My 7 lifestyle choices to slow down skin aging

Okay, so last week I showed you my skin care regime based on what I am currently using. But while skin care regime is one, how we live our lives play an important part in determining the state of our skin’s health too. So today, I’ll give you a glimpse of my lifestyle that is contributing to a slower rate of skin aging. Most of them are what you would call healthy lifestyles, with the exception of one maybe. (~_#k8SjZc9Dxk)

1. I avoid the sun
As if it’s not obvious but well, I put this first because I have seen how sun exposure can age skin real quickly. If I can turn back time, I would most definitely avoid all those times I spent under the sun without proper sun protection. So yes, I avoid the sun as much as possible; resorting to applying sunscreen daily and using other sun protection gears when I’m out. And if you’re wondering, there is no issue of vitamin D deficiency because I live in Singapore, where it can get terribly hot throughout the year.

2. I try to sleep by 10pm
It’s no longer an issue of sleeping 8 hours for me but rather, to try to sleep by 10pm because I’ve written before that this is the time that melatonin, the great antioxidant which is also known as the sleep hormone, makes its rounds around the body, scooping up free radicals and repairing damage. However, I’ve to say this is quite tough given my schedule so I usually sleep between 10.30 and 11pm. But seriously, I find myself looking the best when I can hit the sack by 10pm.

3. I sleep on my back
I’ve written various times before that this is best position to help preserve a youthful looking complexion. The reason given is that persistently pressing our faces into a pillow can encourage facial crinkling and over time, aggravated by the friction of a cotton pillowcase, can create permanent creases as our collagen breaks down. In addition, the weight of our own faces impairs circulation to the part we have pressed into the pillow and this compromises the skin’s regenerative abilities. Sleeping on our back also reverse gravity’s effects levied through the course of the day.

4. I do not really watch what I eat
Okay, what I mean by this is that unlike most ladies who would avoid eating fatty meat, I love eating them. In fact, I love fatty meat and I eat stuff such as as pig’s tails, pig’s trotters, pig skin, chicken skin, fish skin, etc. In recent years, I’ve cut down on these intake but I still lap up fish skin whenever I find them…especially because nobody else in my family wants to eat them. But I do try not to take too much refined sugar and salt. I also eat plenty of fruits with high antioxidant properties and drink lots of water in a day.

5. I don’t smoke
Thank goodness I’ve never picked up on smoking. In fact, I hate smelling smoke as I know through my research that accumulated nicotine from smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin, reduces blood flow to the skin, depriving the skin cells of vital oxygen and robbing it of even more nutrients.  Besides reducing the body’s store of vitamin A which protects against skin damage and vitamin C which protects against free radicals,  studies have also shown that smoking reduces the production of collagen and elastin and in some reports, by up to 40%.   As a result, skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely.

6. I don’t drink
Alcohol is said to be a diuretic and so it dehydrates our bodies, resulting in skin that loses its plump, firm and dewy appearance.  Not only that.  Our face can appear puffier and our undereye becomes darker because alcohol is a vasodilator which opens blood vessels.  In fact, when we have too many drinks, our bodies have to divert blood flow, oxygen and nutrients away from our skin to our vital organs, resulting in skin having poorer blood circulation. Additionally, drinkers also have a sallowness in their faces,  a direct result of an overstressed liver having difficulty with its detoxifying duties. And alcohol actually promotes the growth of “bad collagen” or scar tissue in both the skin and liver. I used to be quite a heavy drinker in my 20s and I’m so glad I’ve stopped consuming alcohol when I hit my 30s. Better late than never!

7. I try to keep my mind stress free
Of course I have stress like everyone else but I make a point to keep them in check as I am aware that a high amount of stress can lead to more cortisol being secreted and a high level of cortisol can affect the immune cells in the epidermis, disrupting the skin’s barrier and weakening the skin’s defenses against UV light and other pollutants and infections.

You should have noticed that I don’t exercise. Okay, there you got me! I really need to get my butt moving more often other than sitting around all day long.


  1. xin says:

    ooops! neither do i exercise….nor go to bed by 11pm. in fact, i have been sleeping late :S it’s definitely something that i have been trying to remedy

  2. Eva says:

    You’re so well-disciplined! I’m really trying hard to hit the sack by 10PM but it’s so hard to do! I’m currently a grad student and I can’t even remember when was the last time I slept early or even got enough sleep. Stress can also be an issue.

    Well, at least I don’t drink or smoke, right? =D

  3. Reese says:

    I think my biggest aging foe is stress, I am not really good with handling stress, sometimes things do bug me for days even though I have tried managing it.
    Imagine even sometimes a massage stress me out ><"

  4. Chris says:

    The only ones on your list I do not do are drink alcohol and avoid stress. I live with my bipolar boyfriend, so stress is unavoidable. I am a vegetarian and I eat fruit all the time, and drink lots of water, so I am “well-behaved” in that regard. ?

  5. Chelsea says:

    I have been trying to sleep on my back, but lately I’m just happy to sleep at all. I’ve been co-sleeping with my baby as a result since I nurse, but the side of my face always gets rubbed. (So long, moisturizer!) Maybe I’ll switch to a silk pillowcase.

