Your habits and lifestyle have a lot of influence over how long you’re going to live. This goes beyond smoking and alcohol, though. Your sleep quality, sex life, and even how often you wash your hands can determine how young — or old — you look from the outside in. Ditch these bad habits to look and feel younger ASAP.
1. You’re wearing too much makeup
Piling on the makeup can bring out creases and fine lines. | Michelle Patrick PhotographyLLC/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Using makeup to look younger? Just don’t overdo it. The wrong products can suffocate and dry out your skin, especially if you’re painting it on. According to Health.com, not washing off your makeup before going to bed is even worse for your skin. Clogged, irritated pores will ruin your complexion, especially if you keep up the habit night after night. Less is more — but that doesn’t mean you can get away with leaving it on while you sleep.
Next: How many hours a day do you spend sitting?
2. You spend your days sitting (a lot)
Take a short walk after that two-hour meeting. | Jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Sitting too much puts you in danger of heart trouble, but that’s just one of many negative side effects. A sedentary lifestyle also ages you, especially when you’re approaching 65. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that women between the ages of 64 and 95 had cells biologically eight years older if they spent more than 10 hours a day sitting and didn’t exercise for at least 30 minutes.
Next: Don’t miss out on the benefits of this crucial activity.
3. Your sex life is struggling
There’s a very specific reason why you’re missing “that” glow. | Dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Regular sexual activity can make you look up to seven years younger, clinical psychologist David Weeks told The Telegraph. Sex releases endorphins, mood-boosting chemicals that can also improve your sleep and help relieve stress. Plus, sex is its own pleasurable form of exercise, improving blood circulation and making your skin look healthier.
Next: Not getting enough of this every day can have serious consequences.
4. You’re in a tough relationship with your bed
Rest up — your future self depends on it. | Demaerre/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Losing sleep increases your disease risk — it also makes you look older. Research shows those who don’t sleep enough tend to show signs of aging skin, says skin care specialist Annmarie Gianni. Uneven pigmentation, reduced elasticity, and wrinkles aren’t as easy to spot when you let your skin heal while you sleep. Allow yourself at least seven hours of sleep per night to keep your skin young.
Next: Do you have a sweet tooth you just can’t ignore? It’s worse for you than you thought.
5. You’re on a never-ending sugar high
Feeling sluggish? Blame your sweet tooth. | iStock.com
Your relationship with candy bars isn’t just bad for your waistline. Too much sugar can also distort your appearance, making you look older than you actually are. According to research, people with chronically high blood sugar actually look physically older compared to those who maintain normal blood sugar levels. Since a diet high in added sugars can destroy your energy, you’ll probably also feel older, too.
Next: Listen to your mom’s advice.
6. You’re not eating your fruits and vegetables like mom told you to
Keep your fridge loaded with the good stuff. | olesiabilkei/iStocks/Getty Images
If too much sugar is bad, and produce has sugar in it, shouldn’t you eat less? Fruits and vegetables are high in carbs, but they’re also very nutritious. Many provide nutrients you can’t get anywhere else — nutrients your body needs to fight against disease, oxidative stress, and aging. The Nutrition Source suggests storing fruits and veggies where you can see them, such as in a bowl on your kitchen counter. You’re more likely to reach for produce if it’s easily accessible.
Next: When was the last time you had coffee with a friend?
7. You’re spending too much time alone
The company of others will brighten your day and improve your health. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images
Some quality alone time every now and then isn’t so bad. But spending most of your time by yourself can hurt you psychologically. Mental and physical health share a close link, says the Mental Health Foundation. Conditions like depression can make self-care extremely challenging — often putting healthy eating, exercise, and even hygiene on hold. Maintaining even a small circle of friends decreases your risk for disease and can even extend your life, according to Seniorly. Even one-on-one get-togethers count!
Next: Doing this too much can damage your skin.
8. You’re a little too hygienic
Constantly scrubbing your hands can age them. | Robert Przybysz/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Washing your hands is important — no argument there. But the same way you can eat too much healthy food or drink too much water, it’s possible to take your hand-washing too far. Constantly scrubbing your hands throughout the day can result in dry, wrinkled, and even cracked skin, explains Daily Express. Make sure to moisturize after you wash your hands to keep them hydrated, especially in cold weather.
Next: Don’t let the sun ruin your complexion.
9. You’re a stranger to sunscreen
As if you needed another reason to apply sunscreen everyday. | Fizkes/iStock/Getty Images
Your skin always needs protection from the sun — not just on your occasional beach trip. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, those who use sunscreen up to four times per week are less likely to display signs of aging after nearly five years than those who apply sunscreen less frequently. Use sunscreen — or makeup or moisturizer that provides sun protection — on a daily basis to shield your face, neck, arms, and hands from direct sunshine.
Next: Are you on a diet — again?
10. You’re a frequent crash-dieter
Crash diets are stressful … and your body feels it. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Are you always on the hunt for the next quick-fix diet? Unfortunately, many fad diets don’t provide the nutrition necessary to keep your skin looking young, says the Miami Herald. Unintentionally limiting your intake of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential vitamins and minerals isn’t good for your overall health, either. Make sure you’re eating enough of these foods every day to slow aging and keep your body healthy.
Next: Is it possible to do this one thing too much?
11. You’re not exercising enough — or you’re overdoing it
Exercise is fun … but don’t overwork yourself. | Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images
If you don’t exercise, you’re more likely to gain weight and suffer higher levels of stress. Going to the other extreme isn’t any better, though. According to Prevention, rest days — or resting one muscle group while working out another — are important for healing. Pushing your body too hard increases your risk of inflammation and reduced immunity, which can totally wreck your body and appearance. Vary your workouts, and take it easy every few days by either lowering the intensity or taking the day off.
Next: This is why stress is so harmful.
12. You’re too stressed
Stress causes headaches … and wrinkles. | SIphotography/iStocks/Getty Images
Life is stressful — and it shows. The HuffPost says chronic stress can make you look years older than your current age. Blame your stress hormones, which can damage your body’s cells and change your appearance (and not in a good way!). Take steps to reduce your stress levels and keep your cells in good shape. Even a simple walk around the block can make a big difference.
Next: Is multitasking hurting your health?
13. You refuse to stop multitasking
Multitasking does more harm than good. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Talking on the phone while also cleaning the house — while you’re also trying to pay attention to the news — doesn’t work. It not only makes you incapable of focusing, but also stresses you out. According to Express, trying to juggle multiple tasks triggers your brain to release more stress hormones than usual. A little stress is a good thing, but too much can seriously age you. Besides, your ability to multitask gets worse as you get older — which means you’re never going to master it, no matter how hard you try.
Next: Make sure you’re sitting up straight.
14. Your posture is atrocious
Slouching can have serious side effects. | Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Are you sitting up straight right now? If not, it’s time to correct your posture. According to Prevention, slouching while sitting actually makes you look heavier. It also interferes with circulation and increases stress, both of which can make you look older. Try these core exercises to strengthen your posture — and get a good workout in while you’re at it.
Next: Don’t hold on to your anger for too long.
15. You’re holding on to too many grudges
It’s time to let some of those old grudges go. | Antonio Guillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Holding onto resentment toward someone who has wronged you is bad for your health, research suggests. Remember those stress hormones, damaging your cells in response to your fight-or-flight response? They do the same thing when you carry around feelings of anger and frustration for too long, Men’s Health says. Letting go of your grudges can help prevent aging — as long as you’re taking good care of yourself, socializing, and remembering to put on sunscreen before you leave the house.
Read More: 5 Ways to Instantly Look Younger
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