Signs Your Face Is Aging Faster Than You Are

You’ve got sun spots

closeup of a woman cheek with liver spot causes by the large exposition sun cunaplus/ShutterstockSkin aging is going to happen—but lifestyle and environmental factors can make you appear older than you are. For example, you know the sun can harm your skin, but this damage can actually age your skin’s appearance with unsightly brown patches. “As we enter our 30s, we begin to see the cumulative impact of sun damage, including sun spots,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “Much of the damage that causes sun spots is UV-induced, but hormones can fuel spots and splotches too.” She advises addressing the dark spots with a serum containing botanical brighteners, like licorice, soy, arbutin, and niacinamide; or talk to your dermatologist about the prescription bleaching cream hydroquinone. Here are more weird ways the sun affects your body.

Your skin is super dry

Close up of face of girl touching her chin with fingersilaria burlini/ShutterstockWhen you’re a teen you worry about oily skin, but as your skin ages, you may encounter the opposite problem. “Gaps in the skin’s protective top layer can let out precious moisture molecules and allow in irritants,” Dr. Bowe says. The sun, smoking, and even stress can contribute to this breakdown, she says. “To keep your skin healthy and hydrated, look for moisturizing ingredients like omegas, coconut oil, ceramides, and dimethicone,” Dr. Bowe says. “A once-a-week mask—either a humectant-laden sheet or a rich overnight cream mask—can keep skin hydrated and sated, allowing anti-aging actives to perform better.” Check out more helpful tips to fight dry skin.

You’ve noticed crow’s feet

eye bags close up on woman facesruilk/ShutterstockThese fine lines around your eyes may be the first sign that your skin is starting to age early. (Make sure you’re avoiding these everyday habits that cause wrinkles.) “The dermis is the layer that is responsible for keeping our skin tight, firm, and free of fine lines,” Dr. Bowe says. “As we age, cell renewal begins to slow, the skin’s outermost stratum corneum thickens, and elastin fibers in the dermis fall into disarray.” Boost your collagen, which fills in these lines and gives skin more plumpness, with products containing ingredients like peptides, growth factors, and stem cells, she says.

You have brown spots that aren’t from the sun

Liver spot on the skin of an old personRoblan/ShutterstockWarning, cell phone addicts: Your phone is aging your skin. You may think you’re protecting against sun damage, but the infrared and high energy visible light from your phone can also leave its mark on your face. “Certain wavelength of visible light, specifically blue light, which is emitted from our computers, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and even some indoor light bulbs, can also contribute to spots,” Dr. Bowe says. Plus, “new studies are demonstrating that women who live in urban areas and are exposed to higher levels of pollutants are more likely to develop brown spots on their skin.” Combat the damage with an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant cream.

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Your skin feels tight

Cropped image of handsome Afro American man touching his faceVGstockstudio/ShutterstockThis one common skin-care mistake is ruining your face: washing it too harshly. You might think that “tight” feeling after washing is a sign of firmness, but you actually want your skin to be supple, nourished, and flexible. “If your skin feels tight or squeaky clean after you cleanse, you are actually damaging the skin’s healthy barrier and drying the skin out,” Dr. Bowe says. “Make sure to use a cleanser that doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils—instead opt for gentle, hydrating cleansers that moisturize as they cleanse, like Dove’s beauty bar.”

Wrinkles are starting to appear

Beauty of Dirty SkinCourtesy Little, Brown and CompanyIf you’re starting to suddenly notice wrinkles that weren’t there before, remember you are what you eat—or your skin is, according to research. “As I discuss in detail in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, there is some very compelling evidence about how diet can stave off wrinkles,” Dr. Bowe says. Vitamin C fights UV damage, lycopene stabilizes DNA in cells, polyphenols repair damaged skin, and zinc and vitamin E act as antioxidants. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts contain these important nutrients, and adding them to your diet can protect your skin from the damage that leads to wrinkles.