  6. Emily Chia says:

    You are sure a healthy person. ? I dun avoid fatty food because somehow I feel your skin needs some of this fats. But I am cutting down now. I am on diet so fatty things must be cut down. How I envy ur life to be able to sleep at 10pm. I am still at school at 10pm and doing assignments till 3am in the morning. I did find that my skin aged a lot this few months. In addition to that the date due for project is also a major stress for me. Since I am taking part time degree.

  7. jozefin says:

    I can’t sleep on my back although I try very hard to not toss or turn all night. I used to be a night owl in my uni days but having since graduated this year, I’ve started to sleep by 10pm or latest, midnight. I think it’ll take a while to reverse the damages done. I am a social drinker but I don’t smoke. I’m not an avid user of sunscreen as I tend to sweat and my face turns oily. Anyway, like you said, better late than never!

  8. Sylvia says:

    I’m not doing so bad on most of these but the sleeping on your back is a killer for me. I tried but cannot do it. The silk cushion sheet does not help. You can already clearly see the sleeping wrinkles on my face. I’ve tried a different cushion but those special cushions don’t really appeal. I just enjoy sleeping on my side so much and burying my face into the cushion. In the end I’ve decided that sleep is more important than wrinkles, but it’s a bummer nonetheless….

  9. Vonvon says:

    Yes, I do notice that on the rare nights when I go to bed by 10pm or slightly earlier, the next morning, my skin looks great compared to the nights when I go to bed late.

    I rarely exercise too but now living in the countryside, I have been walking a lot and taking in the fresh air. So I guess this helps and counts towards exercise, eh?

    But because we see sun here only occasionally, I love to bask in the sun when the sun does make an appearance. But loads on sunscreen on the face, and even any exposed part of the body. Even Hubby commented that I am probably the only person among our friends who is so obsessed with sun protection! ? but in Malaysia, I avoid the sun like the plague!

    Stress?? Hmmm….dont know how to combat that!

  10. ladystapler says:

    Best tip list I have read. Must try the sleep by 10pm rule, I am nocturnal this will be very very hard for me….hahahaha

  11. Mel says:

    Thanks for the informative post! I’n in my late 20s and am battling acne and eczema problems recently so I’ve been reading with great interest your earlier posts and how you managed your acne issues. Though I have to say I’m not making much inroads in my battle against acne!

    I do note that when i get to bed by 11pm, my acne seems less inflamed the next morning, on top of lighter dark eye cycles. I suppose my years of late nights during my undergrad years and working life is now taking a toll on my face! =S I read on other blogs that some people experience postiitve effects from watching their diet religiously but it’s so hard to do so when you have to take meals outside. I’m trying to up my intake of fruits and am taking chinese herbal detox soup on a regularly basis.

    Can I ask if you took oral medication to help treat your acne? I’m not keen to start but it really does seem to be the most effective method….

  12. espenine says:

    Well, I know of people who smoke, drink, load thick makeup & party till late hours. Yet their skin is totally poreless & flawless. Life isn’t fair, aint it?

  13. sesame says:

    I took and am still taking Kordel’s mega acidophilus, which is a probiotic. I knew I had some digestive issues and I did a detox and then I take this daily now. It really keeps my acne in check. Your acne sounds more like from stress…where are they located? Take a look at this diagram and see if you can identify the trouble spot.

  14. sesame says:

    Ah…sleeping is really important and It would be good if you can adjust your sleeping hours to sleep earlier.

  15. sesame says:

    Walks and taking in fresh air are great! You’re so fortunate Vonvon to live in the countryside. As for stress, hmm, it’s very personal. I cast my cares to my Lord! ?

  16. sesame says:

    Well, if you really can’t sleep on your back, don’t force yourself. At least you’re sleeping well on your side rather than struggling to sleep on your back. It would probably help if your pillow is softer…provided it’s comfortable for you.

  17. sesame says:

    If you can’t use sunscreen that regularly, at least protect your skin via sun protection gear like umbrella, hat or sunnies. They’re helpful for sure for those who can’t use sunscreen. If you’re open to using sun protection supplements like Heliocare, they’re also help to some extent.

  18. sesame says:

    Well, not really healthy healthy but a-okay I guess. As we age, we do watch these things more. ? You’re still young so chances are, you tend to sleep late. But I’ve always been an early sleeper…I can wake up early but cannot really stay up late. Try to catch up on your sleep when your assignments / exams are over.

  19. sesame says:

    I don’t know about silk pillowcase, they’ll help I read but I think a softer pillow is probably quite good too if you’re comfortable sleeping on it.

  20. sesame says:

    Hmm…I’m sorry if I come across as intruding your privacy or violating your religious belief but I just wanna share with you that just this Sunday, I heard of a miraculous healing of someone with a bipolar condition – someone who lives in US. He was also dyslexic. He was healed, after reading my pastor’s book. Very amazing testimony.

  21. sesame says:

    It can be difficult handling stress on our own cos we tend to look inward. Does listening to music help you at all if massages stress you out?

