You could be using the most expensive products on your skin, you may have every imaginable skin product there is, but all of that is for naught if you’re doing these 5 harmful habits to your skin.

  1. Going out without sunscreen

WebMD says that of all the wrinkles found on your face, only 10% of that is caused by genetics, while the remaining 90% is caused by sun exposure. The state of your skin when it comes to wrinkles clearly lay in your hands.

To protect your skin from the sun, wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays can burn your skin. UVA rays, on the other hand, give you a tan, but they cause wrinkles. Both types of rays cause skin cancer.

Use sunscreen every day, particularly when you’ll be going out. Slather it on even on cloudy days. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours. Do it more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.

  1. Getting too little sleep

There’s a reason why it’s called “beauty sleep.” While you sleep, the skin uses this time for repair. Too little sleep then means too little time for skin repair.

Studies show that people who get too little sleep, have problem falling asleep or toss and turn in their sleep have uneven skin coloring, more fine lines and have less skin elasticity than people who don’t have any problem falling asleep.

Try to get enough sleep each night to reap the benefits of the skin’s natural skin repair function. Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Also try to stick to a sleeping schedule. If you go to bed a few hours than usual, making you miss a few hours of sleep, your skin can appear more puffy, hallow and sagging. Stick to your schedule and your skin will thank you for it.

  1. Smoking

Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the skin, depleting it of oxygen and nutrients essential for skin health. It also damages elastin and collagen, the fibers that give skin strength and elasticity. As a result, smoking makes your skin look older.

In addition, the repetitive facial expressions that you do when you smoke contribute to wrinkles. For instance, pursing your lips to inhale smoke results in lip lines and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke results in crow’s feet.

The best way to protect your skin from smoking is to quit.

  1. Indulging in sweets

Too much sugar can accelerate ageing by attacking the skin’s elastin and collagen, the fibers that gives the skin fullness and elasticity. The process by which this occurs is called glycation.

Protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules when there’s an excess amount of sugar in the body. This cross-linking produces a new sugar molecule called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs gravitate toward elastin and collagen, compromising and stiffening them and making the skin appear dry and brittle over time.

So change your diet for longer youthful-looking skin. Choose whole grains for carbs and limit your intake of natural and added sugars. Boost up your fruit and vegetable intake, particularly those that are rich in vitamins C, E and A and antioxidants. And don’t exclude fat from your diet, particularly those healthy omega-3 fats such as those found in salmon.

  1. Looking sad all the time

Being unhappy doesn’t just make you feel bad, it also makes you look bad. According to WebMD, being unhappy creates bad facial posture—you scowl, you purse your lips, and your facial muscles become tense.

While working on that happy feeling, there’s an exercise you can do that try to mimics the facial actions of a smile. Try moving your ears without touching them. It’s worth the effort even if you can’t do it.

Or just practice smiling even if you don’t feel like it. Research suggests that smiling for a few minutes in front of a mirror even if you don’t feel like doing it tricks your mind that you are really feeling good. And it will make you look better, too.

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