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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

10 Habits That Ruin Your Appearance


Just as there are habits that improve your appearance, there are bad ruts you can fall into in terms of diet, exercise and grooming that can ruin your appearance, even if you started out genetically blessed in the looks department.
To find out if you’re guilty of committing one or more of these sinful habits and to find out how you can change both your ways and your looks for the better, read on.


1) Smoking
As a result of the 4,000-plus chemicals cigarettes contain, 51 of which are known carcinogens, you're literally killing yourself every time you take a drag. When you smoke, free radicals form in your body and these destructive molecules damage your DNA, leading to pale skin with lots of deep lines. Of course, you already knew all that. What you may not know is that you can quit.

Begin by weighing the pros and cons of smoking, being truthful about what you enjoy about it. Then try to figure out ways you could get the same benefits without smoking. As well, learn from any past attempts you've made at quitting by examining what you found useful and what you didn't. It's a hard process and you have to find what works for you, but if you persist, even if you relapse, you will eventually succeed.


2) Suntanning without sunscreen
The majority of skin damage associated with aging occurs via overexposure to the sun. This fact means that skipping out on sunscreen followed by spending significant time outdoors will put you on the fast-track to leathery, wrinkled skin or worse, melanoma.

To protect your skin and slow the formation of future wrinkles, avoid the sun when it's at its hottest around midday. Also, slather on sunscreen every morning in the summer and reapply often if you know you'll be outside for a prolonged period.

3) Snacking on processed foods
Munching on processed foods has repercussions for your entire body. Not only will you pack on pounds, thereby nullifying any effort you put into working out, but you might also have a breakout if your skin is sensitive to processed products.

The rule of thumb to follow here is that white coloured foods should be avoided, meaning you should steer clear of anything that contains flour, sugar, margarine, or ingredients that have weird chemical names. Snack instead on raw vegetables dipped in hummus, fresh fruit or a couple of handfuls of nuts to keep the munchies at bay.

4) Drinking too much
Alcohol has both short- and long-term effects on your appearance. Because it's a diuretic, alcohol is dehydrating, so engaging in binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) even on one night will make fine lines appear much more pronounced the following day. What's more, swigging back a couple of pints every evening is the equivalent of adding several hundred calories to your daily energy intake, which can quickly lead to a beer gut.

Over time, regularly consuming more than two drinks a day will leave your skin blotchy and your body haggard -- physical qualities that aren't exactly enticing to the opposite sex.

5) Exercising just to eat more
Taking a 20 minute stroll to get to the burger joint is not a licence to down a calorific meal. If you tend to fool yourself with faulty logic in order to indulge, you'll notice the negative consequences of your denial showing up on your body in the form of fat. Any nutritionist will tell you that in the quest to stay in fighting-fit shape, a good diet is half the battle, so you're only sabotaging yourself when you make excuses in order to give in to your cravings.

That said, every now and again as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, you can feel free to treat yourself to a burger or other favourite junk foods -- just be realistic about how often you do it and how much physical activity you're getting.

6) Slouching
Not only is hunching over all day incredibly bad for your spine in the long run but it also has a number of not-so-good effects in the here and now in terms of how others perceive you. A slumped posture sends the message that you're lazy or lack confidence -- neither of which are characteristics you'd like people to remember you by.

In contrast, standing up straight makes your muscles appear more taut and defined, and shows that you're self-assured, which is a huge turn-on for women.


7) Touching your face
In between washings, your hands pick up all kinds of dirt, bacteria and grease from food. When you touch your face all that pore-clogging stuff gets transferred to your mug, leading to unsightly zits.
Furthermore, rubbing your face with your hands pulls your skin in all kinds of unnatural directions, thereby promoting the formation of wrinkles

8) Dry shaving
Apart from the serious ouch factor associated with dry shaving, not using shaving cream when you groom your facial hair will pave the way for skin irritation and rashes, shaving bumps and ingrown hairs. To steer clear of tender, painful skin and minimise your chances of inflammation and cuts, spend a few extra quid when you’re picking up new razors and buy some shaving cream from a reputable brand.

For superior results with a wet shave, shower beforehand to help open up your pores, then apply your shaving cream.

9) Drinking too many diuretics
You know you're supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day. If, however, you're also ingesting several diuretics, you're not doing your appearance any favours. Diuretics are substances like caffeine and alcohol that cause your body to excrete water.

Given that our bodies are 70% water, it's essential to stay hydrated to maintain proper cell functioning, and in turn, get a fit body and bright skin. So, if you can't live without your morning cup (or three) of joe, at least make sure you compensate by drinking more H2O.

10) Using whatever products you can find on your face
Many men lack a dedicated skin care routine, instead using whatever happens to be available to wash their faces, including bar and liquid soaps containing harsh chemicals that dry out the thin, fragile skin on your face.

By switching to a cleanser that's specifically formulated for your skin type (dry, oily or combo), you'll have clearer, softer, more youthful-looking skin.


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