Most people know that smoking, too much stress and alcohol are terribly ageing and can make you look years older. But what about the other causes of ageing, the little things that you do most days without thinking that can accelerate the ageing process causing spots, dilated blood vessels, wrinkles and sagging.  There’s no stopping the hands of time but being age smart is the secret to ageing well and often it’s not what you are doing but what you are not. Here, we’ve rounded up some common habits which may be racing you towards looking and feeling older and what you can do to put the brakes on…


A new report suggests that many of us are addicted to caffeine without realising it.  It’s well established that caffeine increases blood pressure but did you know that too much caffeine  – and that includes cola and energy drinks, also stimulates the stress hormones (catecholaines) which make the body over-produce insulin leading to spots and breakouts. Too much caffeine can also dehydrate the skin which leads to inflammation and collagen loss causing sagging and wrinkles. Research has also shown that a cup of coffee or tea, even six hours before bedtime, can disrupt sleep and your body clock by preventing melatonin from being produced

Solution: Before you make yet another cuppa, it’s recommended that you don’t exceed 400mg per day – a cup of tea contains around 75mg, an espresso 70mg a large Americano 300mg and an average latte 150mg. Sip more water and swap tea for green tea


Beauty Overload

There ‘s no limit to the number of products we can layer on our face every morning and night    but using too many products containing different ingredients at the same time can affect the pH level of the skin, the absorption, as well as lead to side effects like redness, irritation and flaking. Retinol (Vitamin A) for instance is fragile and best applied without mixing with any other active ingredient before bedtime, rather than layering with other ingredients like AHAs or salicylic acid. Vitamin C is also best applied without mixing with other active ingredients and works best if applied in the morning. And just because you love a new cream, you don’t have to overdo it. Applying more doesn’t mean you’ll get better result as using too much can also overload and irritate the skin ’s. Likewise, overdoing using muscle-relaxing injections and fillers will not make you look younger. – too much too much can in fact perversely make you look older. Other beauty habit which can cause premature ageing include over cleansing and over exfoliating  – i.e. more than two or three times a week which can buff away too much of the top skin layer, causing wrinkles and skin sensitivities.

Solution: Always follow instructions on skincare packs or if you are unsure about ingredients seek professional advice. Take time when you apply products letting in each cream or serum sink in before layering the next one.  Exfoliate once or twice a week, preferably at night. The basic formula everyone needs is cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen and then add in extras according to skin issue or professional advice.

…And Not Enough

With the trend for timesaving multitasking products which contain everything in one tube or pot, including SPF, it’s easy to think that these alone will provide adequate sun protection from damaging sun’s rays.  Remember there’s only limited space in a pot or jar to pack in ingredients meaning there’s less of each ingredient to make a difference.

Solution: Some ingredients are best left combined, especially SPF which should be applied as a separate product generously all over the face, neck and hands


The blue light emitted from smartphones and computers is known as high-energy visible light, (HEV) and scientists report that this form of light can actually penetrate the skin more deeply than UV rays emitted by the sun This damage can manifest itself as hyper pigmentation, enlarged pores, and inflammation. But worryingly, research suggests that HEV is a bit of a silent killer as most of the damage is not visible to the human eye but is under the skin’s surface.

Studies also suggest HEV light can prevent skin from healing as well as accelerate the ageing process. It can also affect circadian rhythms by suppressing the evening rise of melatonin, disrupting sleep; the constant neck bending to look at the screen on your digital device also leads to sagging skin, drooping jowls and a distinct ‘tech-neck’ crease. It can also accelerate the impact of gravity and natural loss of the skin’s elasticity


Take regular screen breaks, even if just for a few minutes, to make sure you get out of the office. Being outside will also top up your vitamin D levels which stimulates the

production of elastin and collagen. Always make sure to keep a large bottle of water to hand to stay hydrated from within through the day. When it comes to skincare, remember the Y-zone – the area from beneath the chin to the bottom of the neck and apply serums and creams in an upward motion


A high sodium diet can trigger high blood pressure. Too much salt also leads water retention which will leave its mark as a bloated, puffy face, dull and grey-looking skin and even worse makes cellulite worse. The eyes, especially, are affected as the skin is so thin here, making them puffy and the lids swollen

Solution: On average adults should not be eating more than 6g of salt (2.4g sodium) daily. Around 75 per cent of our salt is hidden in foods such as bread, processed foods and even biscuits. Read food labels – as a quick guide a high amount of salt is more than 1.5g per 100g


Eating too much sugar is surprisingly one of the major causes of wrinkles and sagging. When blood sugar levels are high, a process called glycation occurs which damages the collagen in skin. It can also cause dark circles under the eyes, spots open pores and a loss of radiance.

Solution: Be aware of hidden ‘sugars’ in foods likes bread, tropical fruit and yogurts. Check food labels – a quick guide is divide the total grams by four and that equals the number of teaspoons in that food item. For example a yogurt containing 28gms of sugar equals seven teaspoons of sugar!

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