You look worn out

Sleepy brunette woman waking up and rubbing her eyes.PhotoMediaGroup/ShutterstockAccording to studies, a haggard appearance can be caused by an unlikely culprit: sugar. (Check out the things that happen to your body when you stop eating sugar.) “Sugar impacts your skin through myriad pathways in the body, such as spiking insulin and inflammation,” Dr. Bowe says. Plus, glycation, the bonding of sugar to other molecules, makes proteins stiff, damaged, and susceptible to free radicals. “Imagine what that does to the proteins in your skin!” Dr. Bowe says. “This bonding is a prominent feature of aging.” Collagen and elastin, the fibers that keep skin firm and elastic, are among the most vulnerable proteins in this process, she says.

You’ve lost your “glow”

Woman applying moisturizing cream on handsArman Zhenikeyev/ShutterstockAs the rate at which cells rejuvenate slows, your face loses radiance and can make you look less youthful. To retain that healthy glow, Dr. Bowe suggests an over-the-counter retinol. (Find out other products skin-care gurus can’t live without.) “Retinoids are heavily researched and proven to boost your skin’s health and appearance,” she says. “Vitamin A-based retinoids normalize cell turnover—a process that slows with age—to promote clear, smooth, radiant, even-toned, healthy skin.” But, you can’t use these products while pregnant or nursing (pregnancy will give you its own glow anyway!).

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Your cheeks are sagging

Correction of the cheekbones cheeks with the help of injections of hyaluronic acid. Professional beauty clinic specialist works. patient's eyes closed. Close-up.Kalamurzing/ShutterstockIf you feel like you’ve begun to take on a hollow appearance, it might be because you’re losing fat below your skin. “This layer of fat supports and cushions the skin, giving us our plump, youthful contours—however, as we mature, we lose volume in this layer,” Dr. Bowe says. Gaining a few pounds may help, but Dr. Bowe says to also consider facial fillers. “Additionally, research is showing that facial yoga might help,” she says. A recent study from Northwestern showed a facial exercise program made middle-aged women’s cheeks appear fuller and more youthful. Read about more new skin tightening treatments that really work.

Your skin has a papery texture

Hands of cropped unrecognisable woman holding cosmetic oil.LStockStudio/ShutterstockEven though you’re not yet elderly, prematurely aging skin may start to look as thin as your grandmother’s. “Two things contribute to that fragile, paper-like texture that develops on the skin,” Dr. Bowe says. “First, levels of calcium, which is critical for keeping the skin firm, drop as our skin matures. Second, the pH of the skin climbs.” These pH changes can eat away at collagen. Dr. Bowe suggests using a serum with calcium amino acids and peptides. (Here are the best serums to solve all your skin problems). Also, adjust your pH using a moisturizer with probiotics. “Probiotics restore enzyme activity closer to that of young, healthy skin,” she says.

You have rough patches

closeup on dry dehydrated skin on the heels of male feet with callusesalexjey/ShutterstockHardened skin can happen after too long in a dried-out state. “When skin gets dry or inflamed, it tries to protect itself by piling on extra layers of dead skin cells,” Dr. Bowe says. “The outermost layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, gets thicker and that makes the skin feel rough.” This piling up can also be a symptom of psoriasis, which speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. To treat it, Dr. Bowe recommends the therapeutic botanicals in MetaDerm. And try the best skin-care routine for psoriasis.

You’re getting tiny little bumps

Milia (Milium) - pimples around eye on skin.vchal/ShutterstockThis is one of those skin conditions that look like acne but aren’t. Tiny white or flesh-colored bumps called milia are caused by buildup from sun damage or harsh face products. “Milia are small cysts filled with a protein called keratin, and form as a result of the skin’s localized inability to exfoliate naturally,” Dr. Bowe says. “To address milia, look for products that promote gentle exfoliation and cell turnover,” which may contain the ingredients glycolic acid or retinol. Also, remember to use sunscreen.

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Your lips are thinning out

mouthRob Bouwman/ShutterstockCollagen also affects the fullness of your lips, and as you lose it your lips may deflate. Before you head for an injection of lip fillers, try using a lip product with sunscreen to protect your pout. “Prevention of sun damage is the best thing people can do to reduce signs of aging on the lips and around the mouth,” dermatologist Madeline C. Krauss, MD, told the American Academy of Dermatology. If you want to go the professional route, here’s what a dermatologist would do for lip lines.

