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Beautiful Afro Woman Gussying up in the Bathroom

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Aging is an inevitable part of life, but humans certainly do all that they can to beat back the hands of time. From Botox to facelifts to under-eye filler, there always seems to be some new trend for looking younger. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2020, Botox became the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedure. People will go to greater (and stranger) lengths than a few injections to look youthful – let’s not forget about the snail mucus craze, in which women were putting garden snails on their skin!

Even if you have accepted that time will take its aesthetic toll, there’s no reason to rush age. You might not be booking a Botox appointment any time soon, but you probably don’t want to do anything that will make you look older, faster. That being said, you might be doing exactly that, on accident. Here are habits that make you look older than you are.

 

Smoking Cigarettes

Disobeying the no smoking sign!

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You might think a casual cigarette or two on the weekends won’t make a difference, but even rare use of nicotine products can cause premature aging. According to Mayo Clinic, the nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict and restricts oxygen flow to the skin cells, which can cause wrinkles. They also state that other chemicals in cigarettes can damage skin structure and reduce elasticity. Plus, the simple act of pursing the lips regularly around a cigarette causes fine lines around the mouth.

 

Drinking Too Much Coffee

Shot of an unrecognizable person making coffee at home

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While those cups of java might make you feel energetic and young in the moment, they won’t make you look very youthful later. According to the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, coffee lowers a hormone involved in a youthful appearance and combatting inflammation called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). In fact, to demonstrate how much DHEA and youth are associated, Mayo Clinic reports that our levels of DHEA skyrocket in our younger years and dip as we age. Coffee accelerates that decrease.

 

Not Drinking Enough Water

Copy space shot of mid adult woman sipping water from a blue drinking glass

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Your body’s top priority is to get enough water to your blood and organs. So, if you’re not drinking enough H2O, the first thing your body will do is pull it from “non-critical” organs, like your skin. That immediately dehydrates the epidermis, intensifying fine lines and increasing the appearance of wrinkles.

 

Sleep Deprivation

Sleeping beauty.

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that people perceive sleep-deprived individuals as looking older than they really are. Sleep deprivation causes a number of factors that make one look older, like dark circles and sagging eyelids. Furthermore, your body needs adequate sleep to properly repair all of its cells – including skin cells.

 

Stressing Out

A late night in a dark office

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It’s not just the frown lines and the grimacing that makes you look older when you’re stressed; your body releases actual stress hormones that make you age faster. We’ve all seen this phenomenon in the fact that presidents can look 10 years older after two years in office. Additionally, the National Library of Medicine reports that stress impacts the rate at which cells divide and die, leading to aging.

 

Using The Wrong Pillowcase

Hotel rooms

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Have you ever woken up to see deep lines across your face that weren’t there when you went to bed? It could be your pillowcase. Stiff or synthetic fabrics restrict the face from moving in a natural way at night, and leave imprints on the skin. This can even happen with a cotton pillowcase. Stick to silk pillowcases to prevent lines and wrinkles.

 

Eating A Bad Diet

Mixed Race woman eating hamburger

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A poor diet doesn’t just harm the waistline, heart health, energy levels and overall longevity – it can actually make you look older. The University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences found a link between junk food consumption and poor quality sleep, and we know bad sleep ages you. In general, your body needs a diet rich in nutrients to function well and repair cells, and a highly-processed diet doesn’t offer those nutrients.

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