7 surprising things that age you

We all know smoking and too much sun can age our skin beyond its years. But other health and lifestyle habits have an ageing effect too.

Sugar, Sugar

Sugar damages skin’s natural elasticity and plumpness.

A Dutch study asked people to guess the age of strangers – and those with higher blood sugar levels were judged months or years older than they really were.

“Sugar and refined, high-glycaemic starches convert rapidly to sugar in the bloodstream and are highly pro-inflammatory and toxic,” says Dr Nicholas Perricone, author of The Wrinkle Cure.

“They promote a process that yields harmful chemicals that degrade the collagen in our skin, resulting in deep wrinkles. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too.”

Heating your home

Heating and air conditioning dry out skin and can contribute to fine lines, wrinkles and papery skin.

The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, suffers most.

So only switch on the heating and air con when you really need it.

Keep skin hydrated by using gentle cleansers instead of soap, moisturising after a bath or shower, and drinking plenty of water.

Taking a seat

Standing up and moving can slow down ageing, say US researchers.

They have found women who exercise for less than 40 minutes and are sedentary for more than 10 hours a day have “older” cells.

Being physically inactive aged women by around eight years.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age does not always match biological age,” says Dr Aladdin Shadyab at the University of California-San Diego.

ageing skin

Winding down the window

Nearly 53 per cent of skin cancers are on the driver’s side of the body, according to one study.

So apply sun screen when driving and if you have a sunroof or convertible, wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen on face, neck, ears and arms

Your nightcap

Drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate skin and dilate blood vessels, leading to red, spider veins.

Rosacea, a reddish skin inflammation, and puffiness are also more common in people who drink excessively.

So cut back on your nightcap and follow drinking guidelines.

Your cooking

Do you grill, fry or roast your food?

These cooking methods create higher levels of advanced glycation end products – molecules in the body linked to premature skin ageing,.

So reduce the risk of wrinkles by boiling and steaming more.

Your job

Work-related stress harms DNA, fast tracking ageing.

Stress shortens telomeres – the protective caps at the ends of our chromosomes – and this leaves our cells open to damage and faster ageing.

So find a way to reduce stress that works for you.

Want to keep your youthful shine? Read more about what you can do each decade to look after your skin, skin no-nos you should stop doing right now and foods that will have you glowing from the inside

And here’s some skincare inspiration from Jesinta Franklin:

Written by Sarah Marinos