Your anti-aging efforts shouldn’t be limited to your medicine cabinet. Serums and essences and elixirs—and whatever other magical potions—you’ve stocked up on only do part of the job. The good news is the other part is far less costly—in fact, it’s free. The bad(ish) news is it may require some adjustments to your daily habits, but luckily they’re easy enough to accomplish.
Keep reading to find out what changes to your routine will help you look younger now and forever!
We all know the eyes are a telltale sign of age. The skin around the eye area is especially delicate, so it needs extra protection from the sun’s aging UV rays. Plus, squinting in the sun furthers the development of crow’s feet. (Same goes with squinting at a computer screen—keep your eye doctor’s appointments so your vision stays tip-top.)
Don’t forget your teeth give away your age too. Cut back on teeth-staining coffee and tea (tea being the worse offender of the two) to keep your pearly whites, well, pearly white. And beware of sports drinks, soda, and lemonade, too. Sugary drinks erode your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to stains that will age your smile.
The latter goes without saying as cigarettes are the ultimate youth-suckers in every way, but the lip-pursing motion used to both inhale on a cigarette and sip through a straw encourages mouth wrinkles.
Or at least smarter. Long, hot showers are incredibly drying. Keep the moisture in your skin by turning down the water temperature (and cutting down on the time) of your showers. And never stick your face directly under the stream of water. The water pressure combined with the warm temperature, plus the water quality (hello, hard water!), make it far too harsh for your skin. Let the water pool in your hands and splash your face, just as you would at the sink, instead.
Tight ponytails and buns put traction on your hair follicles that can lead to hair loss. Yep, the stress of your hairstyle could end up leading to a receding hairline. Swap tight buns for loose braids to keep your tresses intact.
Constantly looking down at your phone creates sagging jowls. Dermatologists are calling the phenomenon “tech-neck” because they’re seeing young people with sagging jowls as a result of the repeated motion of looking down at handheld devices. Every time you look down to check Instagram, you’re accelerating the impact of gravity of your lower face, neck, and upper chest. The solution is simple: Hold your phone at eye level.
You’re well aware that a healthy diet and regular exercise are two very important keys to maintaining a youthful appearance. But even if you can’t give up cheeseburgers, do try to scale back on your sugar intake. Too much sugar goes straight to your skin, breaking down the protein and collagen bonds and, over time, destroying elastin—all the building blocks of tight, plump skin. Long story short, stay away from sweets to keep wrinkles at bay.
If you’re not sleeping on your back, you’re letting wrinkles creep in overnight. Pressing your face into the pillow night after night leaves a lasting mark on your face in the form of sleep wrinkles. The best way to prevent them is to avoid facial contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back. And if you can’t break your side-sleeping habits (guilty), at least alternate sides and sleep on silk pillowcases.
Regardless of your position, just sleep. The quality and quantity of your sleep has a lasting impact on your appearance. Lack of sleep has been linked to everything from increased inflammation (which leads to a slew of aging issues) to weight gain. And the best part about this anti-ager is that it works right away. You instantly look younger and more refreshed after a great night sleep.
Which are these habits do you already do? Which ones will you start doing today?