The Best Time to Do 14 Common Healthy Habits

Reduce Stomach Bloating: 9 Daily Habits That Flatten Your Belly

Have a cavity filled in the afternoon iStock/Stigur Karlsson The painkilling effect of dental anesthesia lasts longer in the afternoon than it does in the morning. In one study, lidocaine kept nerves numb up to five times longer when it was injected in the early afternoon compared with early morning. Don’t miss these 11 home […]

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50 Everyday Habits That Make You Look Younger

Smile, wide!

smilemimagephotography/ShutterstockYoung, middle-aged, and older individuals studied thousands of photographs and were asked to guess the age of models with various facial expressions. Neutral expressions yielded the most accurate results, and fearful expressions made subjects look older; happy faces were rated as younger than they really were. (Here’s how to smile for better health.)

Eat more grapes

grapesAll Around Photo/ShutterstockSorbitol, which gives grapes, berries, plums, and pears their sweetness, is a humectant, a substance that attracts water when applied to the skin, helping it absorb and retain moisture. That’s one of the reasons why grapes are among the 30+ foods that are even better for you than you realized.

Touch up your hair

hairNina Buday/ShutterstockAs we age, our hair changes. “It often becomes coarser in texture and more dry,” says hairstylist Jenna Mast. Heat styling can damage hair, so try air drying an only use an iron around your face. Whether you have your hair washed at home or at a salon, use deep conditioning treatments regularly to combat dryness. Make sure you’re not making these hair washing mistakes in the shower.

Frame your face

eyebrowsOlena Yakobchuk/ShutterstockKeeping your eyebrows well-groomed and shaped helps provide a frame for your face and draws attention to your eyes. Not sure how to groom yours? Here are the seven tips you need for perfect eyebrows.

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Cleanse and moisturize regularly

lotionTuiPhotoEngineer/ShutterstockCleansing and moisturizing helps protect skin and keep it healthy; but banish regular soap, which can be drying for older skin. Instead, use a cleanser that gently washes without stripping skin of its natural moisture. Avoid skin toners, especially those with a stringent or alcohol base. Follow with a good moisturizer, morning and night.

Conceal your problem areas

collarBogdan Florea/ShutterstockIf you have a wrinkly neck or jowls, avoid tight-fitting or crew-neck tops, which squeeze skin upward. A shirt collar over a round-necked jersey is a better option. Wear dark-colored shirts if you have a large belly. Here are more outfit tricks to help you look instantly younger.

Give yourself a hand or two

handsOlga Miltsova/ShutterstockA study showed that people could accurately guess women’s ages by looking at their hands. (These are the subtle signs your hands are begging for TLC.) Use a good hand cream frequently, preferably one that contains SPF for daytime. Brighten dull hands by exfoliating regularly: Mix sea salt with lemon juice and gently scrub into your hands with a soft toothbrush.

Eat more greens and reds

kaleKamila i Wojtek Cyganek/ShutterstockVitamin K—in kale and other green vegetables—helps your blood coagulate, reducing the impact of bruising. Lycopene in tomatoes gives the skin powerful protection against UV rays. Fruit and veggie consumption resulted in better skin complexion, according to a study. (Here are eight more essential foods for beautiful skin.

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Wear less makeup

faceVoyagerix/ShutterstockInstead of heavy makeup or these other makeup mistakes that age your face, pick pink, radiant hues that mimic the look of natural youth, says makeup artist and What Not to Wear star Carmindy. “As we age our skin loosens and is not as taught as it once was, so the more makeup you apply, the more it can move, settle, and travel,” she says. “Less makeup will adhere to mature skin much better so you stay looking fresh all day.”

Eat oily fish

salmonDima-Sikorsky/ShutterstockSalmon and other oily fish are rich in DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), a compound that boosts muscle tone and is one of the must-have ingredients in expensive “mature” skin creams. Eating oily fish twice a week offers the same benefits. Here are more foods that can help fight wrinkles.

Exercise four or more times per week

fitnessIakov Filimonov/ShutterstockA recent study showed that regular exercise can slow the aging process—just avoid these exercise mistakes that make you look older. You’ll fend off muscle loss and sleep better when you exercise most days of the week. Combine cardiovascular exercise for heart and lungs, resistance exercise for muscles, and stretching for flexibility.

Wear the right bra

braAbElena/ShutterstockGravity affects us all, but properly fitting undergarments can help shape a figure into a more youthful silhouette. “Pop culture research states that over 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra,” says style expert Sharon Haver, founder of Get fitted at a lingerie store to make sure you’re wearing the correct size and style for your bust shape, as well as the right amount of coverage and support.

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Drink more water

waterfizkes/ShutterstockOur body is mostly water, and our skin is our body’s biggest organ—so we need to keep hydrated to avoid it looking dry and dull, and creating wrinkles. “The more hydrated you are, the more plump, subtle, and youthful your skin will appear,” says fitness and nutrition expert Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “In addition, staying hydrated can improve energy levels and fight against cravings, which makes it easier to stay on target with your exercise goals and healthy eating habits.” (As good as regular water is for you, drinking lemon water may be even better.)

Dress smart, not shapeless for the size you are, not the size you were—but hiding in big, baggy clothes isn’t flattering. Tailored, clean lines look sharper. “It’s not about volume but the cut of a garment,” Haver says. “It’s better to break free from hiding yourself in your clothing and stand tall and proud in well-fitting garments—not only will you look better but you’ll give yourself an emotional boost by allowing you to step into your star power.” You should also avoid these other style mistakes that make you look older.

