8 Everyday Habits That Are Making You Look Older

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We spend a lot of time and money trying to fight off aging, don’t we? It’s inevitable, we’re all going to get older. We can’t stop time from marching across our face. But I’ll be damned if I just sit back and accept it! I spend a nice chunk of time and money on my skincare routine, and for me, it’s a form of self-care. I can’t control a lot of aspects of my life, but I can control my skin. So imagine my horror when I learned that I may be shooting myself in the foot on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter how much time or money you spend on skincare, if you’re sabotaging those efforts everyday. These everyday habits that make you look older can reverse all your hard work, so take heed.

1. Everyday habits that make you look older can be obvious, like smoking. But they can also be sneaky, like rubbing your damn eyes.

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The skin around your eyes is very delicate, so constant rubbing and pulling can cause discoloration. You know what that means? Dark circles and redness. If you’re tired of layering your under-eye concealer just so you look vaguely alive, try to stop rubbing your eyes.

2. You don’t wear sunscreen on a regular basis.

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Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach or pool days! You should be wearing it EVERY DAMN DAY. Sunny days, rainy days, overcast days, doesn’t matter. Wear it every time you go outside. Most daily moisturizers have sunscreen in them, and a lot of makeups do, too. Sun damage is the number one cause of premature aging, so block those ultraviolet rays at every turn.

3. Some everyday habits that make you look older are completely weird and random, like drinking all your beverages through a straw.

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Every time you take a sip through a straw, you pucker your mouth up. This can cause small wrinkles to form around your mouth. Now, I imagine this is a problem if you drink literally everything out of a straw, which would be odd. But just to be on the safe side, skip the straw and drink out of a glass whenever possible.

4. But some everyday habits that make you look older are obvious, like not getting enough sleep.

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I can always tell when I haven’t gotten enough sleep based on the amount of under-eye concealer I have to use in the morning. One layer: a solid 8 hours! Two layers: probably should have gone to bed after one episode of Terrace House. Three layers? Probably don’t let me drive a car because it would be dangerous at that point. Lack of sleep causes dark circles and can make your skin just look … meh (skin goes into a renewal state at night, and needs that time to repair itself!). It’s easier said than done, I know, but try to get at least 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night.

5. This one is a little surprising: you’re too skinny!

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Losing weight can cause you to lose facial fat, which can lead to sagging and a gaunt appearance. Losing and then gaining and then losing weight can also make you look older; yo-yo dieting stretches out your skin and makes it appear looser. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight, not just for your healthy, but for your skin.

6. And because we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t: too much sugar might be aging you.

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According to Susan Stuart, MD, a San Diego, Calif. board-certified dermatologist, too much sugar can have a damaging effect on your face. Dr. Stuart says, “Internally, sugar molecules attach themselves to protein fibers in each of our cells”, which can lead to dark circles, puffiness, loss of tone, and loss of radiance. Keep your youthful glow and pass on that sugary treat.

7. Some everyday habits that make you look older are likely out of your control, like stress.

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Stress causes your body to release stress hormones like cortisol, which can lead to premature aging. Which, if I’m being honest, is rude as hell. Sometimes you can’t NOT stress, you know what I mean? Life is stressful! Chronic stress and anxiety can also lead to frown lines and that damn canyon between your brows. Try to take a little time each day to decompress if you can.

8. You crank up the thermostat as soon as the temps drop below 70 (it me).

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I am super sensitive to the cold, so as soon as it starts hitting like 68 at night, I turn on the heater. I’m the worst, I know. But my penchant for a hot house is apparently fucking with my face, so I should stop doing that. Turning on the heat sucks the moisture right out of the air, which can lead to dry, inflamed skin. I guess I’ll invest in some hoodies and keep the thermostat at 72 .. ish.

These everyday habits that make you look older may surprise you, but the good news is, they’re easy fixes! If you’re going to spend money on good skincare, you might as well try to keep yourself from sabotaging your efforts.

(Image: iStock / Youngoldman)