While aging is inevitable, sprouting fine lines and wrinkles before your time is under your control. "Turns out, many of the habits you do every day-some you probably don't even recognize you're doing-might be making you look way older than your years," writes Women's Health. Some skin changes are genetic, of course, but others can be curbed with a healthy diet and lifestyle (and by breaking a few bad habits). Below read up on three common habits that can make you look older than you are.
Not Eating Enough Vegetables
All fruits and vegetables could be considered superfoods, in fact, several studies have found that eating enough of these disease-fighting foods can "prevent damage that causes your skin to age too early," explains the American Academy of Dermatology. Fruits and vegetables, specifically spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges, red peppers, strawberries, asparagus, and mushrooms, are full of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins that fight free radical damage and keep your skin cells healthy. "Vitamin E specifically might help protect you your skin from UV damage, even out any pigmentation issues, and reduce inflammation," they add.
Too Much Smoking and Drinking
It's no secret that cigarettes and alcohol don't do your skin any favors. But smoking in particular has been found to "harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body," explains the American Cancer Society. One five-year study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery even found that those who smoke cigarettes have more pronounced eye bags, lip wrinkles, and jowls compared to those who don't. What's more is that "smoking decreases delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin by constricting blood vessels and cutting off circulation," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. In other words, your entire body will experience signs of aging from smoking.
Drinking, on the other hand, can lower antioxidant levels in your skin, leading to inflammation and free radical damage, adds Zeichner. The AAD adds that alcohol tends to dehydrate your skin, making it look dry and rough. "You should also take note of the ingredients you're mixing booze with," notes the magazine. "If your drink is loaded with sweet mixers and juices, it's probably loaded with skin-damaging sugars, too."
Not Prioritizing Sleep
Clocking a solid eight hours every night will do wonders for your complexion (not to mention your mental health). "Your skin cells function on a circadian rhythm, similar to the sleep-wake cycle that makes you tired at night and wakes you up in the morning," Zeichner tells the magazine. At night, your body repairs the damage it endured during the day, including air pollution, sun damage, or even a breakout. "So when you skimp on sleep, that entire process is thrown off, and your skin can't prep for the next day. This stresses your skin out, throwing off the repair process, which ultimately leads to less healthy cells and premature aging." He recommends prioritizing sleep as much as possible and applying moisturizing lotion, such as Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion, to your entire body before heading to bed.
Head over to Women's Health for more, and read up on the five hormones that affect how you age next.