Aging is a part of life. Much of it is the normal genetic stuff that we have no control over — stuff like decreasing collagen production and wrinkles making an appearance. This is called intrinsic aging.
On the other side is extrinsic aging. That’s the stuff we do have control over, like our environment and lifestyle choices.
Here are nine factors that speed up the aging process. There's reason to be optimistic — almost all of them fall into the extrinsic aging category:
1) Sun Exposure
Sun exposure definitely speeds up aging. The American Academy of Dermatology wrote that every time you tan — whether from the sun or tanning booth — your skin prematurely ages.
Huffington Post said that repeated sun exposure doesn’t just leave you with a tan. Think age spots, wrinkles and damage to the skin’s elastic tissue. That’s why some people end up with leathery skin.
Smoking ages people faster on the inside because it’s associated with numerous health problems. It also ages one on the outside. For instance, smokers can end up with lines around their mouth much sooner than normal aging.
EverydayHealth.com wrote that based on a study out of Milan, “smoking can activate enzymes that break down the elasticity of your skin.”
3) Lack of Sleep
During deep sleep, our skin is revitalized by “digesting dead cells and regenerating new ones,” wrote More.com. So if you go long periods of time without enough sleep, this process either isn’t taking place or isn’t effective. Your skin pays the price.
4) Excess Alcohol
When we consume alcohol, the blood vessels closest to the skin dilate, that is, they become larger. Your face can become puffy and reddish.
Over time, if you drink alcohol to excess, these larger blood vessels happen more often and become permanent. That can lead to skin being permanently discolored. One place where this is most noticeable is in the face.
5) Forgoing Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables
Not eating fruits and vegetables over time can give you wrinkles and leave your skin looking worn out. Your skin is practically begging for the nutrition that comes from produce. So say yes to fruits and veggies, and help your skin.
6) Not Eating Enough Fat
Fat in your diet is good when it comes to facial skin. We have what’s called subcutaneous fat under our skin. Whereas we don’t want too much subcutaneous fat in our belly (belly fat), it help our faces be smooth and supple.
Now imagine limiting a lot of fat in your diet for extended periods of time. The face can lose its suppleness. Our bodies already naturally lose this valuable fat as we age, wrote More.com, so why help it out?
7) Yo-Yo Dieting
Gaining and losing weight over and over and over is not good for skin. Going up and down on the scale means your skin is either shrinking or stretching.
Over time, damage is happening to the skin as it doesn’t have time to adjust to the weight gain or loss. That can cause it to lose its elasticity.
Divorce may also speed up aging. According to a 2009 facial analysis study conducted on sets of identical twins, twins who were divorced looked noticeably older — 1.7 years older — than twins who were not divorced.
9) Holding onto Grudges
Letting go of past resentments may add years to your life. Studies show that forgiveness leads to better physical, psychological and spiritual well-being — all of which can play a part in aging.
Reviewed September 6, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Ford, Allison. "10 Bad Beauty Habits That Accelerate Aging." More.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
Gates, Sara. "Aging Quickly: 7 Factors That Make People Age Faster." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
Iliades, Chris, MD. "8 Unhealthy Habits That Make You Age Faster." EverydayHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
"What Causes Our Skin to Age?" American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.