  22. sesame says:

    Ah…you’re still young so naturally, your priorities are your studies. When I was schooling, I can never stay up…my friends had to come and knock on my door at the hostel to keep me awake.. But I tended to wake up earlier to study then.

    Catch up on your sleep when your exams are over and yeah, it’s definitely great you don’t drink or smoke. ?

  23. sesame says:

    Maybe it helps that I have a son who reminds me to sleep earlier or otherwise, I’ll spend time surfing the Net or reading instead of sleeping early too.

  24. sesame says:

    They are probably the exceptions but sometimes the aging won’t set in till later. I partied a lot in my 20s and I have to say that apart from my pigmentation issues, my skin was generally good then too but who knows… it might have been better without those. I think aging sets in at some point and if they continue on that lifestyle in the long haul, their skin may not look as amazing.

  25. Amanda says:

    Except number two, I almost follow all of the above lifestyle choices. Being a working woman, I always come home late at night around 8. So, sleeping before 10 is literally impossible considering that there are so many distractions in our life ?

  26. TLe says:

    I recently started wearing hat tho not sure how effective that is, considering all other ‘bad’ habits. I have become regular drinker in my 30s, to make up for my nursing years in the 20s- lol. I guess I will adopt one good habit at a time, tho not sure which will be last- sleeping on the back or giving up drinks!

  27. sesame says:

    Giving up drinks would probably be the option I’ll choose…but you can still drink…moderately. ?

  28. sesame says:

    True…need some adjustment there but I’ll rather sleep earlier than later and wake up earlier to ensure everything gets done.

  29. EcoBeauty says:

    Stress and lack of sleep are probably the worst ugly-fying habits and factors for me. I’m always very stressed about work and have the tendency to always overwork myself which also affects my sleeping habits. My mind is so active sometimes that I can’t switch it off even in my sleep.

    But through the years, I have seen their dire effects on my skin and how fast I’m aging. During my teens, I could afford not to sleep at all and although I ended up looking like a drug addict on most days, the effects were temporary which I could easily recuperate from. But now, all the accumulated body abuses are showing up slowly but surely… I agree with what y0u said above that although the effects of abusing our health and beauty through smoking, drinking, sleeping late, etc.. may not show up too early, they are bound to manifest later in life.

  30. Reese says:

    What I do is I force myself to smile because I believe things will work itself out eventually, and recently I took up some breathing techniques as well. Hope practice makes perfect ;P

  31. Mel says:

    Thanks for the link! I can’t read the map very well as the areas look close in terms of colours! Haha anyway I get more serious acne on my jaw line and cheeks, up to the side of ny eyes. They take forever to heal!! And well, I must admit it doesn’t help that I have the compulsive habit of picking on them when I am stressed! I have also recently started taking the same Kordel supplements but have yet to see significant impact…

  32. Swati says:

    10PM rule is something which really works I saw yesterday. I slept early and got up at 8 around and my face was plumper, refreshed and looked better!!! but, I have never really learnt to sleep on my back. I feel that I don’t get god sleep if I don’t sleep in a cuddly way ?

  33. sesame says:

    To sleep on the back, you really need to train the body. I started using a bolster under my feet…but that works for me and not sure if it’ll work for others. But on and off, I still find myself rolling to the side. Anyway, it’s good you got to sleep earlier…that’s really a gem on its own!

  34. sesame says:

    Okay, jawline and cheek sounds like a digestive issue…I had that and one expert confirmed that for me. Is your acne the cystic type, meaning if it pops, you’ll get deep scarring? Cos internal issues would cause cystic type of acne. A few things you gotta find out for yourself is, how’s your digestive system? Do you visit the toilet daily? And how’s your diet. Typically, from my reading and understanding, a digestive issue can cross over to hormonal issues so both are in the sense related. I was fortunate that I managed to self-medicate by finding out the cause, then going through a detox before starting on the probiotics. But I would reckon the formula may not work for all.

  35. sesame says:

    Nah, as we age, we really gotta rest more. I’ve found that out through the hard way too. Now it’s a case of the spirit is willing, but the body is unable. ? And I hope your work stress is temporary or seasonal and not long term.

  36. Mel says:

    same for me! and i’m really “reaping wahat i sow”… =(

  37. Mel says:

    Just wondering what you mean by deep scarring? Does it refer to it looking red/inflamed and scabby for long periods? And sometimes not even reverting to a flat surface after it’s popped?

    Since young, I’ve suffered from constipation so I’m never regular. Diet i suppose generally ok, though in recent years it’s become more rich due to having to entertainment lunches etc…I’ve read somewhere that milk could contribute to hormonal inbalance and I’ve switched to soya bean milk…

    I’m guessing that my root cause is stress and hormones cos this thing only started flarring up after i switched jobs and well i’m under tremendous stress here…trying to take it easy but well, it’s hard. Have you tried/come across any wholistic remedies for hormomal imbalances?

  38. sesame says:

    Yup that and also it leaves a small hole.

    Hormonal issues are a little tricky. I would advice you to seek consultation with a doctor or a TCM practitioner. But doctors will typically prescribe birth control pills and those are not good when taken long term.

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