10 HABITS THAT ARE MAKING YOU LOOK OLDER

With every year that goes by, it’s understood that, at some point, we’ll begin to age. And, shock, some things are making you look older. While a good anti-ageing routine can ensure that you look 10 years younger at 50, but no matter how much dolla you spend, you’re still going to visually age. Tax, wrinkles, death etc.

But the good news is that you have far more control over this than you might think. While it’s going to take a lot more than just updating your daily skincare regime, you’ll thank yourself in a decade’s time. To help you get started, we sat down with Dr Aimee Paik, a board-certified dermatologist for Hims & Hers, and Dr Theodora Mantzourani, an expert in anti-ageing medicine and founder of Precision Skin, to share some habits that are making you look so much older than you actually are.

Habits that are making you look older

#1: You’re in the sun too much

The sun can be a pretty rare sight especially if you live in the UK, and while you might be tempted to lie out in it for the entire day, you need to remember that you can have too much of a good thing. That scary ball of gas in the sky causes the majority of skin changes that people associate with ageing, so if you’re not doing it already, make sure you slather on the SPF.

“You should be applying sunscreen every morning to protect your skin from everyday UV rays,” says Paik. “Reapplication throughout the day is important for sun-intense activities such as hiking, swimming, or a day outdoors, and you might want to avoid the sun at its highest intensity, which is usually between 11pm and 3am.”

#2: You’re sleep deprived

It’s tough, but you need to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. If not, you’re causing unnecessary stress to your body, and as you’ll see later in this list, stress should be avoided if you want to look your best and brightest.

“We all live very busy lives, but sleep is essential if you want to look as young as possible,” says Mantzourani. “Going to bed late or getting less than 7 hours per night can lead to a decline in melatonin, which is produced naturally in skin cells during sleep to protect them from external stressors and oxidative stress.”

#3: You’re vitamin D deficient

According to this 2018 paper by Sidra Medicine (and thousands of other scientific studies out there), a lack in vitamin D can increase your risk of skin cancers and other inflammatory skin conditions. Not only can a simple vitamin D supplement boost your mood, it can also give you a better complexion.

“The solution isn’t necessarily to run out in the sun,” says Paik. “Vitamin D production by the skin is always created at its own expense. The same UV rays that stimulate production also cause skin cancer. A daily supplement is a much safer way of obtaining vitamin D.”

#4: You’re not using moisturiser

If you ask anyone what the most essential part of any skincare routine is, we’re positive that they’ll bring up moisturising. Doing this every single day can reduce the chance of developing extreme dryness or extreme oiliness. Both of these are harmful for the skin and can cause you to age at a much faster rate.

“This is the most baseline, entry-level form of skincare, and you need to be doing it at least twice daily,” says Paik. “Moisturiser traps moisture inside your skin, keeping it firm, supple, and soft all day.”

#5: You’re not changing up your skincare routine

Getting together a solid skincare routine is obviously pretty important, but you need to make sure you keep updating it and switching things up depending on the season. As with most things in life, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Your skincare routine needs to be climate and season-conscious to be as efficient as possible,” says Mantzourani. “For example, pigmentation and wrinkles reduce in winter, but the need for moisture and skin barrier protection increases, so your routine needs to adapt to these changes.”

#6: You’re not active enough

We’ve already discussed getting enough sleep, but you need to get enough exercise too. Regular exercise will boost circulation around your body, and in turn, supercharge nutrient delivery to your cells. Not only does this improve hair health and retention, it also ensures regular cellular turnover across the surface of your skin, giving you the best complexion possible.

“During exercise, oxygen and nutrient-rich blood is delivered to skin cells for energy production, while sweating flushes out toxins from the pores, thus regulating sebum and skin pH,” says Mantzourani. “As well as that, strong, firm muscle tone from exercising provides support for the skin, making it look younger and more lifted.”

#7: You’re eating the wrong kinds of food

So you’re getting enough exercise in, but you also need to make sure that you’re eating all the right stuff as well. While the phrase “you are what you eat” sounded like a bunch of BS when you were a little kid, when you really think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.

“Regularly eating sugar and meat can negatively impact your skin by disrupting the skin microbiome,” says Mantzourani. “Conversely, whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can result in younger-looking skin. You should also think about introducing “functional foods” to your diet. These provide benefits beyond basic nutrition due to their active substances. For anti-ageing, I would recommend mangos, almonds, and avocados.”

#8: You’re smoking and drinking too much

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but according to research like a 2008 paper by the University of Messina, there’s a strong link between smoking and ageing. Not only does it induce the exact cellular changes that UV rays do, it can also leave your skin with a greyish tinge. Nice! In fact, it’s estimated that smoking 30 cigs a day could make your skin age an extra 14 years by the time you hit 70.

#9: You’re not drinking enough (water)

While we’re on the topic of drinking too much wine, not drinking enough water is also a huge reason why you’re looking so much older these days. The NHS recommends that people should aim to drink six to eight cups of fluid a day. Not only does this bring nutrients to cells, it also gets rid of waste, protects joints and organs, and leaves your skin feeling nice and hydrated.

“You’ve got to stay hydrated in order to keep your entire body up to par,” says Paik. “But on a superficial level, you’ve also got to stay hydrated in order to keep your skin clear, firm, bright, and smooth.”

#10: You’re too stressed

Stress can come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s from your high-pressure job, a quarrel with a loved one, or a one-off bout, any stress can have a lasting impact. Not only can it make your hairline disappear at record speeds, it can also lead to wrinkles across your brow, crow’s feet, duller skin, and rougher texture.

“Sometimes it’s hard not to stress about certain things, but it’s vital that you try and minimise it as much as possible,” says Mantzourani. “Cortisol spikes can induce several types of skin damage, from breakouts to collagen breakdowns to sagging skin. Exercise can help maintain cortisol levels, but things like meditation, therapy, and yoga can also prove beneficial.”