It might not be possible to stop the forward march of time but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to slow it down a little bit. Especially as it marches across our face and body.
We all know that going outside without sunscreen, eating overly-processed foods, and unhealthy habits like smoking can make us look – and feel – older. But there a number of surprising, everyday activities that may also accelerate the clock when it comes to looking and feeling old before your time.
Check out these 11 common habits that can put years on your face.
1. Using a Straw
If you hate putting your lips to a glass in a restaurant, you may need to consider which is worse: unknown germs or extra wrinkles.
People who constantly pucker, thanks to using straws or drinking from bottles, can develop the same small lines around the mouth that you usually see on smokers.
There’s a reason grandma was always telling you to stand up straight. Whether it’s sitting at your desk or lounging on the couch, poor posture will age you. Slouching and constantly staring down at a screen adds to neck, shoulder, and back problems that can slow you down and limit range of motion.
3. Watching Your Favorite Show
As if we needed one more reason to feel guilty about tuning in to our current TV obsession. Research suggests that too much TV can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And a report from the University of Queensland determined that you shave 22 minutes off your life expectancy for every hour you tune in.
4. Overzealous Cleansing
Washing your face is the right thing to do. But, depending on how you’re doing it, you may actually be causing more harm than good. Scrubbing too roughly, using drying soaps, or even using a downward motion are all known to add to inflammation and bring on extra wrinkles.
5. Central Air
It’s great to be able to escape the summer swelter in a nice, air conditioned office. But all that forced air is drying out your skin. Dry skin is more susceptible to signs of aging and can add years to your face.
6. Using the Dishwasher
Convenience and ease are the enemy of a youthful glow. It turns out that by skipping what used to be regular chores, like washing the dishes by hand, we’re missing out on physical activity that used to be built in to our lives. Chances are our grandparents didn’t worry about working out at all because their daily lives had plenty of “workouts” naturally included.
As if a runny nose and itchy eyes weren’t bad enough. Pet allergies and hay fever can actually contribute to wrinkles and age spots. Allergies cause inflammation of the membranes in your eyes, which leads to itching and swelling that can cause dark spots and extra wrinkles.
8. Skipping the Farmer’s Market
Our bodies crave different types of food at different times of year. This isn’t just because chili makes more sense in the fall; it’s because our bodies have evolved to crave the types of nutrients that help them perform at the optimum level for the current time of year.
Easy access to all kinds of produce – whether in season or not – makes us more likely to eat the same, old favorites year-round. By skipping seasonal fruits and veggies we miss out on a huge selection of diverse nutrients our body needs, especially antioxidants, which are the superheroes of anti-aging.
9. Virtual Reality
Email, instant messaging, and social media updates are great ways to stay in touch with family and friends, but when virtual interaction takes the place of face-to-face interaction, your health suffers.
Connecting with people in person augments emotional, physical, and mental health. People who isolate themselves in cyberspace can experience premature problems with their cardiovascular and immune systems.
10. Sleeping In
Not getting enough sleep definitely makes you look and feel older. But sleeping too much can have the same effect. People who spend too much time under the covers may actually be shortening their lives.
As we age this becomes even more important because lack of movement slows the healing process.
11. Rocking Out
Jamming to your favorite tunes is a great stress reliever. But if you’re blasting your ears through regular headphone use, you might be causing damage. Loss of hearing is a key indicator that you’re heading over the hill, but too much loud music can push you over the top before your time.
We may not be able to stop Father Time, but we don’t need to do his job for him. Pay attention to these seemingly harmless habits that may be adding years to your face and stealing years from your body.