You’ve noticed puffy, dark eyes

retinolgoodluz/ShutterstockDo you need these remedies to treat the dark circles under your eyes? Because the skin around your eyes is very delicate, it’s prone to change and may start to look older with heavy eyelids, puffiness, and darkness underneath. “Our superficial fat pads tend to separate as we age and cause the undereye puffiness to become more pronounced,” Dr. Bowe says. “Often, bags under your eyes means the skin around them is retaining fluid.” Try cutting down on salt and alcohol, and get enough sleep. Dr. Bowe also suggests eye creams containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin C. Also, “anti-inflammatory ingredients like caffeine can help to constrict your blood vessels and improve circulation,” she says.

Your skin is easily damaged

Bruise on woman's leg skin.Santipong Srikhamta/ShutterstockAccording to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, aging skin is more vulnerable to injury, and can be up to four times slower to heal—and sun damage can accelerate this process. Thinner, more fragile skin without as much of a protective fat layer can put you at risk; and in addition, fragile blood vessels under the skin can break more easily. Here’s the doctor-approved way to get rid of bruises, ASAP.

You’ve developed skin cancer

Female applying cream to her handsFeomarty Olga/ShutterstockSkin damage doesn’t just manifest itself in your appearance—it can have life-threatening effects. “When our skin is exposed to so many stressors that its protective and reparative mechanisms are simply over-burdened, that’s when we see the progression from a healthy skin cell, to an atypical cell, to a cancerous cell,” Dr. Bowe says. “The most important thing you can do to protect your skin against skin cancer is to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every single day.” She also recommends the antioxidant supplement Heliocare to neutralize free radicals in your skin. Here are surprising facts about skin cancer everyone should know.

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Aging Skin: Which Body Parts Show the First Signs?


old handshiroshi teshigawara/Shutterstock

Especially in women, your hands will be one of the first body parts you’ll notice showing signs of age, says board-certified dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, MD, FAAD. Hormonal changes results in a loss of skin elasticity and volume loss on the backs of our hands,” she says. “These changes cause the crepey appearance of skin and also makes the veins very prominent.” Plus, your hands are rarely covered and form age spots from sun exposure, adding to the signs of aging. Slathering sunscreen on your hands or slipping on a pair of driving gloves can block out the harmful UV rays, says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Pasadena, California, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. Here are more ways to get younger-looking hands.


Eye with crow's feetsruilk/Shutterstock

“Laugh lines” got their name for a reason. “The skin around our eyes is thinner and forms wrinkles from repeated habits, such as squinting, smiling, and sun damage,” says Dr. Papantoniou. Most sunscreen formulas shouldn’t go near the eyes, but wearing sunglasses offers double protection: blocking UV rays and reducing the need to squint.


Close up Bare Lips and Nose of a Young African Womanmichaelheim/Shutterstock

Fine lines around your lips often develop after the ones by your eyes and on your forehead, says Dr. Papantoniou. Sun damage plays a role, but so do habits that purse your lips, such as drinking from straws and water bottles, she says. Learn more about how dermatologists get rid of lip lines.


Face of young girl with wrinkles like an old ladysruilk/Shutterstock

Because you scrunch it for deep expressions, the forehead will also likely be one of the first places on your face to develop wrinkles, says Dr. Papantoniou. Products containing retinol increase collagen to reduce wrinkles, plus exfoliate dead skin to make your skin look brighter and softer. Dr. Lee recommends using Roc Multi Correxion 5 In 1 Restoring Facial Night Cream or a Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair product once a night (or every other night if your skin isn’t used to the drying products) to rejuvenate the skin.

