Getting older is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that we should speed up the process. There are so many things that we constantly do without thinking about how it affects our appearance. Some days can become busy and we grow tired so we throw caution to the wind and give into these habits that don’t do us any favours. We really don’t want one more thing to be worrying about. If you want to stay looking your best, you need to put in the work.
Many times people think that it all comes down to their genes. You may think you look younger or older than you are because it just runs in the family. This isn’t entirely true. Your genetics along with your lifestyle is what makes you look the way you do. It’s never too early or too late to start your self care journey. The only thing that matters is that you put in some kind of effort.
You’re probably wondering what are some habits you have that might be aging you. Let me tell you that it can be the simplest of things that you do on a regular basis. Here are ten habits that might be aging you:
1. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
I’ve heard many times that there are certain benefits to drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. However, drinking one too many glasses can take a toll on your well being. Excessive alcohol consumption interferes with the body’s ability to produce collagen. This is a protein that keeps your skin bouncy and firm. Without collagen your skin is prone to wrinkling and sagging. Alcohol consumption also leads to dehydration which causes your skin to become dry and sallow. Think about this. If you’ve ever gotten so drunk to the point of being sick, how did you feel after staying up all night bent over the toilet bowl just throwing up all your insides? Not only are you dehydrated and can’t even stomach water, but even the faintest smell of food makes you want to vomit and on top of all that, you didn’t even get any sleep. Yeah… you better believe you look exactly the way you feel.
Do I even need to go on about this? There are countless advertisements telling you not to smoke or to quit smoking. Nowadays I’ve even seen cigarette packages come with anti-smoking messages! However, some people seem to have not paid much mind to just how harmful this is to their bodies. Cigarettes are laced with chemicals. The nicotine narrows blood vessels which reduces blood flow, depriving the skin of oxygen and this results in wrinkles. Exposure to tar stains teeth, giving them that yellowish colour and it also causes gums and lips to darken. Due to all the puckering and pursing of the lips, you develop “smoker lips” which is essentially a ring of wrinkles encircling your mouth.
Apart from the damages you can see with the naked eye, there are also internal damages to the heart, lungs and your vocal chords, which you can most likely hear. Excessive smoking irritates the vocal chords and makes them become dry and inflamed. You don’t want to be a 23 year old woman with the voice of a 62 year old man, do you?
3. Sweet Tooth Susie
Listen. I know how you feel. I’m not even much of a sweet tooth, but every now and then I have the urge to get a whole birthday cake with lots of frosting and eat it alone… Never actually gone through with this plan. I don’t think I ever will and neither should you. The body naturally absorbs sugar and converts it into energy. However, when you consume foods that contain high levels of sugar, your body takes what it needs and leaves what it doesn’t. When there’s an excessive amount of sugar left over, this can provoke a chemical reaction known as glycation. This is when sugar molecules bond to protein molecules and renders it less efficient. In this case the sugar molecules adhere to collagen molecules and it won’t perform well enough to keep the skin supple.
4. Drinking Too Much Coffee
All you coffee lovers out there please don’t come for my head! A little cuppa coffee to start your day is okay. The issue arises when you find yourself refilling your cup all day long. Coffee is known to have diuretic properties. This causes you to have to urinate more frequently throughout the day. The inability to retain water can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, you can work on cutting down your caffeine intake or be sure that your water intake surpasses your coffee intake. When you become dehydrated your skin gets dry and cracked making you appear older. Too much coffee stains teeth and I don’t think any of us can rock yellow teeth. Also, some people say that coffee makes them unable to fall asleep. If you find yourself to be one of these people you should probably stay away from caffeine before bed. Your body needs adequate sleep in order to rejuvenate.
5. Sleeping On Your Belly
I think many if not all of us would agree that sleeping on your belly is the most comfortable sleeping position ever! It gets one point for being comfy. A point for being beneficial? Er… I don’t think so. Think about it. Your face is squashed against a pillow for hours. Take a pillow (or even the palm of your hand) and press it against your face. The parts of the face that get most affected are the eye area, where many people develop crow’s feet, and the mouth area. Also, have you ever woken up and looked in the mirror just to see lines impressed on your cheek from where your pillowcase was all scrunched up? That screams wrinkles!
6. Too Much Screen Time
Whether it’s your TV, laptop, tablet or even your smartphone, too much screen time visibly makes you age. You might catch yourself squinting at your screen every now and then. Guess what, cupcake. This causes wrinkles around your eye area. If you furrow your brows you might end up with the “eleven” wrinkles. This refers to the two vertical lines that appear between your eyebrows. Looking down at your tablet, laptop or smartphone for prolonged periods of time can eventually cause lines and wrinkles around your neck.
Apart from these wrinkles that are caused by squinting and bending, studies have shown that blue-violet light emitted from these screens causes hyperpigmentation and age spots in the skin. You can read about it HERE.
7. Skipping the Sunscreen
Instead of skipping the sunscreen, you should consider slathering it on. I know you might hate the feeling or scent of it. I do too. However, prolonged UV ray exposure damages collagen and elastin which are the proteins that keep skin firm and supple. The skin cells themselves are damaged too. This can result in various skin cancers, one of them being melanoma, which can turn out to be fatal.
8. Packing on the Powder
As a person with oily skin, I understand people’s obsession with powder products. It might seem like a good idea to pack on a bunch of powder products to try to combat the oils, but this won’t work. Your skin will just release more and more oils and you will just apply more and more powder. You’ll end up with super cakey make up that will crease and settle into your fine lines, making them more prominent.
If you have dry skin, you should definitely avoid overdoing the powders. Instead of blending into the skin it will cling onto it, creating an uneven complexion. Your face will not only look blotchy but it will also appear dull and one dimensional. If you use powder, do so with a light hand and finish off with a dewy or hydrating setting spray to bring back a youthful glow.
9. Skipping the Primer
Just like how sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the rays of the sun, primer acts as a barrier between your skin and make up. Primers are generally meant to even out the texture of the skin. It fills out any unevenness so that your make up can glide on smoother. It prevents product from settling into any wrinkles or fine lines that you might have. Of course, there are oil controlling, hydrating and pore reducing primers, but the one you use depends on your needs. Primers also aid in blocking make up and environmental impurities from accumulating in your pores that would make them appear larger.
10. Missing Out On Moisturizer
As you get older, the skin is more likely to become a bit dryer. Oily people might think they can miss out on this. Not so fast! You might have an oily scalp and an oily face but think about other parts of your body. Frequent handwashing can dry out your hands. Elbows are prone to dryness in most people and so are the knees. Oh! We cant forget about the feet and most certainly not the neck either. So you see, we can all benefit from a little bit of extra moisture. You just need to find the correct one for you and your needs. Nothing radiates youth like glowing dewy skin.
When you look better, you feel better. Changing your lifestyle and getting rid of these old habits isn’t just about vanity. You are making a change that benefits you both inside and out. After all, nothing makes you look better than being healthy! Don’t feel bad if you can’t seem to change overnight. It should be gradual. It should be natural and not feel like a task all the time. Take it at your own pace and seek professional help if you feel the need.