Pick pants with Lycra

pantsOleg Mikhaylov/ShutterstockA stretchy material may give your bottom a boost, but try on stretchy pants before buying. (Here are more style mistakes that make you look older.) “If you have a curvy body type, a bit of Lycra makes for a better fit,” Haver says. “However, if pants with Lycra are too tight, it creates an unsightly ripple effect.” If Lycra’s not working on the outside, try Lycra tights or a body-shaper underneath well-tailored pants, she suggests.

Seek out certain skin care ingredients

lotionKira Garmashova/ShutterstockNo surprise—SPF protects against free radical damage from the sun’s UV radiation that leads to collagen breakdown, sagging skin, and wrinkles, says dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD, creator of Visha Skin Care. But there are other game-changing skincare ingredients to look for, too. “Retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) can rejuvenate the skin and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. “Hyaluronic acid helps your skin retain moisture, which gives it a smooth, glowing look.”

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Notice your neckline

skinaka An Lee/ShutterstockAlthough the most flattering neckline depends on your face shape, hairstyle, neck shape and length, and your shoulder structure, one neckline in particular tends to be most flattering: “A classic V-neck with a collar creates a linear line that makes us look taller and thinner, and the bit of a collar detracts from the appearance of an older neck while spotlighting our face,” Haver says.

Consider colors

closetPressmaster/ShutterstockA pop of color can be fun and youthful, but it’s not necessary to wear it from head-to-toe. You can accent your outfit with a modern trend color, but you don’t want to look dated and old by holding on to a trendy color way past its expiration date,” Haver says. “It’s really not about age but about sophistication—classic neutral colors are always chic.”


accessoriesDiana Indiana/ShutterstockShow your personality with fun accent pieces that don’t have an age or body type attached—just go for it with these tricks to perfectly accessorize your outfit. “If you opt for classic clothes, which are always chic, a dash of an interesting accent by way of an accessory will instantly keep the look modern and fresh so you maintain a relevant and youthful appearance,” Haver says.

Avoid orthopedics if possible

shoesNozdracheva Galina/ShutterstockFinding a comfortable shoe that also looks good is different for each person. “I have a high arch and I’m more comfortable in a bit of a heel rather than a pancake flat shoe,” Haver says. “I also look better with the bit of lift—there is no universal rule for heel heights.” But she says to avoid “fugly” shoes. “It’s well worth trying on different footwear brands to find the shoes that are the most stylish and comfortable for your particular foot,” she says. And yes, you can wear high heels and still feel comfortable.

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Let go of stress and conflict

stressAlliance/ShutterstockStudies have shown stress actually ages your cells—but this aging can also be reversed with lifestyle changes that include stress management. “When you reduce stress and conflict, you are turning off stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and activating endorphins, the natural pain killers in your body, which makes everything about you more youthful,” says psychiatrist Judith Orloff, MD, the author of Positive Energy.

Highlight your eyes

highlightMaksim Denisenko/ShutterstockWhen it comes to youthful eye makeup, try Carmindy’s signature move. “You want to ‘Carmindize’ or highlight the eyes using a cream or powder pearlescent champagne hue,” she says. “Apply it only under the eyebrows and on the inside corners of the eyes.” For eye shadow, she says to stick with lighter neutral hues like light brown, quartz, or taupe, and use a pearl or matte formula, not glitter or high shimmer. Try these shadow shades to enhance your eye color.

Lighten up your liner

eyelinerOlena Yakobchuk/ShutterstockFor lining your eyes, avoid the black color you’ve probably been using for years. “Keep eyeliner light, like chocolate brown instead of black, and apply it as close to the roots of the upper lashes as possible,” Carmindy says. Also, “keep away from using liner under the eyes, which can look aging. If you must apply something under the lower lash line, try sweeping a powder eye shadow using an angle brush.” And avoid these makeup mistakes that age your face.

Load up on antioxidants

fruitsleonori/ShutterstockAntioxidants like vitamins A and C and the newest “it” fountain of youth antioxidant fight against free radicals, helping you maintain a younger appearance. “When free radicals from diet or the environment threaten to damage skin cells, antioxidants fight against these compounds and protect skin cells,” Palinski-Wade says. “Diets rich in antioxidants may help to fight against damage from the sun and the environment, and protect against inflammation which accelerates aging.” Eat oranges, strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, and spinach to reap these benefits.

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Skip the all-over concealer

makeupinspired by the light/ShutterstockHeavy face makeup can settle into wrinkles and give you a washed-out tone. Instead, first apply a makeup primer, which can create a smooth base for foundation. Another typical mistake: Concealer is meant to go on after foundation, not before. “If you use a sheer dewy foundation first all over the skin, chances are you will need much less concealer,” Carmindy says. “Then just add a spot of matte concealer over any areas that are still visible.” Find out the other concealer tricks you won’t know how you lived without.

Flaunt a pink pout

Sergeizubkov64/shutterstockRed lips look heavy and unnatural, but a pinkish lip color adds a youthful glow. Plus, dark lipstick can “bleed” out of lips into lines around the mouth. “Dark shades will make lips recede,” Carmindy says. “Use a clear or flesh-color lip liner to seal in the color without getting that ring-around-the-lip look.” Also, choose a gloss instead of a matte lipstick for more fullness and shine. and try these other tricks to fake fuller lips.