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Woman's chin and neckChris Tefme/Shutterstock

No matter how diligent you are about protecting your face from wrinkles, you might forget to bring that SPF down to your neck. Applying sunscreen to your exposed skin every day can keep sun damage at bay, but it won’t prevent all signs of aging. “‘Turkey neck’ is the term used describe skin laxity that occur as we age under the chin and upper neck area,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “This develops from a combination of volume loss and skin laxity.” If the loose skin is bothering you, as a dermatologist about Ultherapy, a noninvasive treatment that uses ultrasound to tighten the skin, she suggests. Find out more about how to make your neck look younger.


Man man with scar on his hand shoulder. Laser Scar Reduction conceptAlbina Glisic/Shutterstock

Deep necklines leave the exposed area of your chest wide open for the damage of UV rays. You might start to notice broken blood vessels, sunspots, and discoloration, says Dr. Lee. If you don’t want to switch to higher necklines, she recommends applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30 containing titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide to your chest while you’re getting ready. Put it on before you get dressed so it can dry without getting on your clothes. Check out these other dermatologist-recommended tricks for getting rid of wrinkles.


legs older person, Knee Pain, elder osteoarthritisojoel/ShutterstockThe skin on your knees usually starts to sag before the rest of your legs do. “You have a lot of bony prominence and tendons and ligaments, but no fat and muscle,” says Dr. Lee. “You don’t have as much of that cushion to plump up the skin there, so that’s where you notice the hollows and boniness.” Salicylic acid and urea in skin-care products exfoliate, so choosing a moisturizer that contains one—Dr. Lee recommends CeraVe Renewing SA Cream—will hydrate, brighten, and smooth to give your skin new life.


Wrinkles and creases on his elbow. Old wrinkled elbow.Timonina/Shutterstock

Like your knees, your elbows are mostly bone, without fat and muscle to plump them up. On top of that, people tend to lean on their elbows, and the weight of that puts stress on the area, says Dr. Lee. Using a moisturizer with salicylic acid or urea can rejuvenate leathery elbows. Don’t miss these other 11 everyday habits that can cause wrinkles.

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Gray hair menbogdych/Shutterstock

Most people notice their first gray hairs in their 30s as their bodies stop producing pigment cells. By the time they’re 50, half the population can expect 50 percent of their head to go gray, Stanford University dermatology professor Anthony Oro tells Good Housekeeping. Those gray hairs tend to be thinner than your colored strands, but they feel thicker because the scalp produces less oil, drying out your hair. Make sure you know these sneaky reasons you might go gray prematurely.

Next, find out the 15 signs your body is aging faster than you are.

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8 Aging Myths, Debunked | Reader’s Digest

1. Myth: Creaky, Achy Joints are Unavoidable


Actually, not exercising is what makes achy joints inevitable. When Australian researchers at the Monash University Medical School looked at women ages 40 to 67, they found that those who exercised at least once every two weeks for 20 minutes or more had more cartilage in their knees. It suggests that being physically active made them less likely to develop arthritis.

2. Myth: Your Bones Become Fragile And Your Posture Bends


Remember, only death is certain when it comes to aging. Osteoporosis is definitely more common in older people, but it’s also very preventable.

A study of females over 100 years of age found that only 56 percent had osteoporosis, and their average age at diagnosis was 87. Not bad, given these women grew up before the benefits of diet and exercise on bone were understood. Thankfully, you know better.

3. Myth: Old Age Kills Your Libido


Hogwash. Impotence and reduced libido are related to normally preventable medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. The solution is keeping yourself in shape. Something as simple as lifting weights a couple times a week can improve your sex life.

And yes, sexual desire might decline a bit as you age, but that doesn’t typically occur until age 75. Interviewing people age 60 and over who lived in independent living facilities, Terrie B. Ginsberg, D.O., of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, found that about 60 percent had had regular physical and sexual experiences in the past year such as kissing, touching, holding hands, and hugging. And they all wanted more — the main thing preventing them from getting it was the lack of a partner.

4. Myth: Genes Play The Biggest Role In How You’ll Age


Untrue. Even if you’re born with the healthiest set of genes, how you live your life determines how they behave over your lifespan. Your genes can be changed by what you eat, how much physical activity you get, and even your exposure to chemicals.

