9 Surprising Things That Affect The Way You Age

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So on the whole, we’re pro-aging, as just about everything (we find) gets better with age (save maybe hangovers). That said, we don’t see anything wrong with doing what we can to maintain a youthful glow as the years pass. With that in mind, we’ve done some investigating into the sneaky environmental and behavioral factors that are making us age faster than we would like. Here, nine shocking youth-busters you need to know about, stat.

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How You're Sabotaging Your Glow

As Angelenos, this one makes us groan but also... duh. Just this morning we watched two cars collide in an epic accident on our way to work, undoubtedly because Waze tried to make one of them attempt a terrifying unprotected left turn. Commuting is stressful AF, and it's no secret that stress is not good for the aging process. Also not good for the aging process? Sunlight, specifically that which is applied to one side of your face as you drive to work each day. And there's more bad news here: Commutes have been linked to obesity, divorce and even premature death. Right now we bet you're feeling great about being among the 50% of Americans who endure an hour commute each day—we know we are! Our survival tip? Try negotiating with your boss for earlier (or later) in and out times to beat traffic. If this fails, attempt to outsmart traffic in other ways, by exercising near your office after work, for example. A midday walk can also do wonders to counteract the negative health effects from the hours spent commuting.

This one has always seemed like a bit of a silk-pillowcase marketing ploy to us, but as it turns out, "pillow face" is a very real phenomenon (even if we just invented that term). The best way of avoiding sleep-induced wrinkles is to snooze on your back, but those of us for whom that's never happening can also simply invest in a silk or satin pillowcase. Read more about how your pillow is aging you here.

Pursing your lips constantly causes fine lines: All you have to do is check out the upper lip of a lifelong smoker to see evidence of this. Drinking from water bottles with small openings can have the same effect, so it's best to drink filtered water from proper glassware whenever possible. Added bonus: skipping straws is best for the environment!

Well more specifically, it's watching Netflix rather than working out, as the sedentary lifestyle most of us lead is definitely not good for slowing the aging process. A 2013 Harvard study found that regular exercise can be as effective as prescription drugs for preventing life-shortening conditions such as stroke and heart disease. "Nearly any type of exercise slows the aging process," The New York Times wrote in 2015. "Exercise is good for your cells, and 'more exercise in greater variety' is likely to be even better." Need some inspiration? Check out what happened when one of our editors tried 30 workouts in 30 days here. Also, remember when you're flicking through your Netflix queue that TV is purported to shorten your life by 22 minutes per each viewing hour—though TBH, we'll take Big Little Lies over our 90s any day.

It's counterintuitive, but we tend to find that women should wear less makeup as they age in order to appear younger. Caked-on foundation and other faux pas—which you can read more about here—can add years to your face. We suggest you keep it clean, dewy and minimal to avoid looking like a sad Beverly Hills divorcée (even if you are one).

Ugh, we feel like bad-news Bears right now and seriously hope you aren't reading this around 4pm on a work-day. (We're writing this as we shove Girl Scout cookies into our mouths by the truckload, so we feel you.) Long story short, sugar causes inflammation, and inflammation causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which we all know by now is responsible for those "fine lines" we so loathe. Some say that sugar consumption is as bad for your skin as a lifetime spent soaking up the sun, to which we say, "Forget it, we'll just look old."

We're basically out of luck here in LA, which is why we all keep humidifiers in our homes. You should, too, and skip central A/C and heat whenever possible.

Apparently, women who live surrounded by greenery have a 12% lower death rate than those who do not. The good news is that experts say you can simply increase the number of houseplants in your home to reap the longevity benefits they promise.

Stress has been linked to shorter telomeres, which protect chromosomes (imagine the little plastic end of a shoelace—same idea). This potentially causes cell damage. Stress also, as you likely well know, leads to behaviors that can accelerate aging (ahem, cocktails). So if you're stressing at work regularly, it doesn't matter how many expensive creams your employment enables you to buy—you'd be better off underemployed and living in a beach shack in Costa Rica. Just sayin.'