Cut down on sugar and salt

sugarsumire8/ShutterstockA healthy, youthful body needs healthy nutrients—and to avoid unhealthy ones. “Added sugars and excessive salt intake can increase inflammation in the body, which can accelerate the aging process,” Palinski-Wade says. “Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen in the skin. The end result is accelerated wrinkling and sagging of the skin, leading to an aged appearance.” One study found people with a high blood sugar level were perceived to be older; another found salt increased cell aging in overweight people.

Apply blush correctly

skinwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockYou may be trying for shadows to create a high-cheekboned look, but placing blush under cheeks just makes you look bony. Go for a rosy look instead. “Place it high on the apples of the cheeks and use a big fluffy powder brush to apply it in a nice natural flush,” Carmindy says. “Small brushes blend on too much, and placing blush under the cheeks make faces look too angular and severe.” (You should know these other makeup rules by the time you’re 40.)

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Have fun with nails

nailsYAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/ShutterstockIn one study, nail polish was found to make hands appear younger looking when participants had to guess a women’s age based only on her hands. Carmindy’s rule for nails? There are no rules! “Here is where I say just have fun!” she says. “No rules apply really, as nails are the new accessory.” So feel free to try a fun color like blue, purple, or one of these other hues of polish that every woman must own.

Strive for healthy relationships

relationshipVGstockstudio/ShutterstockLetting go of toxic relationships and nurturing those that are healthy are good for your body as well as your mind. Research shows love releases the “feel good hormone” oxytocin, which can lower blood pressure, and better blood flow leads to a more radiant appearance. “Positive relationships nurture the positive energy in you,” Dr. Orloff says. “Love and appreciation from others makes you happy, more relaxed, and more attractive.”

Drink less alcohol

wineAndreyCherkasov/ShutterstockAs with sugar and salt, it’s best not to overindulge in alcohol because of its negative effects on the body—even at the cellular level, studies have found. “Alcohol can dehydrate skin and increase inflammation, both of which can accelerate aging and give skin a dry, wrinkled appearance,” Palinski-Wade says. Although alcohol may have some health benefits, it’s best to drink in moderation, along with plenty of water. Here are some everyday tips for cutting back on alcohol.

Get strong with protein

chickenMaraZe/ShutterstockOur lean muscle mass is made up of protein, so getting enough in your diet can help build and maintain your muscles to keep fit. “A loss of muscle can lead to a loss of strength and balance, accelerating the aging process,” Palinski-Wade says. “Less defined muscle on the body can also cause the appearance of looser, sagging skin, making you appear older than your biological age.” Focus on plant protein rather than a lot of meat for a healthy diet and stick with these eating habits your 80-year-old self will thank you for.

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Treat aging skin

facegoodluz/Shutterstock“Age spots” are really sun-damaged skin. “The key to removing age spots is to exfoliate skin to remove the darkened areas,” Dr. Patel says. Lightening serums may work, and professional chemical peels or laser removal are options, too. “People concerned about age-related spots should consult with their board-certified dermatologist on the best treatment for their case,” Dr. Patel says.

Start strength training

workoutSyda Productions/ShutterstockAll types of exercise are beneficial for maintaining a youthful look, but try to add strength training to your fitness regimen. “Regular strength training, with your own body weight or using external weights, can help to increase metabolism, increase strength, and improve balance,” Palinski-Wade says. “In addition, increased muscle tone helps to provide a more youthful appearance.”

Take a Pilates class

pilatesSyda Productions/ShutterstockPilates will help you stand up straight instead of hunched over, and give you energy to move about. “Pilates can help to increase core strength and improve posture,” Palinski-Wade says. “Holding your body more upright with improved posture improves balance, protects against falls, and helps you look younger.”

Cut layers in long hair

hairwideonet/ShutterstockYou need the right cut to make long hair work for you as you get older. “Some women feel attached to length because they think it makes them look younger, when in fact, it just hangs and doesn’t do anything to flatter or soften features,” says Mast. “Long, heavy hair really pulls down the face. Lifting up layers and adding texture to frame the face will take years off.”

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Keep a pixie cut modern

hairWAYHOME-studio/ShutterstockIf you opt for shorter hair instead, don’t cut it too short on top. “Often women go ultra short à la Jamie Lee Curtis, but a more updated and softer approach is in the direction of Michelle Williams,” Mast says. “Leaving more length at the crown gives a more feminine, youthful profile, which can be more forgiving for women as we age, especially when it comes to loose skin around the neck.” Not sure what’s would look most flattering on you? These are the best haircuts for your face shape.

Get your beauty rest

sleeplightpoet/ShutterstockBeauty sleep is a real thing—your body needs the rest time (seven to nine hours) to rejuvenate and repair your body’s cells and get gorgeous overnight. You know lack of sleep causes puffy eyes and dark circles, but there are other effects, too. “Lack of sleep dries out your skin, making wrinkles deeper and more visible,” says sleep expert Richard Shane, PhD, creator of the Sleep Easily method. “Collagen production increases during sleep, preventing sagging, and blood flow increases so your complexion looks better and younger.”

Be careful with bangs

bangsKzenon/ShutterstockYou might think bangs hide forehead wrinkles, but that doesn’t mean they should be straight, full curtains across the face, Mast says. “Too often I see women with these awful, unflattering, boxy bangs that they have because they think it makes them look younger, when it really just ages them further,” she says. “If you have bangs that suit you, the bangs will bring out your facial features and distract from your problem areas.” A soft sweep across the forehead may be all that’s needed, and be sure to avoid these other hairstyle mistakes that age your face.