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5. Myth: You Lose Your Creativity As You Age


Not necessarily. Creativity actually offers huge benefits for older people. A George Washington University study found that older adults who joined a choir were in better health, used less medication, and had fewer falls after a year than a similar group that didn’t join.

The singers also said they were less lonely, had a better outlook on life, and participated in more activities overall than the non-singing group, who actually reduced the number of activities they participated in during the year.

6. Myth: Your Brain Stops Developing After Age 3


This developmental myth was overturned in the 1990s, and ever since, researchers no longer look at the older brain as a static thing. Instead, studies show your brain continues to send out new connections and to strengthen existing ones throughout your life — as long as you continue to challenge it. It really is your body’s ultimate muscle.

7. Myth: Your Brain Shrinks With Age

istock/Radu Bercan

This myth began with studies in 2002 showing that the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory, was significantly smaller in older people than in younger people. This never sounded right to Dr. Lupien, particularly after she conducted groundbreaking research in the late 1990s showing that chronic stress shrinks the hippocampus.

Was it age or stress that was responsible for the shrinking brains of older people? Probably stress. When she examined brain scans of 177 people ages 18 to 85, she found that 25 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds had hippocampus volumes as small as those of adults ages 60 to 75.

8. Myth: Seniors Are Always Cranky And Unhappy

istock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Not quite. When researchers from Heidelberg, Germany, interviewed 40 centenarians, they found that despite significant physical and mental problems, 71 percent said they were happy, and more than half said they were as happy as they’d been at younger ages.

Plus, when the researchers compared them to a group of middle-age people, they found that both groups were just as happy. Most important: Nearly 70 percent of the centenarians said they laughed often.

What does it all mean? It means there is no universal definition of aging. How you’ll age is entirely up to you — and the time to begin writing that definition is today.

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Aging Parents: How to Transition into At-Home Care

Shift your budget to accommodate the care costs

elderly and nurse or carerMANDY GODBEHEAR/Shutterstock

In most cases, home care is paid out-of-pocket by the family, couple, or person receiving services. Medicare does cover some home health services for those who qualify. These are smart ways you can make your home safer for aging parents.

Redefine your responsibilities as the primary caregiver

Elderly couple holding hands outdoors.Tamas Panczel – Eross/Shutterstock

Things will change when a home care provider is in the picture, but you still have a role. During the initial adjustment period, and as the relationship progresses, you may need to serve as a mediator. You’ll likely remain the point person for your family member’s care needs going forward.

Prepare the home


Whether the caregiver is a live-in, comes to help for a few hours a day, or assists on holidays and weekends, prepare your home for the presence of someone you don’t know yet, but someone who will soon become familiar with how your family operates, for better or worse. You may need to rearrange some rooms for privacy, hide or protect valuables, and make accessible the things that will be used on a daily basis by the home care worker. Watch for these warning signs that you parent shouldn’t be living at home anymore.

Give the relationship time to grow

The first few days or weeks may be uncomfortable as everyone gets to know each other. Don’t be discouraged by this initial awkwardness. Work through the challenges and maintain clear and open communication. Your loved one should make his or her preferences known from the start (i.e., favorite meals, what time is rest or bedtime, when to pick up the mail, et cetera) to prevent conflict and build understanding.

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Check in to see how things are going

Close up picture of elderly hands with young caretaker's handsOcskay Mark/Shutterstock

Remember, you’re still part of the caregiving picture. After everyone has settled into a rhythm, check in with the home care worker for his/her feedback, then do the same with your loved one. Even if things seem to be going well, mark your calendar to check in with both parties on a recurring basis, and tell them both you would welcome their concerns or questions anytime. These are signs that your aging loved one needs more care ASAP.

Make changes as needed

elderlyMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Think about a houseguest who overstays his welcome; you don’t want to feel that way about your care provider. But if you do, it may be time to adjust some boundaries or consider a different caregiver who may be a better fit for your family’s needs.

