We all know that too much sun and a poor diet can cause wrinkles but experts say there's countless other things wreaking havoc with our looks.

Experts have shed light on the surprising things that are causing men and women to age every day without even realising - and some of them will shock you.

From your shellac manicure appointment to your mid-afternoon snack, we've called on the best experts in the business to reveal the bizarre ways you're unknowingly adding years to your face.

The temperature of your house

As Corinne Morley, skincare expert at Trilogy, explains: 'Central heating, along with air conditioning, can severely dry out your skin. The closer you sit to a radiator, the more detrimental it may be, because the air may be hotter.


"If you already have skin conditions like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis, air-conditioning can make them worse, disrupting the skin's natural moisture balance."

Phillipa Lowe, Dermatologist and Simple Feel Good Skin Collective, said: "In the UK, the majority of us put our central heating on for over three quarters of the year.

This artificial and dry heat that central heating produces can have a drying/dehydrating effect on our skin. Chronically dry skin can lead to skin barrier damage and this can accelerate the ageing process."

Beat it by choosing skincare free from alcohol, but brimming with repairing natural oils like rosehip oil and hydrating water.

Your fortnightly shellac appointment

They have been marketed as the most convenient way to have glossy, chip-free nails for weeks.

But gel manicures could cause lasting damage to the nails and even increase the risk of skin cancer, dermatologists have warned.

A gel manicure uses three coats of a special type of polish from brands such as Shellac or OPI.

Each coat is set using UV light - and experts say this could have dangerous side-effects.
Dr Chris Adigun, from New York University School of Medicine, said the UV lamps damage the skin cells in much the same way as sunbeds.


"Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin cancer risk," he said.
And it doesn't just stop at your skin; nails become brittle, thinner and more fragile with age.

Having regular shellac appointments and not giving your nails a break from nail varnish, causes your nails to become dehydrated at a faster rate. Nail varnish can be toxic and incredibly dehydrating for nails. Dry nails are also more likely to absorb pigment from the lacquer, creating an ageing yellow tinge.

Phillipa Lowe explained: 'For those of you who have had gel nails/shellac, you will know that part of the process involves putting your hands under a light source.

Those manicures may be damaging your health. Photo / 123rf
Those manicures may be damaging your health. Photo / 123rf

'Unfortunately, the majority of these lights are Ultraviolet (UV) lights and although they usually emit very low levels of UV rays, any amount can be harmful especially with repeated use.

If you still want shellac nails, then ask your manicurist if they use UV or LED lights. LED light sources are safer.

"Also, ask for the fingerless tip manicure gloves to protect the hands during treatment - most salons will have these - or alternatively apply a good SPF and UVA protection sunscreen on your hands before treatment."

Protect your hands against the drying effects of water and you nails from varnish by using a nourishing hand cream - try one with organic pomegranate seed oil, shea butter, sesame oil and golden millet extract.

Manicurists also advise using a cuticle oil to banush dryness and help boost nail strength.

Your breakfast

They say you are what you eat but have you ever stopped to consider that what you're putting in your mouth first thing could be affecting more than just your waistline?

You may think that toast with honey or a pot of yoghurt are fuelling you for the day but, according to experts, your breakfast choices could be wreaking havoc with your skin and making you uglier.

Toast with jam is one of the worst offenders. As Milena Naydenov - Aesthetic Therapist at 111 Harley Street - explains, bread is high in sugar, which causes our skin to sag and wrinkle.

Described as one of the worst breakfast offenders by health experts, the high sugar content in jam can promote ageing. Photo / 123rf
Described as one of the worst breakfast offenders by health experts, the high sugar content in jam can promote ageing. Photo / 123rf

Explaining it in more detail, she said: 'The refined sugar within the bread causes a process of glycation.

"This process causes the elasticity of our skin to break down, making it sag and wrinkle. Excess sugar can stimulate the development of free radicals, causing damage to our skin cells."

Christine Bailey, Nutritionist and skin expert on behalf of The Harley Medical Group, explains why you should avoid sugary snacks later in the day, too.

She said: "Sugary snacks, sweet treats, puddings and excess carbs lead to a sudden rise in blood sugar and the production of excess insulin.

This results in the production of certain growth factors particularly insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) that stimulate sebum production and exacerbate hormone imbalances, leading to spots and skin redness."

Christine says that instead of always reaching for the biscuit tin, try snacking on antioxidant and vitamin C rich fruits like berries, pomegranate and citrus fruits.

"These help protect the skin, support cleansing and the production of collagen for healthy, glowing skin," she said.

The skipped gym session

Dr. Anita Sturnham, on behalf of Skincere, explains how your avoidance of the gym could be causing you to age faster.

She said: "Exercise reduces our risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes but we also know that it can be vital for healthy and radiant skin. When we exercise we improve our vascular health and every organ in our body, including our skin, gets a healthier blood supply as a result.

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin and help to reduce the free radicals floating around in the skin.

"This in turn helps to speed up skin cell repair and reduce damage. Exercise also reduces stress. If we don't exercise, our stress hormone "cortisol" can be extremely high and this increases our risk of developing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, oily skin and also has been linked to a breakdown in our healthy collagen supplies."

If you find you haven't been able to exercise in a while, ensure that you are exfoliating the skin throughout the week. Exfoliation not only helps many skin problems, it also increases blood circulation, which in turn helps you to achieve healthy and glowing skin.

Staying late at work

A combination of increased stress and late nights can be detrimental to skin. Under-eye bags, dry skin, acne, a flushed face and fine lines are all symptoms that could appear.

Additionally, stress can increase blood pressure and disrupt sleep, which can make you look older.

Unfortunately we can't change your work load, so to give your skin an extra boost of collagen by selecting a face cream or serum packed with hyaluronic acid, which will help put moisture back into your skin when it needs it most.

Increased stress can lead to dry skin, eye bags, and fine lines. Photo / 123rf
Increased stress can lead to dry skin, eye bags, and fine lines. Photo / 123rf

Happy hour

Christine Bailey says that not only is alcohol high in sugar but it can also be very dehydrating, which can cause the skin to look tired and dull.

A build-up of toxins can also take its toll on the liver and our ability to cleanse. This can show up on our face making it less than radiant looking.

Hydrate by drinking 6-8 glasses of water or try warm water with a little fresh lemon juice added. Other healthy options include coconut water, herbal teas and green tea rich in skin protective antioxidants.

To give your skin a boost, make up a delicious antioxidant-rich green smoothie to kick-start the day. Try a blend of spinach or kale, pineapple with a spoonful of protein powder and cleansing superfood green powder for a skin glowing tonic.