If You're Over 50, Doing This While You Drink Is Making You Look Older

You don't have to change your entire lifestyle to avoid it.

The internet is full of advice about aging gracefully that applies to every facet of life. If you've been paying attention, you know you should consume a well-balanced diet, invest in SPF, and clear your makeup bin of the colors that could add years to your look. Sometimes, this advice veers silly; other times, it's the kind of helpful stuff that older you will be glad you implemented. We're here to serve you more of the latter. Read on to discover the drinking mistake that's making you look older if you're over 50. Fixing this bad habit now is easy, but eliminating the wrinkles it could bring you down the road could be much more difficult.

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This is how signs of aging develop.

Man looking at his wrinkles in the mirror
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The most visible signs of aging on your face are fine lines and wrinkles. So, before we get into the drinking mistake that can accelerate these pesky marks after 50, we'll discuss what causes them in the first place. According to Erum N. Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, wrinkles are caused by three key things: loss of volume and fat, thinning of the skin, and muscle contraction.

"As we get older, we naturally redistribute fat and lose volume in certain areas of our face while perhaps gaining in others," says Ilyas. "Volume loss is both made up of fat and a reduction of the bony structure underlying our skin such as the cheekbone." In addition to fat loss, thinning of the skin allows it to hold onto wrinkles more easily; skin thinning is caused by aging and UV exposure, adds Ilyas. Finally, muscle contraction—or repeated motion in certain parts of your face—can cause wrinkles over time.

Dermal collagen, a protein that serves as one of the building blocks of the skin and keeps it looking plump and youthful, and hyaluronic acid, a compound that helps to keep skin moisturized, also come into play, says Audrey Kunin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of DERMAdoctor. "We lose one percent of dermal collagen every year after the age of 40," she explains. "Dermal hyaluronic acid also becomes depleted, both of which contribute to wrinkle formation."

Using this popular product can make you appear older.

Man drinking lemon water through a straw
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If you're looking to slow the signs of aging, you may want to avoid drinking from a straw, which can contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles in the mouth area. "Repetitive puckering builds the muscles that surround the mouth making them bulky," says Kunin. "Creases develop between the muscle fibers which results in the deep, visible wrinkles at rest." In other words, your daily Starbucks order could be contributing to visible signs of aging.

The type of drink you're imbibing makes a difference, too. "Ultimately, it would be the force and persistence of contraction of the perioral muscles that can contribute to wrinkles," says Ilyas. (The perioral muscles are the muscles around the mouth and in the lower third of the face.) "For example, thicker liquids such as smoothies may require more force to contract to create negative pressure to drink," she says.

Doing so can be especially aging after 50. "When we're young, our skin bounces back after squinting, smiling, or laughing," says Elaine F. Kung, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Future Bright Dermatology. However, dynamic wrinkles, which occur when expressing an emotion (or doing something like sucking on a straw) eventually become static wrinkles, which are wrinkles that are present even at rest. "This is because static wrinkles are caused by loss of fat, collagen, and elastin," says Kung. "These types of wrinkles are visible regardless of the muscle action."

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Other habits can also contribute to fine lines and wrinkles.

Woma

Drinking from a straw isn't the only habit to blame for fine lines and wrinkles. "For example, vertical lip lines can occur from smoking, kissing, or whistling," says Kung. "Crow's feet can occur from squinting and smiling with our eyes." Of course, that doesn't mean you should give up activities like smiling or laughing—obviously—but if you're concerned about the signs of aging, you may want to pass on the habits you can control to minimize the formation of wrinkles.

There are quick fixes available.

stop judging women over 40
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Once wrinkles are present, it can be difficult to eliminate them. But one way to reduce their appearance is with an injectable such as Botox. "Injecting botulinum toxin into the orbicularis oris muscle, or the 'kissing muscle,' can help relax the upper lip," says Kung. "This will help reduce the visible vertical lines when we purse our lips." Hyaluronic acid fillers can also be used to resolve these lines, says Kunin. Fillers can fill in lines and wrinkles to make their appearance less harsh.

However, the simplest way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles is to prevent them from forming in the first place. And to do that, you may want to remove that straw from your beverage of choice.

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Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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