Encourage family members to stay involved


Bringing in home care isn’t a ticket out of caregiving. For one thing, you’ll need backup for the home care worker’s sick days, holidays, and other unexpected “no show” days. The support of your extended family will be good for the care provider (the better she gets to know the family, the better she can serve your loved one), and it will create a natural accountability system. Always ask these questions to keep your aging parents safe and healthy.

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Signs Your Body Is Aging Faster Than You Are

You have hair loss—and not just on your head

HairlossAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Seeing a little (or a lot) of scalp peeking through your hairline is a well-known sign of aging but surprisingly, it isn’t limited to your head, says Bindiya Gandhi, MD, an integrative and functional medicine specialist. If you’re younger and you notice things getting a little sparse on your arms, legs or *ahem* other places, it can indicate your body is aging faster than you think. For more surprising signs of aging, check out these eight aging myths, debunked.

You can’t lift the 30-pound bag of dog food into your cart Muscle strength is directly correlated to how you age, since you actually lose muscle mass the older you get, making you progressively weaker, says Barry Sears, MD, author of the Zone Diet book series and president of the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation. This isn’t destiny, however. You can increase your strength and build back some muscle mass by lifting weights or doing some other strength training exercises. You can start with the best anti-aging exercises, according to science.

Bruises take forever to heal

BruisesSantipong Srikhamta/Shutterstock

One important and oft-overlooked sign of premature aging is that you find yourself healing from wounds and injuries more slowly than you used to, says Ira S. Pastor, CEO of Bioquark Inc. The skin is your largest organ and normally has an amazing ability to heal itself, so if yours isn’t recovering well, something is definitely going awry in the internal aging systems, he explains.

You’ve got more wrinkles than your best friend from high school


A telltale sign of aging is wrinkles and sagging skin, and the rate at which you get them can indicate you are aging faster than you should be for your age. Genetics can play a role, but a big factor in loose, wrinkly skin are lifestyle choices, says Constantine George, MD, chief medical officer of Epitomedical and founder of Vedius.”Some may get wrinkly sooner than others due to things such as tobacco use, excess sun exposure, poor dietary habits, and alcohol consumption,” he explains. See exactly how your skin ages through every decade of your life. “This process can be slowed through lifestyle changes and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain high levels of antioxidants.”

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You make excuses to not to go out with your friends

man-on-couchguteksk7/Shutterstock “For me, a big sign a patient isn’t aging well is when they no longer enjoy doing the things they always loved to do,” says Otto J. Janke, DC, of Janke Family Chiropractic. “Often they’ll make up a reason that they no longer enjoy the sport, craft, or group that they at one time ‘lived’ for.” Why? (Hint: It has to do with this one simple thing that is the secret to aging well.) The mental and physical aspects of our bodies are closely linked. Whether this means you get treatment for depression or are evaluated for an underlying physical problem, it’s important to address your ennui because even if it isn’t making your life shorter, it’s definitely making it less happy.

You’ve stopped eating pickles because you can’t open the jar anymore


“Studies have shown that poor hand grip strength is linked to age-related decline,” says Jenny Wilson, PhD, psychologist, a board certified anti-aging health practitioner and CEO of My Sharp Mind. Why? It indicates a loss of both muscle and strength. Plus a weak grip may also be an indicator that your brain is aging faster. (Do you know these 12 signs your brain is aging faster than you are?) Researchers are not yet sure of the mechanism but it is linked to a loss of white matter, the part of the brain responsible for efficient information processing.

Your favorite pants are tight in the waist but loose in the legs

Woman-putting-on-pantsNina Buday/Shutterstock

Gaining fat around your midsection is a common sign your body is aging quickly, Sears says. Add that to the muscle and bone loss that also accompany aging, causing your thigh muscles to shrink and your height to decrease, and you have the recipe for some really poor-fitting pants. The pants are the least of your worries, however, as these signs can indicate other health problems including metabolic syndrome and arthritis. Fortunately, with a little diet and exercise, you’ll be back in your pants in no time. Start by adding mushrooms to your diet, as they have powerful anti-aging benefits.

