6 Lifestyle Habits that Cause Premature Aging

premature aging

Do you examine your forehead for wrinkles each night or panic each time a clump of hair falls out in the shower? None of us want to age before our time, but for some people, unwise lifestyle habits may cause wrinkles, uneven skin tone, sagging skin, or hair changes prematurely.

Signs of aging are considered “premature” when they occur before age 35. If you’re noticing changes in your skin or hair, make sure you’re not contributing to premature aging by staying away from these 6 bad habits.


Not only does tanning put you at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, it causes you to age, too! That’s because the sun’s UV rays (including UV light from a tanning bed) actually damage your skin cells. Even if you don’t get sunburned, the sun damages your skin when you spend time outside, which increases the likelihood you’ll develop sun spots and wrinkles.

UV rays damage your hair too—they can cause breakage in the cuticle, the outer layer of hair that protects fragile inner strands. When your hair gets damaged, it may feel brittle or frizzy, and you may develop split ends or dryness.

The best thing to do is avoid sun exposure as much as possible. Try self tanner instead, and use sun protection with SPF whenever you spend time outdoors.

Unhealthy Diet

There are tons of benefits to maintaining a healthy diet, but one is that it keeps your skin looking nourished and youthful! According to some studies, diets high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause the natural aging process to accelerate. 

While the precise effects of diet on aging aren’t exactly clear, choosing a nutritious diet will help you maintain a healthy weight—and that’s always a good idea!


Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer and other chronic conditions. Even if you manage to avoid these, it makes you appear older—that’s a lose-lose! Because cigarette smoke exposes your skin to toxins, smoking regularly can make your skin appear wrinkled and dry.

It’s never too late to quit smoking, and when you do, your skin will thank you for it!

Stressful Lifestyle

If you’re constantly stressed about work, your relationship, money, or something else, it might be time to try yoga, journaling, or another method of mindful stress relief. That’s because stress not only feels terrible, it makes you age prematurely, too!

When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Some cortisol in your body is normal, but too much (or too much too often!) can damage the collagen in your skin cells. Collagen keeps your skin looking elastic and plump—damage to it causes unnecessary wrinkles and sagging.

Too Little Sleep

A good night’s rest can be hard to come by, but studies show that sleeping poorly can cause signs of aging to appear on your skin. Your cells need rest to repair damage from the sun, environmental pollutants, and dry air. A full night’s sleep gives your cells the time they need to regenerate before heading back out into the world.

Over Exfoliating

Exfoliating is an important step in any skincare regimen since it clears your pores of buildup and helps remove dead skin cells. But be careful not to overdo it, since over exfoliation can damage healthy skin. Exfoliate once or twice a week (no more!) and, if your skin becomes irritated, try a new method to protect your fragile skin.

With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can nourish your skin and protect it from aging before you do. Give these tips and try and witness your skin become firm, radiant, and glowing over time!

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