Nobody can stop the hands of time from moving forward. However, there are things you can do to encourage premature aging, making you look and feel older than your actual age. Luckily, many of these bad health habits can be corrected, and effectively, undo the damage in no time at all. Read on for six habits that make you look older and what you can do to reverse them—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Failing to Take Care of Your Skin
Failing to take care of your skin is an easy way to look much older than your age, says Nazanin Saedi, MD, FAAD, a Philadelphia area dermatologist, who suggests using a retinoid every night!. "Retinoids are great for a variety of conditions. They help with acne, discoloration, wrinkles, and sun damage to list a few." The miraculous skincare treatment works by increasing cell turnover in the skin. "After 6-8 weeks, you will start to see a difference. After regular, continuous use, you will look younger!" she says.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
As you age, sleep patterns change and getting a good night sleep becomes increasingly more difficult, according to the National Institutes of Health. Not only can lack of sleep increase your chances of getting into a car accident, falling, or cause confusion or other mental changes, but it can almost immediately age you by a decade. The NIH offers a bunch of sleep solutions on their website, which include taking sleep medication in the short term or avoiding stimulants such as caffeine before bed.
There are so many benefits of regular exercise, ranging from physical to mental health, per the NIH. "Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses," they say. Inactivity will also make your body age faster. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that a sedentary lifestyle literally speeds up biological aging. Researchers found that women who exercised for under 40 minutes and were sedentary for more than 10 hours per day had biologically "older" cells than women who were more active and exercised more.
Eating the Wrong Foods
Proper diet is a key component of healthy aging, per the NIH. They suggest eating foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, and low fat milk and cheese. They also suggest avoiding empty calories (processed carbohydrates, soda, alcohol) and choosing foods low in cholesterol and fat.
Not Wearing Sunscreen
An easy way to age your skin fast is neglecting to wear sunscreen. A 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that regularly slathering SPF on your skin protects against photoaging—including wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation.
Loneliness can make you look and feel older. A 2019 study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, found that older adults who interacted with people outside of their close friends and family circle were more physically active, exhibited greater positivity and fewer negative feelings than those who isolated more. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss The #1 Cause of "Deadly" Cancer.