leathery looking skin. It can even lead to hyperpigmentation, reduced skin elasticity and degradation of skin texture, making your skin susceptible to bruising.
In addition, the risk of skin cancer is significantly higher due to excessive sun exposure.
Excessive UV exposure is likely to be responsible for signs of facial aging according to a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology Journal.
To make sure you protect your skin against exceccive sun exposure, protect your skin by wearing a hat, covering up with clothing and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher).
Also, remember to reapply sunscreen throughout the year especially on those hot summer days when you are constantly in and out of the pool.
However, if you have a sun-damaged skin, consult a doctor for proper examination.
6. Sedentary Lifestyle
Instead of being inactive and increasing your risk of obesity and other health problems, make exercise a part of your daily life.
Exercise helps tone your muscle and for proper blood flow to your skin, providing the necessary nutrients to the skin cells.
This makes you have a radiating and supple skin.
Exercise also helps combat heart disease, keeps stress at bay, fights brain fog, reduces inflammation, and prevents other chronic diseases that crop up with age.
Get out of your comfort zone and get moving. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week (9).
You can start with the activities you enjoy the most – walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing etc.
7. Holding Grudges
In case you never knew, unforgiveness can make you age faster than you think.
Although most of us believes in forgiveness but we rarely practice it. Holding grudges against any one at any point in time is not good for your health and appearance.
Your inability to forgive adds more stress to your life which boosts your level of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that leads to weight gain, hypertension and high blood sugar.
As mentioned earlier, stress leads to more frowning one of the key causes of wrinkles in the forehead.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine reveals a correlation between unforgiveness and reduction in stress (10).
Stress has been implicated in various health problems and also contributes to aging.
Don’t allow grudges ruin your youthfulness. Forgiveness should be your watchword for better mental and physical well-being.
8. Feeding On Sugar
Habits That Makes You Age Faster
A sugar-packed diet is a one way ticket to obesity. Also, it can accelerate the skin-aging process and can also make your skin dull and wrinkled.
How does this happen?
There is a process known as glycation, in which sugar molecule attaches to and damage proteins like collagen and elastin. These proteins (elastin and collagen) are important to keep skin flexible and smooth.
A 2009 study published in PLoS Genetics shows a correlation between an increase in age-related diseases and over-consumption of sugar (11).
It is worthy of note that sugary drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks.
According to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, consumption of sugary sodas may accelerate aging process (12).
Eliminating sugar from your diet is not an easy task especially if you have a sweet tooth.
However, you can try to avoid refined sugar and opt for natural fruits to satisfy your cravings.
Better still, you can try out dark chocolate, which is good for the health due to its high antioxidant content.
9. Eating Unhealthy Food
It is a known fact that food has a direct impact on how the skin looks and the overall health of the body.
You really need to pay great attention to your diet if you wish to delay your aging process.
Inflammatory foods such as magarine, red meats, white bread, sugary and processed foods should be avoided, at least to the barest minimum. These foods may cause inflammation, which will ultimately accelerate aging.
You should embrace foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, avocados, olive oil and salmon. These foods help combat inflammation to prevent chronic diseases and keep your skin radiating and supple.
You should also incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diets. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in minerals and vitamins like zinc, selenium, beta-carotene and vitamin C, which aid in the production of collagen.
Also, not forgetting protein rich foods, as low protein intake can cause tears, winkles and cracks in the skin. Protein-rich foods include eggs, lean meat, poultry and legumes.
Very importantly, say no to junk and try to prepare your meal. The unhealthy levels of sodium, fat and cholesterol in junk foods are not good for your overall health including your skin.
Lastly, do not underestimate the power of hydration. Drink enough fluid to prevent dehydration and enjoy younger looking skin.
10. Improper Skin Care
If you want to have a healthy and flawless skin, it is pertinent to follow a proper skin-care routine.
Different skin type adapts to different skin treatments, thus it is necessary to know your skin type and the type of treatment suitable for your skin.
Irrespective of your skin type, endeavor to wash your face twice daily as well as after exercise or whenever you are sweating.
Sweating causes skin irritation and can cause skin disorders like eczema. By gently washing off or taking a proper bath, will remove dirt, makeup and other substances that may cause skin irritation.
Very importantly, don’t go to bed with your makeup. The chemicals in makeup can block skin pores leading to aging skin. And also please, minimize your makeup if you wish to prevent premature aging.
Also, ensure you exfoliate your skin gently at least once a week to get rid of dead skin cells. Moisturize your skin for a youthful appearance. Endeavor to use the right make up products for your skin type. Don’t use conventional skin-care products, as they contain sulfates, parabens and phthalates – these chemicals have the potentials of altering your hormones and accelerate aging.