10 Foods That Can Make You Look Older

Look younger by avoiding these foods whenever possible.

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Chocolate candy bars
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Candy bars

Surprise, surprise: Tossing back candy isn’t great for the aging process. To understand how sugar can lead to older-looking skin, it’s important to consider the two proteins that keep skin looking fresh and youthful: collagen and elastin. Anything that interferes with these proteins is going to have a negative effect—and sugar is one of their biggest enemies. As sugar is digested, it leaves behind debris known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. Over time, these AGEs build up and attach themselves to collagen, which can lead to wrinkles and sagging, writes Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD, on thelist.com. Keeping those AGEs in check is key to healthy, youthful skin. And the first step is cutting the sugar.

Check out these 25 ways sugar is making you sick.

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Grilled, blackened chicken
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Charred meat

Ever look at the black char on your barbequed steak and wonder how that could possibly be healthy? Turns out, it’s not. Charred meat often contains pro-inflammatory hydrocarbons. That’s no good since inflammation can break down your skin’s precious collagen. Scrape it off with your fork instead.

Want to reduce pain? Try these 16 anti-inflammatory foods.

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Imported beer bottles
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Obviously, no one looks their best the morning after too many drinks. But the effects of alcohol on your liver are even more harmful. “When your liver is functioning well, toxins that could potentially affect the skin are expelled naturally through your body,” Ariel Ostad, MD, told Health. “But if toxins build up in your liver, and aren’t broken down properly, your skin can develop a variety of issues, like acne, sallowness, and wrinkles.”

Watch out for these signs of binge drinking.

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Close-up of bread
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Processed carbs

As you’ve heard again and again, carbohydrates are digested into pure sugar. And because of that, they boost AGEs and weaken the integrity of your skin’s collagen and elastin. Still, that doesn’t mean all carbs have to go. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can stay. It’s the white bread, pastries and breakfast cereals that get the axe.

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Close-up of white wine
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White wine

While all of the foods thus far have had to do with the skin, white wine can age you in a different way: by damaging your teeth. “Alcohol dries out your mouth. It decreases saliva, which is what washes away bad bacteria, leading to cavities and staining,” Brian Kantor, D.D.S., a dentist in New York City, told Women’s Health. And while you might think the dark colour of red wine would lead to worse staining, Kantor says it’s the opposite. “The acid in white wine causes your enamel to become more porous so that later, you accumulate more stains.” Save your teeth by swishing a bit of water around your mouth after each glass.

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Photo: Viktor1/Shutterstock


This popular alternative to butter could be damaging your skin. One 2001 study published in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition found that people who regularly used margarine had more wrinkles than people who didn’t. The correlation likely exists because the specific type of fat in margarine can increase inflammation.

Here are 13 essential vitamins your body needs to stay healthy.

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Potato chips
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Salty foods

Anything with a high amount of sodium—think cured meats, soups, and potato chips—is going to dry out your skin. “Excess salt in the body draws more fluid out of the cells to help neutralize the salt and draw it out of the body,” Beth Warren, RD, told Bustle. “As a result, your skin gets drier because of the lack of fluid.” That could lead to a wrinkled look—the opposite of fresh, dewy skin.

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Photo: Natali Samorod/Shutterstock


We already know that sugar can deplete collagen and acidic foods can ruin your teeth’s enamel. That means lemonade is a double whammy: This sugary, acidic drink can age both your skin and your smile.

These daily habits can make you look younger.

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Black coffee close-up
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You might rely on your morning cup of Joe to wake you up, but it’s important to have a glass of water too. Caffeine can dehydrate skin, which accentuates the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Adding cream and sugar could also damage the formation of collagen.

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Close-up of bottle of Tabasco
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Anything super spicy

As you get older, you might notice your rosacea becoming more easily aggravated. If that’s the case, tread carefully with spicy foods. “Rosacea is the skin condition that’s most sensitive to food,” Ava Shamban, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA, told Allure. “And spicy foods trigger inflammation and flushing.”

Next, check out these 50 ways to avoid catching a cold this season.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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