We get told there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. However, experience shows there are at least two more: change and ageing.
All four are inevitable but premature ageing is something that can be under our control. What can you do to keep yourself from looking older?
As it turns out, many of the habits you engage in might be prematurely ageing you. And since we are not a 14 year old trying to get into an 18+ movie, who wants to look a lot older than you are?
There is a good chance that you don’t even recognise you are making some of these habits. And that is a big problem.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that an old-looking face is one of the most common insecurities people seek cosmetic correction for.
Think creams, peels, and Botox injections.
Your wallet and you will both be a better off if you prevent premature ageing in the first place. Here are six habits that will erase years off you.
No sunscreen equals ageing
Applying SPF regularly is the number one thing you can do to keep your skin looking young and healthy.
Excessive exposure to UV light creates free radicals that in turn damage collagen, elastin, and the skin cells.The UV light damage leads to premature ageing of the skin. You can develop wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancers. Click To Tweet
Think of the cumulative effect of UV light exposure. So, even short amounts of sun exposure on a daily basis add up over the course of a lifetime.
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Here is an example. Over four years Australian researchers followed more than 900 people.
They found those who were instructed to apply and appropriately reapply sunscreen daily were 24% less likely to show signs of ageing in their skin than people who weren’t given any SPF instructions.
Take the three-month challenge. The researchers found that just using SPF 30 alone for 12 weeks is enough to visibly reverse the signs of UV-related skin damage.
Signs like uneven texture and pigmentation, according to a published study.
Lack of sleep equals ageing
Getting your beauty sleep serves more purposes than the name implies. It not only helps you look younger for longer, but it also helps you recharge.
Your skin cells function on a circadian rhythm, similar to your sleep-wake cycle. That is what that makes you tired at night and wakes you up in the morning.
What is skin’s nighttime function? Repairing the damage the skin endured during the day. By damage, I mean things like exposure to sunlight, pollution or an acne breakout.
Research indicates that people who get less sleep produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. Raised levels of cortisol lead to increased stress and higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins.
Skimping on sleep throws that entire process off, and your skin can’t prepare for the next day.
This not only stresses your skin out. It throws off the repair process, which ultimately leads to less healthy cells and premature ageing.
Try to clock in at least seven hours a night.
Before you fall fast asleep in your bed, make sure you apply a moisturiser. At a minimum to your face but your entire body would benefit because your skin can get dehydrated while sleeping.
We want to avoid dry or inflamed skin. It doesn’t function properly which limits its ability to heal itself overnight.
Eating badly equals ageing
Nearly 90% of people don’t eat the recommended 2 to 3 portions of vegetables a day, while 76% fail to eat enough fruit.
That according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.
This from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Eating a balanced diet loaded with antioxidants can help prevent damage that causes your skin to age too early,
Think of fruits and vegetables as disease fighters. They are full of nutrients, like antioxidants and vitamins, which help fight free radical damage and keep your skin cells healthy.
Research has shown that vitamin E might help protect you your skin from UV damage. And it may even out pigmentation issues and reduce inflammation.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vitamins A, C, and B3 are also great for your skin.
What fruits and vegetables should be on your grocery list?
Dark leafy greens like spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges, red peppers, strawberries, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Excess sugar equals ageing
That chocolate bar does damage beyond your waistline. Starchy, sugary foods, like white bread and ice cream, can cause all sorts of problems with your skin.
Starchy, sugary foods spike your blood sugar levels, which can ignite inflammation and spur acne breakouts.
When you get pimple after pimple, it can lead to permanent scarring. Either in the form of a depressed or raised bump in the skin caused by damaged collagen.
Even if the pimples go away, you might be left with marks, like sunspots that tend to make you look older.
These brown and red marks will fade over time, but not keeping your acne in check will continue to spur that cycle.
Eating too much sweet stuff can lead to glycation.
A process in which sugar molecules attach to your collagen or the main building blocks of your skin.
Glycation makes your collagen hard and less flexible, promoting premature wrinkling.
To make matters worse, dark sugary drinks like soda and sweetened coffee can also damage and stain your teeth.
This according to the American Dental Association (ADA), which is often a sign of one too many years under your belt.
Smoking equals ageing
Before you light up, keep in mind that smoking harms nearly every part of your body. It is not just your lungs that pay a painful price.
Smoking also accelerates the ageing process. Want the proof that smoking makes you look older, faster?
A study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery researched 79 sets of twins. The twins were selected on the basis that one of them currently smoked or smoked five years longer than his or her double.
The researchers compared the facial features and characteristics of both twins. They found that those who puffed on cigs experienced greater eye bags, more lip wrinkles, and jowls.
And wrinkling is not just limited to your face. Other parts of your body, like your inner arms, may start to wrinkle, too.
One potential reason is that smoking decreases delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. The reduction in circulation is caused by the blood vessels constricting.
Tobacco is saturated with chemicals. Some of these chemicals harm your collagen and elastin, both of which are crucial for a youthful looking face.
Smoking also does a nasty number on your mouth. It can cause periodontal disease (which may lead to tooth loss), gum recession and stain your teeth, according to the ADA.
Need one last reminder to quit? “Smoking harms nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body,” says the American Cancer Society.
No surprise that it is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
Excess alcohol equals ageing
There is a reason no one looks great in the morning after one too many drinks.
Excessive alcohol consumption lowers antioxidant levels in your skin. This, in turn, can cause inflammation and the previously discussed free radical damage to your skin cells.
However inflammation and free radical damage promotes the early development of wrinkles. Alcohol also tends to dehydrate your skin, which can make your face look dry and rough, the AAD says.
If you can’t resist a post-dinner libation, stay within the recommended limit of no more than two drinks per day.
You might want to keep track of your mixers too. Say you are like me and fancy an exotic drink, something with an umbrella in it.
Cocktails are loaded with sweet mixers and juices. And that means get an unhealthy dose of skin-damaging sugars, too.
Booze can make you feel older. Drinking too much raises your risk of serious health problems.
Things like heart and liver disease, depression, and several types of cancer. That from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When you are prescribed medication it is in your best interest to take them. There are ways you can be more consistent with your medication.
What are your tricks to ageing well?
Drop a comment below, and let me know how you keep yourself youthful. And if you want to find out more about good habits you will want to look at this.