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All of us will sooner or later have to face the unwelcome signs of aging. It's only natural that our skin becomes thinner and thinner with time, showing lines and wrinkles and losing that youthful plumpness.
But, while we can't stop it, we can at least slow this process down a bit. So, ladies, with the right lifestyle choices and skincare habits, we can all look like Vera Wang in our 70s.
With this goal in mind, it probably won't be hard for you to follow some – if not all – of these proven tips and strategies for wrinkle-free and fresh skin.
Tip #1: Wear Sunscreen Daily
While the sun gives us positive energy and motivates us to wake up from the long winter slumber, it's sadly our skin's worst woe. It's playing a key role in our skin premature aging and can even cause skin cancer [source].
That's why dermatologists always recommend wearing sunscreen every day throughout the year. So, slather on your sunscreen while running around doing errands and shield every part of your body that isn't covered with clothing.
Besides wearing sunscreen, you can protect yourself by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and, of course, sunglasses.
Bathe your kids in sunscreen as well because skin remembers everything, and every sunburn counts. They will be thankful later.
Tip #2: Drink Enough Water
Don't wait until you get thirsty to drink some water. Thirst is one of the first signs of dehydration – another of our skin's infamous woes.
Staying hydrated and drinking enough water is essential in keeping our skin plump, dewy, and healthy. Lack of water in a body will result in dry and patchy skin and dullness and wrinkles in the long run [source].
So, have a water bottle with you wherever you go, and have regular sips throughout the day. The amount of water you'll need will depend on your body size and activities. But, if you're never thirsty, it's a good sign you're probably doing everything right.
Tip #3: Find Time to Get Your Body Moving
Regular physical exercise – at least three times a week – positively affects our skin's appearance. Moderate exercise will get your heart rate up, boosting your immune system and improving blood circulation.
That way, nutrients and oxygen are efficiently delivered to your skin, promoting a quick cell turnover and collagen production. As a result, not only will your body look and feel healthy but your skin as well [source].
Tip #4: Upgrade Your Skincare Arsenal with Vitamin A
Adding some topical retinoids to your skincare routine can really make a difference. They stimulate collagen production and new blood vessels in the skin, improving its tone and reducing fine lines and wrinkles [source].
While prescription retinoids are the most effective in providing a strong line of defense against aging, these are also the most irritable and should be used only with your dermatologist's supervision. Over-the-counter vitamin A-based products, such as retinol creams and serums, are just as good and are less likely to cause any side effects.
They might take longer to work, but as long as you're persistent and use them regularly, you'll slowly start to notice years getting erased from your face.
Tip #5: Say No to the All-Nighters
If you're a night owl and like to study or work till the early morning hours, you're not doing your skin a favor. Proper sleep is essential for our skin health as well as our overall health and well-being [source].
While sleeping, our muscles, brain, and skin go through a process of restoring and repairing. Sleep helps support the skin's ability to heal, retain moisture, and produce collagen. If you cut back on your snooze hours, you're not giving your skin enough time to repair itself. As a result, it'll show dark under-eye circles, puffiness, dryness, and more lines and wrinkles.
Tip #6: Ditch the Smokes
We're well aware that smoking is terrible for our overall health. It can cause cancer and other severe health issues, but it also has a tremendous impact on our appearance [source].
Nicotine, combined with other chemicals found in cigarettes, causes blood vessels to shrink, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to our skin. As a result, skin tends to get thinner over time and lose its elasticity, causing premature aging and an ashy, sallow complexion.
Tip #7: Don't Overdo It With Booze
Besides cigarettes, alcohol also has many adverse effects on our skin. It can lead to dilated pores, acne, and breakouts that can leave permanent scarring and age the skin in the long term [source]. It's also known to dehydrate the skin, sucking all the fluids and nutrients out of it. As a result, our skin becomes dry, sagging, and wrinkly.
While a glass of red wine from time to time is even recommended due to its high antioxidant content, drinking alcohol on a regular basis will age you.
Tip #8: Get Your Gut Health in Order
Skin is the reflection of our gut health. More often than not, various skin issues, such as rosacea, eczema, acne, and dull complexion, are in the direct link to our digestion and healthy gut bacteria [source].
For fresh and youthful skin, try to get your gut health in order by cleaning up your diet and trying out some probiotics and prebiotics supplements.
Tip #9: Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
Fresh fruits, veggies, supplements... whatever road you choose, stick to it and make sure you get enough of those vitamins.
Antioxidants promote skin hydration, elasticity, and collagen production [source]. They also protect your skin from pollutants and free radicals and remedy the damage created by oxidative stress. As a result, your skin will become more resilient, healthier, and wrinkle-free. Besides eating antioxidant-rich foods, you can also boost your skincare arsenal with vitamin C-based products.
