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This Makes You Look 20 Years Older, Say Experts

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When it comes to getting older, most of us wouldn’t mind turning back the clock a bit. No one’s hugely eager to turn it forward. But turn it forward many of us do, every day, with common habits that cause premature aging. These are some of the worst offenders. Cut them out of your routine, and you could find yourself looking and feeling decades younger. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.


Not Wearing Sunscreen

Getting too much sun can damage the skin and cause long-term changes like photoaging,  premature aging of the skin because of sun exposure. “In photoaging, the skin develops wrinkles and fine lines because of changes in the collagen of a deep layer of the skin called the dermis,” says Harvard Medical School. Experts recommend daily use of a sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF, with a broad spectrum of protection against UVA and UVB rays—even when it’s cloudy.


Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates the skin and causes inflammation, which can cause facial flushing, swelling and broken capillaries—all of which can make you look older than you are. In a 2019 multinational study of more than 3,200 women, researchers found that those who drank more than eight drinks a week had more “upper facial lines, under-eye puffiness, oral commissures, midface volume loss, and blood vessels” than women who drank moderately or abstained. 

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Consuming Too Much Sugar

Collagen and elastin are two compounds within the skin that keep it tight, plump and youthful. One major underminer of this support system: Sugar. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Dermatology, when high levels of glucose and fructose are consumed, they link to amino acids in collagen and elastin, damaging them and inhibiting the body’s natural repair process. The result: Wrinkles and sagging skin.

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Not Getting Enough Sleep

Getting fewer Z’s than you need can show up on your face: During sleep, various body systems ranging from the brain to the skin undergo renewal and repair. According to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, women who got quality sleep experienced 30% better skin-barrier recovery than women who got poor sleep, and had “significantly lower intrinsic skin aging.” 

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Cigarette use is a shortcut to aging before your time: Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of toxins that float around the face, while smoking constricts blood vessels, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the skin. For a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers compared the facial features of 79 sets of twins; they found that those who smoked at the time, or smoked five years or more than their twin, had more undereye bags, lip wrinkles and jowls. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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