[By Evelyn Wee]

If you don’t want to end up looking like an old leather handbag on your fiftieth birthday, bin these beauty sins today.

1 Sunbathing:

It is beyond dispute that the rate and degree to which skin wrinkles and sags, mottles or develops cancerous lesions depends largely on its level of exposure to UV rays. The good news is that it’s never too late to reverse this bad habit, so slap on the sunscreen and get your bronzed look straight from a bottle this summer. You need to use a minimum of a teaspoonful over your face and neck to get adequate protection.

2 Alcohol:

Ever wake up the morning after so thirsty you can’t believe it? Not surprising. Plain and simple, alcoholic beverages dehydrate your body. By hindering the production of vasopressin (anti-diuretic hormones), alcohol forces your kidneys to work double time to remove excess water from your system leaving your organs, including your skin parched.

Dehydrated skin not only wrinkles faster but it can take on a pale or gray cast — a condition that is exacerbated by the fact that alcohol also robs the body of vitamin A — an antioxidant that’s critical for cell renewal and turnover.

Drinking alcohol is also one of the main culprits of rosacea — a confounding skin condition that causes redness — and often pustules on the cheeks and nose. A whopping 52 percent of 1,066 patients surveyed by the National Rosacea Society cited alcohol consumption as the primary trigger for a surge in their condition. 

And, it’s not just people with the disorder who run the risk of unwanted, permanent redness. Alcohol not only increases blood flow and dilates the tiny blood vessels that are closest to the outer layer of your skin, it sometimes does it in such volume that they burst, causing unsightly, enduring “broken” capillaries on the face.

3 Smoking:

Smoking causes premature skin aging, which means by 30 your skin will have clocked up 10 extra years. Imagine what you will look like compared to your non-smoker friends by the time you hit 50! Besides causing discolouration and abnormal skin growths, smoking will render your complexion yellow, sullen and leathery, which is never an attractive look unless you are a leather handbag.

Of course, your eyes are not spared as you’ll develop premature lines around your eyes and lips. Because of the squinting involved with keeping the smoke out of your eyes, deep wrinkles form around the eyes, including premature crow’s feet. Eyes also become sullen, and dark bags form under them. Ditto for the lips. Constant puckering of the lips leads to wrinkles and deep, dark lines around the mouth. Lips will also become dry, wrinkled, and shriveled.

4 Sleeping with make-up on:

Makeup is a two edged sword. It can lend you extra radiance in the day but when left on overnight, it can also rob you of your looks. Cleansing the face of all traces of make-up, oil and grime before bedtime is essential if you want to keep your complexion clear. Pores that are left clogged while you sleep may erupt and give you an unpleasant surprise in the morning. The second no-no is using old make-up: Cosmetics that have past their use-by date will not only perform poorly but may contain bacteria, which can lead to irritations and, in the case of eye make-up, infections. As a general guide, mascara should be replaced every three to six months and other products within one or two years maximum. If you follow these simple makeup rules, you can have your cake and eat it too. Makeup can be your best friend; just don’t let neglect and oversight turn it into your worst enemy.

5 Going out without your sunglasses:

While sunglasses can lend an air of cool, it is actually an important visual shield for the eye. UV rays not only affects our skin, it can also damage our eyes by causing cataracts and breaking down the collagen in the skin around our eyes, leading to crow’s feet. Constant squinting in the sun not only makes you look like a wrinkly little ferret, but it also causes the formation of pesky little lines are the corner of your eyes. Ward off wrinkles and crow’s feet by donning a pair of shades with good UV protection during the day.  Check that your sunglasses don’t just look good but do their job properly, to prevent squinting in bright conditions.

6 Sugar Lover:

Sugar and cocaine has one similarity. They are both bad for you. Does that surprise you? If you have a sweet tooth, then it’s time to take heed. Sugar causes wrinkles – that’s the newest salvo in the war against eating too many sweet, starchy foods. Researchers studying diabetes have incidentally learned that consuming too much sugar is as bad for your appearance as it is for the rest of your body. Furthermore, researchers say the effects of sugar on skin are comparable with smoking and sun as a leading cause of wrinkles! (Gasp!)

Simple sugars found in cookies, cakes and many other innocent-looking foods, are molecules that attach to protein fibers in our cells in a damaging process called glycation. The end products of glycation are known as Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). Simply put, sugar causes inflammation and reduces the power of collagen to rebuild the skin’s structure and increase the rate at which collagen breaks down naturally. Glycation also robs the skin of its natural moisturizer – hyaluronic acid – resulting in greater dryness and sagging.

Because high-temperature cooking also breaks down collagen and exacerbates AGE, go for slow cooking methods like soups and stews and eat as many uncooked foods like salads and dips as possible.

Now we know that sugar is a culprit to wrinkle formation, be an avid label reader, and steer clear of foods that are high on sugar.

7 Stress:

Stress is often blamed for beauty issues, and rightly so. Stress can trigger collagen breakdown leading to impaired healing and accelerated ageing. Stress can make you look older than your age in several ways. Take, for instance, vitamin B deficiencies, which can occur when your body is operating under high stress. With depleted B vitamins in your body, you’re more likely to suffer from accelerated graying and hair loss. Essentially, there are two kinds of stress, and that they can both mess up our skin. The environmental stress from our buzzing Blackberries and laptops keeps us feeling tense all day, and then the “real stress” of family illness, bankruptcy, and death can provide a double whammy.

If you want to stay young, then keep stress at bay and don’t stress about it.


* Selected as Article of the Month May 2012*


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4 thoughts on “7 Beauty Sins”

  1. I never knew sugar could age me. so on top of padding my hips, it is adding to my wrinkles? Yikes! intervention time.

  2. OMG! I think I have committed most of it, need to kick the bad habit and try to relax myself. Maybe I should go on a holiday trip.

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