Whiten your teeth

teethAndrey Popov/ShutterstockWhiter teeth can give you a brighter smile and the appearance of a young, fresh mouth. (You can even whiten your teeth naturally at home.) “Yellow or discolored teeth makes people look older and less attractive,” says dentist Nancy Rosen, DMD. You can have your teeth whitened by your dentist in the office with a procedure called Zoom Advanced Whitening, which is the most effective way, she says. Or, “if someone chooses the over-the-counter method, they should make sure they follow the directions. My favorite OTC whitening products are the Crest White Strips.”

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Going gray is okay

hairChutima Chaochaiya/ShutterstockAlthough coloring your hair may make you feel younger, don’t feel attached to it. “For some women, upkeep becomes impossible and you actually look younger and fresher with a full head of gray or white natural hair with a gloss over it, rather than fully covered,” Mast says. “It depends on maintenance and the time you are willing to spend.” Tempted to try it? Here’s what happens when you stop coloring your hair.

Or, choose a natural hair color

hairMonthira/ShutterstockIf your grays can easily be covered, you can choose to dye it for a more youthful look. “If you’re salt and pepper and roots don’t become a white line after two weeks, try sticking as close to your natural color and add in neutral-toned highlights no more than two shades lighter,” Mast says. “Avoiding chunky, unnatural highlights and asking for softer babylights will give a much younger appearance.”

Keep your hair loose

hairCorepics VOF/ShutterstockAlthough a tight ponytail may give your face a little lift, ultimately softer, carefree hair provides a more youthful, undone look, Mast says. “If hair is regularly too coiffed, there is a definite feeling of, ‘I put a ton of effort into looking younger,’ versus something that is less tight, less uptight, and more casual with a feeling of effortlessness,” she says. Try one of these easy work hairstyles that are made for the busiest mornings.

Try home remedies for skin rejuvenation

skincareAfrica-Studio/ShutterstockThe old trick of cucumber slices on the eye—as well as other cool things like cold tea bags or sweet potato slices—constricts blood vessels and reduces eye puffiness, Dr. Patel says. Some other home remedies? “Cleaning your skin with lemon juice can lighten sun spots,” she says. “Turmeric helps decrease free radical release.” Try adding the spice to foods, or take an over-the-counter capsule. (Here are natural recipes for amazing skin.)

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Hide thinning hair

thinchuugo/ShutterstockMenopause rears its ugly head on our heads, too! “I suggest investing in root concealer to fill in the hairline or spray on the scalp where hair is more sheer,” Mast says. “Another tip is to shorten up if you’re getting really thin. Better to have less that looks fuller than long strings of barely there hair.” Volumizing products can also help give more fullness, and hair color that more closely matches your skin tone can better conceal thinning and these natural hair loss remedies are worth a try.

Stay away from teeth-staining foods

wineImYanis/ShutterstockAnother way to keep your teeth white is to avoid consuming things that leave their mark. Avoid “dark soda, red wine, coffee, tea, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and red sauce and these other foods and habits that may stain your teeth,” Dr. Rosen says. “The less someone consumes of these products the less stain that will form on your teeth.” Rinsing your mouth with water after, or drinking through a straw may help—but, straws also can cause mouth wrinkles, so that might not be the best option.


volunteerESB Professional/ShutterstockHaving others need you creates positive, rejuvenating feelings that reflect outwardly and there’s a rewarding volunteer option out there for everyone. “Research suggests that community service and compassion can act as a buffer against stressful life events, protecting you from its impact,” says Emma Seppala, PhD, science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track.

See your dentist

dentistbezikus/ShutterstockRegular dental checkups and a professional cleaning are crucial for keeping an older mouth and gums looking good. “It’s important to get cleanings at least two times a year,” Dr. Rosen says. “Cleanings remove plaque and calculus from the teeth, which will make someone’s mouth look younger.” In addition, brush properly (Dr. Rosen suggests an electric toothbrush), floss every night, and use a fluoride rinse and consider these other things your dentist wants you to know.

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Take care of décolletage

neckAdamBoor/Shutterstock Your décolletage, or chest and neck, can also be a telltale sign of age. (Can’t pronounce décolletage? Find out the other fashion words you’re actually pronouncing completely wrong.) “UV radiation and the sun can damage these exposed areas, causing wrinkles and skin laxity,” Dr. Patel says. “Besides using sunscreen, a serum containing ingredients like retinol, vitamins A and C, ferulic acid as well as a spot-lightening agent can help.”

Meditate or do yoga

yogaLuckyImages/ShutterstockResearch suggests meditation may slow aging by reducing stress, improving well-being, and adjusting hormonal factors, Dr. Seppala says. (Here are more compelling benefits of mediation.) Yoga and deep-breathing can also help increase outward signs of attractiveness. “These techniques help you relax, open your heart, and center yourself—which gives you a more calm, centered appearance rather than being riddled with stress, which increases aging and makes you look older,” Dr. Orloff says.

