While genetics have a role to play in how we age, one thing is clear: If you smoke, skip sunscreen, or continuously survive on not-enough sleep, odds are you’ll look older than your same-aged friend who guzzles water, eats avocado and watches her sugar intake.
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A few small changes can have a big impact on your health and appearance, so use this list when you’re looking for 10 easy lifestyle changes that will make you look instantly younger.
1. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
You’ve probably heard it all before, but it’s true: wearing sunscreen daily will not only help you ward off skin cancer, but it will also help you look younger. One study found that people who religiously put on sunscreen 3 to 4 days a week suffered less skin damage 4.5 years later than those who just put on sunscreen whenever they felt like it. Keep those wrinkles and fine lines at bay; wear sunscreen.
2. Lighten Up Your Beauty Look
Our skin changes as we age, so the makeup we once wore when we were 18 won’t necessarily work when we’re 30. To maintain a youthful glow, invest in high-quality makeup with matte finishes (glitter or sparkle tends to settle into fine lines, making them more noticeable). It’s also advised to “go lighter” as you go older; think brown eyeliners and mascaras, and caramel or chocolate hair hues instead of black. Very dark colours are harsh, and can prematurely age us.
3. Drink More Water
Not only is drinking more water one of the best things you can do for your body, it’s also one of the easiest. Drink more water for regulated digestion, better immune function, increased energy, weight loss, and better mental performance. Drinking water will also help to hydrate the skin. Skin that’s hydrated looks brighter, its wrinkles are less defined, and it sags less. So drink up for a free beauty fix.
4. Quit Smoking
If you want to look a little rough around the edges, continue smoking. Enzymes activated during smoking can break down the elasticity of your skin, leading to a wrinkled, dull appearance. Give up the cigarettes and renew not only your lease on life, but your appearance too.
5. Gain A Little Weight (Yes, Really)
If you take your weight loss overboard, you can end up with a gaunt face that makes you appear older. A little bit of facial fat helps to give you a young, glowing appearance. Make sure you’re not being too restrictive with your calories or working out too hard, and you’ll look better if you keep things in moderation. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you’re strength training several times a week to build up and maintain those youthful muscles.
6. Eat More Healthy Fats
Limit saturated fat intake all you want, but make sure there’s still enough healthy, unsaturated fats in your diet. Healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids calm inflammation, so you’re less likely to have an acne breakout, rosacea or other redness if you’re getting enough of them. Omega-3s also help to keep your collagen plump and your skin fibers elastic. If you want young, healthy-looking skin, say yes to foods like avocado, salmon, olive oil and flaxseeds.
8. Get More Sleep
Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and going night after night with too little sleep can have serious health consequences. Your risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain are increased when you don’t get enough sleep. Beyond that, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll look tired and older than you are. Make sleep a priority to wake up looking refreshed.
9. Switch Up Your Facial Cleansing Routine
Using harsh ingredients on your skin will lead to damage and dryness. Your skin has natural oils that keep it supple, but some cleansers strip these away, leaving taut, tight skin that looks old, rather than dewy and youthful. If anti-aging is your goal, skip the harsh stuff and switch to gentler cleansers that contain no alcohol or aggressive scrubs.
10. Cut Down On Sugar
Eating a lot of sugar can result in wrinkled, sagging skin. Why? Sugar is converted to glucose. When glucose enters your bloodstream, it looks for skin proteins and attaches to them. This forms new molecules known as advanced-glycation end products, or AGEs for short. The more AGEs you have, the less firm and elastic your skin is. Reduce your AGEs by reducing your sugar intake. Get supple, glowing skin as a result.
Healthy lifestyle changes are within reach, so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’ve been looking a little older lately. A few small tweaks to your diet and lifestyle will take you from run down and dull to supple and glowing. Make the changes today and look younger tomorrow.