Scientists believe that catering to your sweet tooth jumpstarts a process called glycation, which damages collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm, smooth, and youthful. In addition to causing premature aging, sugar promotes tooth decay and discoloration, which is anything but pretty. Solution: Reach for an apple instead of that glazed donut.
Sure, you partied all night and had a great time. But it only takes one look in the mirror to see that the cocktails and shooters took a considerable toll. First, alcohol is dehydrating, which causes wrinkles, but it also interferes with normal sleep patterns, which leads to uneven skin pigmentation and a loss of elasticity. Even more important, alcohol interferes with the liver’s ability to expel toxins, and when those toxins build up, your skin becomes more prone to wrinkles, sagging, sallowness, and adult acne. Solution: Think before, during and after you drink. Drink a full glass of water between each cocktail. Hydrate again when you get home as well as the morning after. And switch to red wine, which is anti-oxidant rich.
You know those Chicago-style hotdogs you love so much? Learn to love them a whole lot less. Processed, pre-packed meats – from bologna and bacon, to turkey loaf and pressed ham – are chock full of sulfites and other preservatives that trigger skin inflammation, which accelerates the emergence of such signs of aging as wrinkles, skin laxity, and hyperpigmentation. Solution: buy unprocessed, low-fat meats, such roasted turkey or chicken breast, and slip in some fresh fish, preferably broiled or grilled (never fried).
Yes, it’s okay to scarf down the occasional sirloin steak, but only as a special treat. That’s because once consumed, fatty red meat produces free radicals that undermine the integrity of your skin cells, making them less resistant to toxins and photo damage and diminish your skin’s ability to generate healing and rejuvenating collagen. Solution: Again, turn to lean meats and fish, including omega-rich salmon.
Coffee and Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine is a diuretic, and diuretics dehydrate the body, including your skin, causing wrinkles, sagging and a sallow complexion. Solution: Make green tea your new drink of choice. It’s a great source of antioxidants and nutrients that ramp up energy, brain function, and fat loss while reducing the risk of cancer.
Fast food, canned soups, processed meats, chips & dips – our daily food choices are literally salted to death. Why does KFC make us crave a Big Gulp? Because salt leaves the body dehydrated, robbing skin cells of the volume that keeps wrinkles and loose skin at bay. Solution: Steer clear of over-salted, prepared foods, buy low-salt or unsalted products, and check the salt content every time you reach for a packaged snack. Better yet, eat whole food no added salt, preservatives, or chemicals..
Thought energy drinks were good for you? Guess again! Truth be told, they are a recipe for premature aging thanks to the high caffeine and sugar content. What’s more, energy drinks heighten anxiety, which creates worry lines across the forehead, and deep furrows between the eyebrows. Plus, energy drinks can lead to chronic sleeplessness, which makes the eyes and cheeks look hollow while giving the skin an unhealthy pallor. Solution: Drink real, 100% fruit juice instead.
Put down those chicken nuggets right this very minute! If you do, your skin will thank you for it, as fried foods wreak havoc with your skin’s cellular structure, leading to a sallow appearance and rough texture, not to mention a high risk of cystic acne. Natural, healthy fats are excellent for your skin and complexion, but the processed plant oils used in frying prevent the skin from retaining essential moisture. Hence, it becomes dehydrated, lax and lined. Solution: Kiss KFC goodbye!