Aging is inevitable, but there are many external factors determined by health and lifestyle decisions you make that can age skin faster. Making unhealthy choices can cause skin to age prematurely and make you look older much faster. An important part of anti-aging is identifying the things that might be harming your skin and speeding up its aging. Below is a list of the factors that can make you look years older than you actually are:
1. Sun exposure: Too much unprotected sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles. This is actually the number one leading cause of aging. There is no such thing as a safe tan. Sunscreen must be applied generously and often to keep you protected from the sun all day. Most Americans have incurred enough damage by the age for 20 to ensure some premature aging. Sun damage is avoidable if you make sure to wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher daily.
2. Stress: Stress is one of the higher leading causes of aging. Stress not only can age the skin but can cause deterioration to every form of the body. In regards to aging, it can lead to stress bump, long term wrinkles, and slowing of cell reproduction. Try to keep your stress levels in check and find ways to release stress when you become overwhelmed.
3. Cigarette Smoke: Whether you smoke or spend time around a smoker, cigarette smoke is another leading cause of skin damage. Exposure to cigarette smoke significantly increases skin wrinkles and dryness. Some scientists even think that smoking could be as damaging as sun exposure.
4. Lack of Exercise: Living the couch potato life can contribute to aging skin. Exercise is important because it helps to tone muscles and gets the blood flowing. Not only does exercise give you physical benefits, but regular exercise can also show on your face.
5. Alcohol Use: Alcohol contributes to premature skin aging by dilating small blood vessels in the skin and increasing blood flow near the skin’s surface. These blood vessels can become permanently damaged over time.
6. Exposure to Cold Weather: Cold weather can contribute to aging skin by making it dry. Keeping your skin moisturized can help prevent your skin from wrinkling. Make sure to use a moisturizer indoors as well. Heated rooms can also cause dry skin.
7. Lack of Sleep: Too little sleep makes you look and feel tired. Lack of sleep can cause dark circles, bags, and sagging skin under the eyes. Most adults function best with 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep to help prevent premature aging.
8. Facial Expressions: Most of us remember our parents saying, “Stop making that face or it will freeze that way!” Well your parents were not exactly lying. Every time you move your face, the skin wrinkles a little bit. Most of the time your face bounces back and those wrinkles disappear, but after years of making the same faces wrinkles can begin to form.
9. How you Sleep: This one is a bit strange, but most of us tend to sleep in the same position each night. Too much of this could cause your face to wrinkle that way. Avoid sleeping on your face and try laying on your back to slow skin aging.
10. Gravity: This one is unavoidable unless you intend to live on in space the rest of your life. There is not much we can do about this one, but accept that aging in inevitable.
Make sure to also check out the answer to this question for more tips on keeping your skin young: What foods can I eat to keep my skin looking younger? By avoiding some of the factors that can cause premature aging, you can help prevent looking older than you actually are. There is a lot you can do to look your best at any age. Taking good care of yourself and making healthy decisions each day can keep your skin looking younger longer.