4 Surprising Things That Age You

There I was just innocently browsing the internet when I came across an article that basically said contact lenses can age you. As a daily contact lens wearer, this is pretty bad news. And as one does with an ill-advised Web MD search, I decided to get lost in the black hole of the internet and learn about some other sneaky ways we age ourselves. Here’s what I found:

1. Contact Lenses

When you think about it, this one makes sense. The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, so pulling and stretching it at least twice a day can take a toll to droopiness. A study recently published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal followed 96 sets of identical twins from 2008 to 2010 and the photos show a big difference between the twins that wore contacts and the ones that didn’t. Check out some of the before and after photos here.

2. Air Conditioner or Heater

Ever notice that the air feels drier when the AC is on? Well, that’s because it is. Case in point: my dad never has it on because he’s prone to nose bleeds (sorry for the TMI). The drier the air, the drier your skin. And the drier your skin, the more prone it is to wrinkles. Basically, your skin needs moisture in the air to remain soft and elastic, if it’s too dry, it’s more likely to crease.

3. Sugary treats

Sugar is pretty much bad news all around. It makes you gain weight, it causes energy crashes, and it can also age you through a process called glycation. Basically, the sugar you consume attaches itself to proteins and forms new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs). The proteins that are most affected by this are collagen and elastin, which is what your skin needs to stay taut and wrinkle-free. The solution to this is simple (but still difficult): cut back on sugar.

4. Allergies

Not only are allergies annoying and extremely inconvenient, but they can also age you. The constant swelling and puffiness around your eyes that happens when your allergies flare up eventually leads to wrinkles, as well as hollowness and darkness under your eyes.