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“Healthy” Hygiene Habits That Are Bad for You

Cleaning out your ears with Q-tips

cotton bud, swab clean health care on white backgroundang intaravichian/Shutterstock

Some people swear on Q-Tips to dig out ear gunk, but medical experts will warn you not to try it. And for good reason—those seemingly harmless cotton swabs have caused countless catastrophes, from punctured eardrums and ear infections to even hearing loss. According to Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, the ear canal doesn’t even need to be “cleaned.” Enough water enters the ear canal during showers to naturally slough away wax that has accumulated. Find out what your earwax reveals about your health

Bubble baths/bath bombs

Fizzy bath bombstikstofstudio/Shutterstock

Soaking in scented suds seems like the perfect way to unwind after a long day, but you may just find yourself with irritated skin and a nasty yeast infection. The fragrances and harsh detergents inside your favorite bath bombs can strip protective oils from the vagina and mess with the natural pH balance of the skin. Jen Gunter, MD, tells Safe Bee that bubble baths increase your odds for uncomfortable dryness, vaginal infections, and even bladder infections. These are the 13 things your vagina wants to tell you.


fragment of fountain water drops in the airAleksey Stemmer/Shutterstock

Gynos everywhere agree that douching isn’t exactly recommended for your health. Wendie A. Howland, principal of Howland Health Consulting, tells Reader’s Digest that douching disturbs the normal pH and washes out beneficial bacteria, leading to an array of possible infections. A study from Environmental Health even found that douching products increase your exposure to harmful chemicals called phthalates, which can disrupt your hormones, increase your risk of chronic disease, and lead to reproductive problems down the line. Find out the other daily habits that can mess with the health of your vagina.

Hand sanitizer

Soapy foam on woman's handsMr.Teerapong Kunkaeo/Shutterstock

If you’re a habitual pumper, you may actually be doing more harm to your health than good. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that triclosan, a synthetic compound found in hand sanitizer, is a poor (and dangerous) replacement for soap and water. And worse, “Data suggests that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in hand sanitizer could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.” Be sure to avoid these handwashing mistakes.

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Air dryers

Metal hand dryer on the white tiled wallXanderSt/Shutterstock

Sure, air dryers are better for the planet than paper towels, but research from the Mayo Clinic shows that paper towels easily trump electric dryers when it comes to personal hygiene. Electric air dryers fail at wiping away the leftover bacteria after washing, and even worse, they can literally spread it to the entire room, creating a contagious mist that contains many types of fecal bacteria. This reach is pretty powerful—studies found a substantial number of airborne bacteria within a radius of approximately 2 meters from the user.

Relaxing in the shower

Water jet from a shower head in the bathroomJanny2/Shutterstock

There’s nothing like lingering in a long, hot shower, especially first thing in the morning. But is it good for your skin? Alan J. Parks, MD, founder of DermWarehouse, tells Healthy Way that hot showers strip protective oils from your skin, so you should always keep them as short as you can. Better yet, take them at night—hot showers are actually most beneficial at night, according to science. The cooling process that happens afterward slows down the body’s metabolic activities (like digestion, breathing, and heart rate), making for an easier sleep transition. You’ll also want to avoid these other showering mistakes.

Washing your hair every day

young man washing his hair, taking a shower with foam on his head holds fingers in hair in bathroomAlena Pl/Shutterstock

While most of us have been conditioned (pun intended) to rinse and repeat ad infinitum, your locks may be paying a toll. Washing your hair on a daily basis strips away the natural oils that the hair needs, leading to dry, brittle locks, even if you have oily hair. These are other hair-washing mistakes you’re probably making.

Moisturizing too much

Closeup of male hands pumping out cream from white bottle on forefinger. Taking care of your skin - F 2.8Dodokat/Shutterstock

If you have dry, itchy skin, it seems natural to want to slather on the lotion every chance you get. But this may not always be the smartest alternative. According to the experts at Garnier, applying excessive moisturizer at night can create a tolerance, which trains the skin to produce less natural emollient, making it even drier in the long run. This results in a vicious cycle where your skin is no longer producing necessary nutrients, which only causes you to moisturize more. To prevent the problem, apply just a thin coat of moisturizer or try using an oil-free balm instead.

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Brushing your teeth right after a meal


Sticklers for oral hygiene may make a dash for the toothbrush after every meal, but that’s a mistake. That’s because certain foods, especially those containing citric acid, can weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon after eating damages the enamel in its already weakened state. Mayo Clinic recommends waiting at least 30 minutes after a meal so saliva can neutralize the acid in your mouth and strengthen the enamel on those chompers. Always be sure to avoid these other mistakes when it comes to brushing your teeth.

Exfoliating too much

girl cleaning her body with loofah body scrub, bathroomMosayMay/Shutterstock

You may feel like you’re taking extra good care of your skin with frequent scrubs, but in reality, you could be damaging your epidermis (the outermost layer of your face), stripping the pores of their much-needed barrier against the environment. According to Dermatology Alliance, your glands produce more oil to compensate, and as the skin fluctuates between too dry and too oily, it gets stuck in a cycle of imbalance. Ditch the scrub and switch to chemical exfoliants that are free of parabens and safe to use on a weekly basis.

Sneezing into your hand

Body language. Sick young african man in pink hoodie covering face with hands; sneezing; isolated on gray backgroundDamir Khabirov/Shutterstock

Covering your sneeze with your hand is better than sneezing into the abyss, right? Nope. Using your hands and subsequently touching food, money, or other people is a clear recipe for contagion. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most serious respiratory illnesses are spread by touching objects with contaminated hands. For the sake of everyone around you, politely sneeze into your elbow. Find out the hygiene habits you should STOP doing in public.