You’re burning through giant bottles of lotion

LotionDean Drobot/Shutterstock Is your skin chronically dry and flaky? That could be a sign of premature aging, George says. However, there are other causes, like these 10 everyday things causing your dry skin. It can also indicate an underlying medical condition like hypothyroidism. Low thyroid function left untreated can also give you a puffy face, weight gain, thinning hair, impaired memory, painful joints, and muscle weakness—all things that will age you faster than a time machine, he adds. So if you have constantly dry skin, get it checked out by your doctor.

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You sleep like a baby—fitfully, with frequent wakings, and not through the night

Insomnia or problems getting a good night’s sleep can be a sign your body is aging quickly. Often this is due to high levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. “Cortisol rises are inevitable as we age, however, with many people it rises too quickly, usually due to stress,” explains Sue Decotiis, MD, an anti-aging and regenerative medicine specialist in NYC. It’s important to get your stress level in check as too much cortisol not only ages you faster but can promote weight gain, lower your immune function, and can lead to many chronic diseases. In the meantime, make sure you’re not making these common sleep mistakes.

Your face looks sunken or gaunt


Bone loss is, unfortunately, a normal part of aging, and when you lose bone mass in your face, it gives you that characteristic “elderly” profile with sunken cheeks, thin lips, and prominent temples, Decotiis says. Some people hasten this process by smoking, having poor nutrition or poor cardiovascular health, or losing too much weight, making them look older than they already are, she explains. To counteract bone loss, eat and exercise properly and maintain a healthy weight. Need ideas? Eat these 12 anti-aging foods for glowing skin and a longer life.

People constantly guess you’re older than you really are

Woman-enjoying-coffeeDean Drobot/Shutterstock When it comes to assessing a person’s “true” age, as opposed to their chronological age, our brains are pretty darn accurate, says Steven Austad, PhD, chair of the UAB Department of Biology. “Ask a dozen strangers to guess your age and the average value they come up with is a pretty good indicator of your body’s biological age,” he says.

Everyone is always telling you to hurry up

Friends-HikingJacob Lund/Shutterstock

Are you constantly getting left behind when walking with friends your age? It turns out that a person’s normal walking speed is a pretty good indicator of how well you’re aging, Austad says. “Walking speed is an indicator of how leg muscles are working and says something about nerve conduction speed, two factors that go into aging,” he explains. Thankfully, this one has an easy fix: Take more walks and improve your fitness level.

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You have more spots than a cheetah

Girl-tanningAndrey Arkusha/Shutterstock

Sun damage is perhaps the most important cause of an older-looking face, as too much sun causes lines, wrinkles, dull skin, and the dreaded brown age spots to develop, says Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Zuckerman Plastic Surgery in NYC. If you feel like you have more of these than other people your age, especially if you never wear sunscreen, it’s a good sign your skin is aging faster than you are. Start wearing sunscreen immediately and talk to a dermatologist about other options. (P.S. Skipping sunscreen is one of the worst skin sins according to dermatologists.)

Going upstairs feels like climbing a mountain

woman-running-up-stairsMaridav/Shutterstock You might chalk up your difficulty with stairs to bad knees or poor fitness (which can also be signs of premature aging) but a major reason that adults suddenly get uncoordinated or unable to do physical things goes back to the type of muscle loss that comes with aging. “Your muscle health is the aging factor that’s rarely discussed, yet losing it can be a sign that your aging faster than your actual age,” says Suzette Pereira, PhD, research scientist and expert in muscle health with age, Abbott. “Starting at age 40, you can lose up to 8 percent of your muscle mass per decade.” Time to pull out your old weights!

Your period is super random

MenstruationF8 studio/Shutterstock

For women, the frequency and predictability of your menstrual cycle can be an early sign of aging, and it can start 15 years before menopause. (Do you know the quiet signs of perimenopause?) “One sign many people do not correlate with aging in females is irregular menstrual cycles in their 30s and 40s,” Gandhi says. “This hormonal irregularity is important to address since changing hormones can increase weight gain, decrease muscle mass, cause sleep disturbances, and cause your body to age faster, predisposing you to heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.”

Check out the daily habits of people who look and act young for their age.

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