Has anyone ever said you look tired? It’s another way of saying you look like hell. Saggy eyes, dull skin, and bloodshot eyes are all dead giveaways that you’re hungover, sleep deprived, or mistreating your body in another way. But a late night on the town isn’t the only thing that will make you look dreary. Here are a few unexpected reasons why your look can deteriorate over time and how you can best avoid them.
That morning coffee might seem utterly necessary, but beware—it dehydrates you and can lead to wrinkles and dull, dry skin. It also kills off the antioxidants that protect your skin’s elastin, says Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, director of cosmetic dermatology at Columbia University. And that can lead to wrinkles. “Never consume more than four small mugs per day,” she says. Switch to green tea, which has less caffeine and is packed with more potent antioxidants to keep your skin healthy.
We all know refined sugars and processed carbohydrates will make you fat, but they’re also terrible for your skin (hair, too). They leave behind end products that cause inflammation, which can lead to collagen breakdown, which leads to wrinkles, says Gmyrek. They can also weaken your immune system, which your skin needs to look fresh. Don’t eat or drink anything with the words high-fructose, white flour, or hydrogenated oils on the label. These are the most common processed food ingredients.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
At night, your body releases fluid from your bloodstream into your soft tissue, including your face. Over time, that fluid can pool around your eyes, stretching out the super-thin skin that surrounds it, says Gmyrek. Eventually you’ll end up with bags under your eyes, which will make you look tired and older.
Sleep on your back with your head on one or more pillows. That will drain all the fluid into your body so it can’t create bags on your face.
Those seasonal allergies aren’t just the cause of your sneezing fits—they can create dark circles under your eyes when they get inflamed. The increased blood flow to the area brings pigment cells that settle there and create discoloration, says Gmyrek.
Don’t only treat your allergies when you’re having symptoms. Use an antihistamine regularly—even if you’re not experiencing symptoms—to control your allergies because they can get worse over time, according to the National Institute of Health.
Dry Indoor Air
Ever wake up with scratchy, bloodshot eyes? It could be from the dry air in your bedroom. According to the National Institute of Health, sleeping in dry air can rob your eyes of moisture and cause your blood vessels to dilate, making you look tired, stoned, or both.
Invest in a cool mist humidifier. They’re cheaper and don’t generate heat like the warm mist models.
This article originally appeared in Men's Health US.