food

6 sneaky habits that are making you look less than your best.

Whether it’s too much coffee, not enough sleep or the nightly glass (or five) of wine – we know we’re not supposed to do some things, but we do them anyway. After a hard day at work or when the kids are finally asleep, it’s natural to want to reward yourself.

But all those small indulgences can add up to bigger health problems. And guess what? They’re not doing your appearance any favours either. Here’s how six common culprits are stopping you from well, looking your best, and how you can fix them.

1. Spending an hour on your iPhone before going to bed.

Every night you resolve to go to bed early, and even if you do get under the covers before 11pm, somehow that ‘quick look at Instagram’ turns into 45 minutes staring at a fashion blogger’s boyfriend’s best mate’s cat’s profile.

Not only does Instagramming or texting late at night use up the precious minutes we could be sleeping, the blue light reduces the amount of melatonin in our brain, making it harder to fall asleep. When our natural circadian rhythm gets out of whack, our skin cells can’t turn over as efficiently. The result is dull skin and over time, more wrinkles.

Related: Can’t go 2 mins without checking your phone? Here’s how to cure your addiction.

The fix: Put your phone on flight mode and out of your reach. Or better still, leave it out of the bedroom entirely and use an alarm clock to wake up.

2. Not getting your six to eight a day.

You know you’re supposed to drink around six to eight glasses of water a day, but when 6pm rolls around you can count your fluid intake on one hand, dehydration can set in. It wreaks havoc on the skin, making it look (and feel) dry, wrinkled and the skin around our eyes darker and sunken.

The fix: Try a phone app that reminds you to drink more water throughout the day like iDrated, Daily Water or Waterlogged. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding lemon, lime, blueberries or strawberries, pineapple or mint.

3. Hitting the bottle, every night.

Yes, you’ve had a hard day at work - but if it’s “wine o’clock” every night at your place you might want to cut your alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates and inflames the skin, making it dull, blotchy, and prone to redness. Health authorities suggest men and women limit their alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks on any day.

Related: What the amount of coffees you drink daily is doing to your body.

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The fix: Trick your brain and body into thinking you’re drinking wine by filling your glass with sparkling mineral water instead. The Department of Health also recommends setting limits for yourself, trying drinks with a lower alcohol content and if you’re buying rounds to alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

4. Sneaking the occasional social cigarette.

Smoking breaks down elastin in the skin and ramps up the enzyme responsible for breaking down collagen, which leads to premature ageing - namely wrinkles.

Related: The one proven thing to help people quit smoking.

The fix: Experts agree that one of the hardest things about quitting can be attending social situations where you used to smoke. The Department of Health advises avoiding alcohol in the first few weeks of quitting and to meet friends at smoke-free venues such as the movies or restaurants.

5. Eating sugary foods after every meal.

We would never suggest that you should cut out dessert entirely. But if you are craving something sweet after every single meal, it’s very likely you’re already addicted to sugar. Sugar increases inflammation in the body, and long-term consumption of the sweet stuff leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes dullness, wrinkles and premature ageing.

The fix: Swap the refined stuff for natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, agave syrup or rice malt syrup.

6. Not leaving your desk all day.

Always eating lunch at your desk? Leaving for work when it’s dark and getting home after dark? Low levels of sun exposure and Vitamin D are associated with depression, fatigue and digestive issues.

Related: Another reason to ditch gym for a run in the sun.

As for your face, Vitamin D helps the skin to remain plump and radiant, promotes collagen production, tames acne and lessens fine lines.

The fix: Head outside. The sun is the best natural source of Vitamin D - however, you need to balance sun exposure with skin cancer risk. Check the SunSmart app for your state’s daily UV levels.

Are you guilty of any of these bad habits?

Take a look at some more common bad habits....

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