Spritzing fragrance in underwear

Close up of spraying perfume bottle on a dark grey background.MSharova/Shutterstock

Although most people have enough sense not to spray perfume directly into the nether regions, you might try deodorizing your underwear instead. The truth is that anything chemical near the genitals can interfere with your natural pH, and it’s likely you’ll be stuck with a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, or urinary tract infection (which ironically, all end up causing worse smells than what you started with). Do yourself a favor and let your self-cleaning vagina do the work—it knows what it’s doing.

Next, make sure you never, ever touch these body parts.

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Everyday Habits That Could Be Derailing Your Career

A negative attitude towards work … and life

Portrait of bored and tired Afro American female architect working on architectural plan unwillingly, feeling indifference, sitting at white office desk with blueprints and electronic devicesWAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

When someone is complaining all the time and has a bad attitude towards work and life in general, it really wears on those around them, especially as research shows these emotions are contagious. Eventually, this negative attitude will turn your coworkers against you, says Jason Patel, a career expert, former career ambassador at the George Washington University and founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company. “Your supervisors will end up becoming reticent to give you work because they don’t want to hear the corrosive things you have to say.” These are the 50 secrets your boss won’t tell you that you need to know.

Poor hygiene

Teeth care. Floss and brush on dark wooden background top view9dream studio/Shutterstock

Everyone’s in a rush in the morning, but that’s no excuse to skip brushing your teeth or putting on deodorant before leaving for work. “Bad breath and body odor will drive people away from you, literally. Brush and floss for your health, and for your professional habits,” says Patel. Don’t miss these office mistakes to stop making ASAP.

Lacking accountability

Angry boss scolding criticizing firing stressed intern for incompetence in multiracial office, sad frustrated employee receives unfair reprimand rebuke, suffers from bad attitude of executive at workfizkes/Shutterstock

A key indicator of narcissists is that they don’t take responsibility for their actions and attack others for team failures, says Patel. “At first, people will tolerate this attitude, but, over time, they’ll realize that you’re not cut out for leadership.” Instead, he advises, “If something is your fault, admit it and learn a valuable lesson.” Don’t miss telltale signs you need a career change.

Dressing down

A closeup picture of a part of the jeans that is a bit tornY Photo Studio/Shutterstock

More companies may be skewing casual with their dress codes, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to show up wearing torn jeans and flip-flops. “Dressing professionally gives you credibility and shows you fit in with the work environment,” says Brandi Britton, district president of the staffing firm, OfficeTeam. “In an OfficeTeam survey, 80 percent of executives said clothing choices affect an employee’s chances of earning a promotion.” Here’s business casual for women explained.

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Being too fragrant

young woman wearing black and white polka dot dress posing with a bottle of expensive perfume. beautiful and stylish european fashion blogger posing with perfume outdoors. perfect summer outfit. mlasaimages/Shutterstock

Smells in the office ranging from food to perfumes and cologne can be offensive and distracting. “They can also cause your colleagues to avoid you or perceive you as inconsiderate,” says Britton. “When in doubt, avoid items that may have a strong aroma.” Of the workers surveyed by OfficeTeam, 19 percent said their companies have scent/fragrance-free policies and identified eating stinky food as the most annoying.

Being too much of a people pleaser

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Do you consider yourself a “yes” man or woman? “People could start to view you as a pushover if you are always trying to do what everyone else wants done, instead of figuring out what’s important to you and your job performance,” says Heidi McBain, a professional counselor for women. Employers may see this as spreading yourself too thin.

Having poor attention to detail

Proofreader with red pen checks a transcription of some hand written textPixsooz/Shutterstock

This comes from being lazy and relying too much on spellcheck, among other things. You could have read a vast amount of literature and integrate a beautiful and effective vocabulary into your work, but if you can’t bother to read for grammar errors and typos, it means you don’t care enough to submit a proper deliverable. Simple and concise is better than sophisticated and riddled with mistakes,” says Patel.


Businessman looking at his watch in officeTawan Jz/Shutterstock

Being constantly late is a surefire way to sabotage your career. Patel says, “If the company has a work culture that emphasizes punctuality, tardiness clearly demonstrates a lack of faith in company culture. Leaders are quick to fire those who do not fit in.”

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Saying “I’m sorry” too much

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Be careful not to overuse the words “I’m sorry.” “Saying you’re sorry when it is not necessary, will make you sound like you are unsure of your opinion,” explains Jacquelyn Youst, an etiquette expert and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol.

Not being mindful of your verbal punctuation

Businesswoman Stands To Address Meeting Around Board TableMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

How you speak can give off a certain impression, bad or good. “Own what you say by using appropriate inflection and speaking with confidence. You will undermine your professionalism by ending a statement or fact with a question mark, which derails your credibility,” explains Youst.

Read more about why you need to quit asking professionals to “pick their brain.”

A lack of confidence

Mid-section portrait of two unrecognizable businessmen shaking hands against whiteboard with statistics graph in modern officeSeventyFour/Shutterstock

People follow those with confidence. “It’s important to project some sense of confidence. How? A firm handshake, back straight, head up, maintain eye contact, and interact with energy,” says Patel. Act confident, and you’ll end up building it… and your career. These are the 17 “soft skills” employers look for in job applicants.

Not paying it forward

Business people having fun and chatting at workplace officend3000/Shutterstock

Most successful people have gotten to where they are with the help of others. “At a more rudimentary level, if someone has helped you in the office, make sure to be good to others and be kind to the person who supported you. It’s a good way to build relationships and build your personal brand,” suggests Patel.

