10 Unhealthy Mistakes That Make You Age Faster

You may refrain from smoking and drinking, but that doesn’t mean you’re in pristine health. The truth is, many everyday routines and activities have the ability to significantly age you inside and out, including one common sleep habit (on page 10).

1. Drinking through a straw

Starbucks To Eliminate Plastic Straws By 2020

Starbucks is eliminating plastic straws by 2020, for other reasons. | Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

The world has waged a war against drinking straws for good reason. Millions of them are hurting the environment every year. But there’s another reason to skip straws and drink from the cup. Sipping with straws may be a health hazard. At the very least, puckering your lips so frequently can cause noticeable lines and wrinkles to form around your mouth.

Next: Follow the “straight and narrow.”

2. Slouching

Man with bad posture

Sit up straight with your feet on the floor. | Source: iStock

Sitting up straight, with your shoulders back, is a strong indicator of the way you’ll age, including the level of independence you may have when you’re older. A Japanese study found “those whose spines were the most hunched forward with over three times more likely to need assistance.” Dr. Daniel Knapp, a chiropractor with 20 years of experience, explains, “Bad posture can lead to painful joints and arthritis and internal problems.”

Next: Do you run hot or cold?

3. Turning up your thermostat

Person turning up their thermostat

Pay close attention to your thermostat. | JerryB7/Getty Images

It’s nice to be toasty warm, especially in the winter. But consistent exposure to dry heat can dry out your skin, promote the formation of wrinkles, and more. Try keeping your thermostat below 70 degrees. If you still want to stay warm, consider running a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.

Next: Are you an optimist or pessimist?

4. Having a poor attitude about aging

Happy couple sailing retirement

Happy thoughts lead to happier aging. | UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

Pessimism won’t help when it comes to your golden years. The best thing you can do is cultivate optimism starting now. Research found that thinking positively about the aging process actually helps contribute to healthier brain aging. Don’t mope around complaining about crow’s feet; reframe your thinking with gratitude.

Next: Patience is a virtue, unfortunately.

5. You crash diet

person holding a pad of paper for their diet plan

Crash dieting could be why you look older than you are. | iStock.com

Don’t ride the diet rollercoaster. If you’re always jumping from diet to diet in hopes of being slimmer, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Consistency is key concerning healthy food choices. According to the Miami Herald, fad-eating plans often rob us of essential fats, which our skin needs to help retain moisture. So if you want to glow from the inside out, then avoid the crash diets.

Next: Don’t go overboard in the bathroom.

6. You wash your hands and face too much

Washing your hands can age the skin

Washing your hands can age the skin. | iStock.com

Overwashing strips the skin and ages you much faster. When it comes to your face, use a gentle cleanser without added fragrance (this goes for all skin types). While those prone to acne often reach for the products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to keep their skin issues at bay, these ingredients strip the skin and cause severe dryness and irritation that leads to wrinkles and a dull look. And don’t forget to moisturize!

Next: This habit will age your body and mind.

7. You’re a chronic multitasker

Group of colleagues working together

Focus on one project at a time. | iStock.com

Accomplishing tasks one at a time seems counterproductive. But according to HealthDay, multitasking is a recipe for a stress-filled life that will leave you looking weary and aged. The story notes, “Whenever demands exceed abilities, stress is bound to follow.”

Next: Chairs are really what’s aging you.

8. You spend most of your day sitting

Business Team Busy Working and Talking

Get up and move every once in a while. | iStock.com/Rawpixel

For eight hours a day, a large portion of the population sits at their desks, then they sit in their cars, and then they plop down on the couch to watch TV each night. A recent study found women between the ages of 64 and 95 who spent more than 10 hours a day sitting and didn’t combat the sedentary habit with at least 30 minutes of exercise daily had cells that were biologically eight years older than those of more active women.

Next: You need more than sunglasses to stop aging.

9. You only use sunscreen at the beach

Woman wearing hat applying sunscreen

Wear sunscreen all year round. | iStock.com/LiudmylaSupynska

Sunscreen doesn’t just protect you from burns; it helps keep your skin looking young and fresh, too. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found participants who used sunscreen daily at least three to four times per week were less likely to see signs of aging after four and a half years of usage than the group who only applied sunscreen from time to time. (Participants who applied sunscreen daily used SPF 15 or higher for their head, neck, arms, and hands.)

Don’t just pull out your sunscreen for the beach; apply a moisturizer that contains sun protection daily to keep your skin looking young.

Next: This common sleep habit will make you look 10 years older.

10. You aren’t sleeping enough

Man sleeping in his bed

Sleep is essential for looking younger. | iStock.com/tommaso79

You may think you’re fine with five hours of snoozing, but sleeping too little can do serious damage to your skin, which ages your significantly. According to skin care specialist Annmarie Gianni’s blog, studies show those who don’t get quality sleep each night had increased signs of skin aging, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced elasticity. Additionally, not getting enough sleep contributes to diseases later on.

Next: How’s your life in the bedroom?

11. Your sex life is lacking

couple cuddling together in bed

A lackluster sex life could be making you look older. | iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio

Another reason to hop into bed with your significant other: Sex has anti-aging benefits. Dr. David Weeks, a clinical psychologist, tells The Telegraph having sex regularly can make both you and your partner look five to seven years younger. Why? Sex releases endorphins that reduce stress levels, help you sleep better, boost circulation, and help your skin look younger.

Sex can also boost immunity, reduce cancer risk, and benefit your blood pressure. Not only will you look younger, but you’ll feel more energized, too.

Next: Dull skin isn’t so sweet.

12. You eat too much sugar

Chocolate Mousse Dessert

You should cut back on the sugar for your health and appearance. | iStock.com

Sugary drinks and store-bought cookies will wreak havoc on your skin and looks. Consuming too much processed, sugary food. According to research published in 2013, people with the highest blood sugar levels look older. The study involved more than 600 men and women who had no knowledge of where they fell on the spectrum. A board was asked to guess the age of participants without knowing anything about them, and those who had the highest blood sugar were thought to be older.

Next: Another reason to get a massage or practice yoga

13. You’re always stressed

Man taking a deep breathe

Do some deep breathing and meditation to lower stress levels. | iStock.com

If you’re constantly thinking about groceries, laundry, and work deadlines, then it’s time to relax. Not only can chronic stress increase your risk for heart disease, but it can also make you look 10 years older. When you’re anxious, your body releases stress chemicals, which will slowly age your body, says The HuffPost. If your job is stressing you out, then consider practicing meditation and doing mini desk workouts.

Next: Don’t let your physique go up in flames.

14. You’re exercising too little — or too much

group of friends or sportsmen exercising

Get the proper amount of physical activity. | iStock.com/dolgachov

A lack of exercise is linked to higher stress levels and weight gain (both make us look older). You should also make sure you’re not overdoing it. John Higgins, M.D., tells Prevention you need to give your body enough time between workouts to heal appropriately. If you refuse to take a rest day, you could trigger an inflammatory response that affects your immune system and impacts your sleep.

Next: Put the motion in your lotion.

15. Not using moisturizer

Applying lotion on hands

Without enough moisture, your hands and neck show signs of aging quickly. | OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

Some people, especially men, prefer not to use lotions or serums regularly. But researching and utilizing the right products for your skin will keep it looking healthier all year. Here are some of the best inexpensive moisturizers you can buy at your local drugstore.