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Everyday Habits That Age Your Body, Say Experts

A few simple changes can keep you looking and feeling young.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

There's an old saying that at age 50, you have the face you deserve. While the karmic nature of that pronouncement is highly debatable, the truth is that every day, many of us do simple, seemingly harmless, easily overlooked things that can age us prematurely. By making a few simple changes, you can get closer to the face (and overall health) you want—at any age. Read on to find out what those are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.

1

Staring At Screens

Attractive girl is spending time in front of her laptop

What you're doing right this second could be aging you before your time. Scientists say that getting too much exposure to blue light (the kind emitted from phones and computer screens) may cause accelerated aging. A 2019 study published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease found that blue light could be damaging to cells in the brain and eyes. The researchers recommended getting as much natural light as possible, wearing blue light glasses to block emissions, and limiting your screen time.

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2

Not Wearing Moisturizer (And Sunscreen)

moisturizing
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If you're not applying a facial moisturizer daily, you're overlooking an effective first responder to the most visible signs of aging. "Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance," says the American Academy of Dermatology. For maximum anti-aging effect, choose a moisturizer with sunscreen, which can protect your face from photoaging caused by the sun. You'll want one that's at least 30 SPF and blocks both UV-A and UV-B light.

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3

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Disturbed woman lying awake in bed suffer from insomnia headache
iStock

If you don't snooze, you can lose that youthful glow. According to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, women who reported getting quality sleep experienced 30% better "skin-barrier recovery" and "significantly lower intrinsic skin aging" than women who were sleeping poorly. Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of quality shut-eye every night. 

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4

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

pouring wine
Shutterstock

Alcohol dehydrates the skin and causes inflammation, two hallmarks of premature aging. Booze too often, and chances are you'll see more fine lines, wrinkles, redness, and puffiness. To prevent that—and to lower your risk of cancer and heart disease—drink in moderation. That means no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.

RELATED: Simple Ways to Never Get Old, According to Science

5

Eating Too Much Sugar

woman refusing cupcakes
Shutterstock / LoveBigHomeStudio

"Findings from research studies suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging," says the AAD. It's true—sugar can actually cause wrinkles. Sugar binds to the proteins in our skin that keep it looking young, damaging them and preventing their repair. Instead, fill your meals and snacks with whole foods. "Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging," says the AAD. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael