Special Report

'Harmless' Habits That Are Actually Aging You Faster Than You Can Imagine

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11. Not breathing from the belly

Breathe in, breathe out. It seems simple enough. After all, it’s an instinct. But there are several ways to breathe and one of them is better than the rest, according to the American Lung Association. You should breathe in through the nose because the nostrils filter, warm, and humidify the air. That doesn’t happen when you breathe in through the mouth. Also, you have to involve the belly. Belly breathing — when breathing moves from the nose to the belly as the diaphragm expands — creates negative pressure in the chest, making way for the air to fill the lungs. More oxygen in the lungs increases lung capacity (which usually naturally decreases with age.)

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12. Using tanning booths

Tanning has been closely associated with the development of all skin cancers, including melanoma, which can be very serious and potentially deadly, according to Richmond. “I am seeing much more melanoma and basal cell carcinoma in young women as early as their 20s and 30s who have a history of tanning.” In addition to increasing the risk of skin cancer, tanning dramatically accelerates the aging of the skin, resulting in earlier wrinkles, uneven skin tone, persistent redness, and brown spots, she explained.

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13. Drinking anything but water

Sugary beverages, such as sodas and most fruit juices, which are loaded with sugar, can accelerate cell aging. Excessive sugar (as well as salt) dehydrates body cells, including skin cells. Wrinkles can occur as a result of dehydration, and the best way to stay hydrated is to drink a lot of water. As a result of dehydration, loss of collagen and elasticity can lead to sagging skin and loss of hyaluronic acid, both of which can hurt the skin’s ability to retain water. This makes fine lines and skin scaling even more apparent.

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14. Multitasking

Working on five tasks at the same time probably makes you feel productive and accomplished — but it comes at a cost. Multitasking can actually hinder productivity and increase stress and fatigue. Research has shown that chronic stress shortens DNA telomeres, causing premature cellular aging. How exactly chronic stress damages the skin is not clear, but higher cortisol — also known as the “stress hormone” — levels and changes in the cells are possible reasons. Stress and 16 other things can also lead to memory loss.

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15. Rubbing your eyes

No one can argue that rubbing your eyes is not a natural reaction to being tired. It’s almost instinctive and it feels good. However, as is the case with most habits, a problem occurs when it’s chronic. The issue with rubbing your eyes all the time is the sensitivity of the skin around them. It’s one of the places where aging signs first appear. The pressure applied to the skin can break small blood vessels, leading to the formation of dark circles and drooping eyelids.