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Aging is an inevitable process; all of us will grow old and wrinkle sooner or later. But while certain aging factors, such as genetics and air pollution, are out of our control, others we can influence. Odds are you’re making mistakes every day that are slowly making you look older, without even knowing it. Here are 10 ways you may be inadvertently aging yourself.

10 Common Mistakes that Age You

1) Too much sun. We all know that getting too much sun can give us skin cancer, but it can also have a tremendous effect on how our skin ages. Luckily, few of us are sitting by the pool lathered in baby oil and surrounded by sun reflectors anymore. But do you wear a hat and sunscreen every time you go outside? If not, you should.   

2) Not wearing sunscreen. If you don’t apply sunscreen to your face, neck and other exposed parts of your body every time you leave the house in morning, you’re making a mistake. Over time, even brief periods of exposure to the sun — in all seasons — can add up and contribute to the premature aging of your skin. Even if you’re in your forties or fifties, you can still stave off additional aging by starting a regular sunscreen regimen now. 

3) Not drinking enough water (or substituting sweet drinks in place of water). Drinking water is about the best thing you can do for your body, including your skin. The benefits of adequate water consumption are myriad, from helping with digestion and improving the performance of your immune system to giving your more energy and helping you lose weight. It also hydrates and helps to clear up your skin, keeping looking young and fresh. In contrast, dehydrated skin appears dull and droopy and may cause wrinkles to stand out more. 

4) Sleeping on your stomach. Did you know the position you sleep in can make you age? That’s right — by squishing your face into your pillow, sleeping on your stomach can actually lead to the formation of wrinkles. What’s more, they’re difficult to treat. The only way to prevent this wrinkling is to change the position you sleep in.

5) Rubbing your eyes. It may sound crazy, but rubbing your eyes can fracture the miniscule blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin, leading to dark circles and swollen-looking eyes, not to mention droopy eyelids and crow’s feet. The skin around the eyes is among the first areas of the face to show signs of aging.

6) Allowing your teeth to yellow. Yellow teeth can make you appear far older than you are. With all the teeth-whitening products out there, is there really any reason you should have yellow teeth? See your dentist to find out whether you’re best suited to a professional whitening treatment or over-the-counter product.

7) Not Moisturizing. If you drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day, you are already going a long way to properly hydrating your skin. But if you’re not moisturizing your skin from the outside, you’re not doing everything you can to prevent premature aging. If you haven’t already, invest in a quality moisturizer.

8) Eating unhealthily. The US is notorious for its unhealthy diet, which for many people often includes far too much processed food. One of the many negative upshots of the typical American diet is bad skin. This is because so many of the processed foods we consume contain vast amounts of sugar. Consuming too much sugar can contribute to dehydrated skin, wrinkles and dark under-eye circles. So avoid the processed foods as much as possible and choose whole foods instead.

9) Forgetting your sunglasses at home. The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the skin on other areas of your face. As a result, it cannot be neglected. You may be a diligent user of sunscreen but if you don’t wear sunglasses when you’re outside, there is no question that it will catch up with you. In addition to being extremely harmful to your eyes, neglecting to wear sunglasses will also lead to wrinkled skin around your eyes.

10) Smoking. Smoking is about the worst thing you can do to your body, and it can dramatically accelerate the aging of your skin. It doesn’t take long for smoking to age the face. Before you know it, your skin will begin to droop, and wrinkles and lines will begin to form. Smoking can also cause the skin to become dry and rough, and lead to broken blood vessels and uneven skin color. If you are a smoker, see your doctor for advice on smoking cessation methods such as gum or the patch.