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Not truly becoming a part of the team

Glasses of red wine. Top view. The concept of party and celebrationOlha Tsiplyar/Shutterstock

Supervisors want you to integrate with the team not just because it builds camaraderie but also because a team that sticks together fights for each other. Even if you don’t drink, go to happy hours and laugh with your team or bring doughnuts every now and then,” says Patel. Becoming a part of the team will help you build a foundation, and these relationships will come in handy when you’re in need. Here are more ways to make sure you’re not the annoying coworker.

Putting personal life before work while at work

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We can all admit to leaving early for appointments, using work time to deal with that contractor who’s remodeling your kitchen, or texting your sweetie a quick hello. But when you constantly do this at work, it shows you don’t value your job, or your company’s time. Save the personal calls for your lunch hour. Be sure to banish these items from your desk if you want to get ahead at work.

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23 Daily Habits of People Who Never Get Sick

They press elevator buttons with their elbow

elevatorEveryday mistakes can raise your risk of catching a cold—and that includes touching surfaces that many, many other people have touched. A University of Arizona study found that a virus spreads to over 50 percent of surfaces and other employees within hours when a single person in an office is infected. Partha Nandi, MD, a leading physician and author of Ask Dr. Nandi, advises avoiding touching common surfaces when possible. Even after you wash your hands, “use a paper towel to turn off the faucet,” he says. These are the nine signs a cold is coming–and how you can stop it.

The post 23 Daily Habits of People Who Never Get Sick appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Surprising Habits That Lead to Sleepwalking

Up at night, still asleep

Magazines on the wooden tableEllica/ShutterstockHave you ever awakened to find yourself bumping around the house, or flipping through a magazine at your kitchen table, with no memory of getting out of bed? You’re not alone. Sleepwalking—the medical term is somnambulism—is more common than many people think. The National Sleep Foundation estimates between 1 to 15 percent of the general population sleepwalks—and a 2016 study put its prevalence right in the middle of that range, at just under 7 percent.

Check out some funny stories of sleepwalkers’ activity.

Sleepwalking can be scary

Little preschool kid boy sleeping in bed with colorful lamp. School child dreaming and holding plush toy. Kid angry of darkness.Romrodphoto/ShutterstockMost people have no memory of what they do during episodes of somnambulism. Still, it’s highly disconcerting to wake and find yourself not in bed where you expect to be. It can be especially disorienting for kids—and the parents who find their glassy-eyed children up but unresponsive during in the middle of the night. Children are more likely to sleepwalk than adults: Between the ages of 4-12, it’s estimated that 15 percent of children will have episodes of somnambulism. This may be because younger children spend greater amounts of time in the deepest stages of non-REM sleep. If you encounter a member of your household sleepwalking, whether child or adult, the best thing to do is to guide them gently back to bed.

Why do people sleepwalk?

Young woman with insomnia cover her face with hand in bedMita Stock Images/ShutterstockScientists are still figuring this one out. One of the primary reasons appears to be genetic. Somnambulism is an inherited trait—a 2015 study found children have three to seven times the risk of walking in sleep if one, or both, parents have a history of the sleep disorder. (Learn about how your mother’s health can affect your own.) But genes aren’t the only factor: There are many everyday habits and common conditions that increase the chances you’ll rise from bed to sleepwalk starting with the following.

You don’t stick to a regular sleep schedule

Alarm clock on the nightstadDiana Rui/ShutterstockSleepwalking is an arousal disorder that takes place most commonly in the first third of the night when you’re in the deepest stages of non-REM sleep. When you sleepwalk, you’re in a mixed state of consciousness, experiencing an incomplete awakening that occurs as you move through non-REM sleep. A regular sleep schedule reinforces circadian rhythms, which regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Irregular sleeping patterns undermine your circadian sleep rhythms and can change the flow of sleep among the different stages. You can reduce your risk for this parasomnia—and improve your health and performance—by sticking to a regular sleep routine. Check out these tips for sleeping better on a regular basis.

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You’re sleep deprived

Laziness concept. Hand on a white bed sheet in the morning with alarm clocktommaso79/ShutterstockCutting your snooze-time short also raises your risks. Sleep deprivation also can lead to more complex behaviors during an episode: People may eat, drive a car, or attempt to undertake all sorts of activities. I’ve had patients report they’ve done laundry, re-arranged living room furniture, and cooked food on the stove. The most significant danger from walking in your sleep? Injury to yourself, or to your bed partner. On relatively rare occasions, sleepwalkers can be violent. Learn how your sleep problems might be interfering with your good health.

You get stressed out

stressed young businessman sitting outside corporate office working on laptop computer holding head with hands looking down. Negative human emotion facial expression feelings.pathdoc/ShutterstockThat nagging anxiety you carry with you during the day? It undermines healthy sleep in general—and it also can increase your risk of walking in your sleep. Research shows psychological stress alters the physiological characteristics of non-REM sleep, including raising your heart rate. If you’re falling asleep agitated by stress, it can affect how your body moves through the different stages of sleep. Stress and sleep have a complex relationship—stress disrupts sound sleep, and poor quality or insufficient amounts of sleep make you more prone to stress. Read about how stress negatively affects the brain.

You’re drinking at night

Multiethnic group of businessmen spending time together drinking whiskey and smoking, multicultural business teamVAKSMAN VOLODYMYR/ShutterstockAlcohol is the most common sleep aid—research suggests 20 percent of American adults use alcohol to help them sleep. Drinking at night might make you nod off more quickly, but the truth is alcohol is a potent sleep disrupter.  Alcohol interferes with your circadian rhythms and nightly sleep architecture—the natural flow of sleep through different stages. Drinking moderately—and occasionally—is the all-around wisest choice for sound sleep. Find out how alcohol can mess with your hormones.

