- Happy Hour: Alcohol is a natural diuretic, according to Huffington Post Healthy Living, so the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become. Besides sapping the natural moisture from your skin, excessive alcohol also triggers rosacea outbreaks and exacerbates fine lines, acne, and wrinkles, all of which instantly make you look older. You don’t have to swear off the bottle altogether, but by drinking less, your liver doesn’t have to work as hard to flush out toxins and impurities from your body, and when it works more efficiently, you’ll see the results in your skin.
- Stress: Nothing takes its toll on your body faster than constant worry, anxiety, or stress. In fact, a 2012 study suggests that job-related stress can have a harmful effect on DNA in your cells. According to an article published by Huffington Post, researchers measured the length of DNA sections called telomeres and found that people with the most work-related stress had the shortest telomeres, causing cells to die or become damaged, which may speed up the aging process. Additionally, stress can age your brain, increase your blood pressure, and disrupt your sleeping habits, all of which combined can make you look older, as well.It’s hard for most people to reduce the amount of work-related stress they face (and if you can, we want to work where you do!), but hopefully, you can dial it down with just a few simple lifestyle tweaks. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink, avoid processed foods, which can put stress on your digestive system, and try taking up a weekly yoga or meditation session to boost your mood and calm your mind.
- Too Little Sleep: More than a third of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep per night, which can cause big-time negative effects on your health, such as weight gain, impaired immune system, decreased focus, sallow skin, and compromised memory.If you can, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. But be careful: Sleeping too long on one side of your face can cause wrinkles and “sleep lines”, according to an article by Allure. The best way to avoid fine lines and wrinkles is by sleeping on your back or purchasing smooth pillowslip cases. “Satin or silk is best,” Fransesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical center in New York, told the magazine. “Or buy the softest, highest-thread-count fabric you can find.”
- Smoking: You already know that smoking is linked to heart disease, infertility, bladder cancer, high blood pressure, and of course, lung cancer, but if none of those side effects motivate you to ditch the ciggies for good, maybe vanity will: Not only can regular smoking exacerbate skin conditions such as psoriasis, but it chronically deprives your skin cells of oxygen, which can lead to pale, uneven coloring. Smoking and secondhand smoke also trigger the breakdown of collagen and can lead to loose, saggy skin, not just on your face, but even on your upper arms and breasts. Lastly, smokers are constantly using the muscles around their mouth as they puff away, which is what causes those deep wrinkles longtime smokers often sport.
- Not Exercising: While excessive running can cause sagging known as “runner’s face,” (experts believe it causes more oxygen or free radical damage, which can lead to a breakdown in collagen), moderate exercise (defined as exercising at 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate) is not only healthy for your weight, heart, and lungs, but it provides a rejuvenating effect on the skin. Since the damaging skin effects don’t take place until you’ve been running or working out for 90 minutes at 70 to 80 percent of your heart rate, as long as you keep your workouts short and sweaty, you’ll be able to reap the best of both worlds and get the anti-aging and weight-loss benefits.
- The Wrong Makeup: Makeup can help hide imperfections and age spots, but the using the wrong kind can make you look older. For example, some heavy foundations and powders can settle into the wrinkles around your eyes and mouth, accentuating fine lines. Swap your foundation for a lighter formula or tinted moisturizer that will provide coverage while enhancing your skin’s luminosity. Make your eyes pop in the morning by lining the inside rims of your lower lids with a white eyeliner pencil (this is an old Hollywood trick! Check out more expert beauty tips here). Finally, use facial blotting tissues that will soak up excess oil without smearing or ruining your look.
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