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You’re snoozing in a noisy environment

Calm adult male having nap while listening to song in bed, he is using headphones. Relaxation conceptOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

A loud sleep environment doesn’t just make it harder to fall asleep, it also makes you more likely to sleepwalk. We’re highly sensitive to noise, even after we’ve fallen asleep. Think about how quickly new parents wake to the sound of their babies crying, or how fast your eyes pop open at the sound of the bedroom door creaking open. Maintaining strong sleep hygiene habits will help you fall asleep more easily and stay both asleep and in bed throughout the night. Keep in mind, not all noise is disruptive to sleep. The key is to eliminate disruptive sounds and introduce soothing ones to your sleep environment. Check out these eight sounds that can help you snooze better.

You travel a lot

Traveler with a suitcase on the speedwalkAlexander Chaikin/ShutterstockTraveling can wreak havoc with your normal rhythms, increasing your risk of somnambulism. The irregular sleep schedule, the unfamiliar sleep environments, and the unusual noises all contribute. Travelers are also more likely to be sleep deprived than stay-at-home types who have a regular bedtime. If you’re logging massive numbers of frequent flier miles, you could find yourself more likely to be a sleepwalker. Be on the lookout for these uncomfortable effects that flying can have on your body.

You take medication

Healthcare, treatment, supplements concept photo. Woman arm holding heap of small round meds and glass of water before taking medication, shallow depth of field, focus on medicinefizkes/ShutterstockYou’ve probably heard stories of people on sleeping pills doing bizarre things. Sedatives are one type of drug that can trigger somnambulism—but there are others. Antihistamines, stimulants, medications with tranquilizing and antipsychotic effects all can increase the risks of walking in your sleep. Any changes to your sleep patterns are important to discuss with your doctor, especially if you’re taking over-the-counter or prescription pills. Read up on the mistakes people make with their medications that you might not know about.

You go to bed with a full bladder

White toilet bowlSThanaphat/ShutterstockMy patients are often surprised to hear this habit can increase the chances they’ll sleepwalk during the night. The physical urge to relieve yourself while in a state of deep, non-REM sleep may lead to the mixed state of consciousness—active, but not awake—that characterizes somnambulism. Don’t load up on beverages near to bedtime, and don’t skip the final trip to the bathroom before lights out. It just might keep you safely in bed, sleeping soundly, for the duration of the night. Find out what other common nighttime habits might be ruining your sleep.

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You’re sick with a fever

Female hands holding an electronic thermometer over the white office desk. View over the shoulder, medicine concept photo. High angle viewfizkes/ShutterstockAs if being ill weren’t enough, your fever can lead to strolling while snoozing. Other medical conditions can contribute as well, such as arrhythmia, nighttime asthma, and disorders that involve nighttime seizures, such as epilepsy. Find out what doctors really recommend you do when you think you’re coming down with the flu.

You have sleep apnea

Man snoring because of sleep apnea lying in the bedtommaso79/ShutterstockA 2009 study found 1 in 10 people with obstructive sleep apnea may experience somnambulism or other parasomnias, including acting out in response to their dreams. Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated interruptions to normal breathing, which can lead to micro-arousals from sleep. This is a serious sleep disorder that requires treatment through your physician. The most common symptom is snoring—particularly if it’s loud and accompanied by gasping or choking. Want to know what kind of snoring problem you might have? Take this quiz. Read about the symptoms of sleep apnea and what they might be saying about your health.

You have acid reflux

Pretty woman suffering from chest pain on couchwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockThis one catches lots of people by surprise, but it’s true. If you suffer from regular heartburn—a.k.a gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)—you’re at greater risk for being a sleepwalker. (Learn about the diet that’s more effective than medication in relieving acid reflux.) I see a lot of patients with sleep problems stemming from GERD—it’s one of the most common causes of poor sleep in adults. GERD isn’t only linked to somnambulism. People with GERD are also more likely to experience insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. The symptoms of GERD tend to worsen at night when you’re lying down. If you have nighttime GERD symptoms, it’s important to talk with your doctor—and ask specifically to be screened for sleep apnea.

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7 “Good” Habits That Can Actually Work Against You

Making direct eye contact

Instead: Avert your gaze.

Why: We’ve been told that looking someone in the eye conveys honesty, but if you’re trying to persuade a friend to try, say, skydiving, avert your gaze. In a recent study, researchers used eye-tracking technology to discover that subjects were less influenced by speakers who maintained the most eye contact, which seemed to work only when the audience already agreed with the speaker. “Eye contact can signal very different kinds of messages, ranging from attraction and interest to aggression and a desire to intimidate someone,” says lead study author Frances Chen, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. To predict the reaction, consider your audience and the tenor of the conversation: In friendly situations, eye contact can connect people. In adversarial moments, it could be associated with dominance. Don’t miss these weird habits that prove you’re smarter than most.

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Nighttime Habits That Lead To Weight Gain

Reduce Stomach Bloating: 9 Daily Habits That Flatten Your Belly

Dinner is your largest meal of the day iStock/stock_colors Americans tend to eat their largest meal of the day at dinner, but that could be a one-way ticket to extra pounds. “Loading up the body with calories that it never has an opportunity to burn translates to weight gain,” says Michael Russo, MD, a general […]

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