Tip #10: Opt For More Protein in Your Diet
What we put in our bodies will show on the outside as well. So, besides getting enough antioxidant-rich foods, proteins should also be included in your diet.
For our bodies to be able to repair cells and create new ones, it needs the so-called building blocks or amino acids. In our skin, protein or amino acid chains are responsible for building strong collagen. So for healthy and youthful skin, eat lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts. You can also greatly benefit from taking protein or collagen supplements [source].
Tip #11: Consider Omega-3 Supplements
With age, lipids in our skin diminish over time. As skin's natural fats, lipids are crucial components, keeping our skin's protective barrier strong and retaining moisture.
Omega-3 fatty acids can replenish our skin's lipids and delay its aging process [source]. Omega-3s are usually found in fatty fish, like salmon. However, if you're not a fan of seafood or you avoid it because it's known that some fish contain high levels of mercury, you can opt for Omega-3 supplements, containing flaxseed oil or fish oil.
Omega-3s are great for fighting wrinkles and age and soothing irritation, dermatitis and keeping breakouts at bay.
Tip #12: Get Your Sweet Tooth Under Control
Research shows that foods high in sugar can massively impact our skin's appearance and speed up the process of aging.
This is due to the formation of the so-called AGEs that are stimulated with sugar. The AGEs, or advanced glycation end products, are produced when glucose links to the collagen and elastin in our skin, affecting its support in the dermis. As a result, our skin is less supple and firm, and fine lines and wrinkles start to show.
So, when you're craving something sweet, opt for dark chocolate or fruit. You can also use honey instead of white sugar.
Tip #13: Don't Skip Your Moisturizer
As we already mentioned, our skin is getting drier with age. This means less acne but plenty of fine lines and wrinkles. One of the main reasons for premature aging is inadequate skin hydration, but fortunately, it's an easy fix with a good moisturizer – in a.m., p.m., and once in between if necessary.
Look for a moisturizer that contains suitable humectants, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. In addition, occlusive ingredients such as vaseline and mineral oils can prevent skin water loss at night.
You might be tempted to skip your moisturizer from time to time, especially if your skin tends to be on the oilier side. No matter your skin type, you should always moisturize in your everyday skincare routine. You just need to find the right formulas.
Tip #14: Opt for Gentle Cleansers
Cleansing is another skincare routine step you should never skip. With cleansing, you're removing overnight or daytime product residues, makeup, dirt, and bacteria, allowing other skincare products to penetrate your skin more easily and have better effects.
However, to preserve your skin's protective barrier and make it resistant to dehydration and damage, you should opt for gentle cleansers.
Tip #15: Try Out a Humidifier
Having a humidifier at your home or office can help you and your skin a lot, especially during winter. Different heating units pump dry, hot air indoors, drying out your skin and making it flaky and irritated. This is undoubtedly counterproductive if we want to keep our skin radiant and hydrated.
So, try out a humidifier – particularly when you're sleeping. It will compensate for the lack of moisture in your bedroom and help your skin retain hydration and maintain a healthy appearance.
Tip #16: Steer Clear of Steamy Showers
Staying on this hydration lane, it's worth mentioning that steamy and hot showers or baths can harm your skin. While incredibly relaxing, hot water and steam damage the outer layer of your skin – the keratin cells, to be more precise.
Extremely high water temperatures can cause damage to the skin, similar to sunburn, disrupting its natural moisture balance and robbing you of natural proteins and oils, which are essential in keeping the skin healthy and young-looking.
Tip #17: Splash Your Face With Cool Water
Finish your cleansing routine with a couple of cold water splashes. Cold water will stimulate blood flow to your face, plump it up, and give it a healthy glow. At the same time, it will tighten your pores, preventing dirt from getting in and potential breakouts.
Tip #18: There's No Such Thing as a Healthy Tan
That sun-kissed glow is a big no-no when you're trying to trick your skin into thinking it's younger. Tanning is not only speeding up the signs of aging but can also cause skin cancer. It might make your skin look glowy, but it's only temporary. In the long run, tanning, whether on the beach or in solarium tanning beds, will fast-track wear and tear and cause sagging and wrinkles.
Simply put, tanned skin equals damaged skin. If you still want that golden tan and you're shy rocking those shorts with pale legs, opt for sunless tanning spays or the so-called fake tan.
Tip #19: Switch to Silk Pillowcase
If your budget allows it, give silk a shot. Silk pillowcases are kinder and gentler to your cheeks, making them a great choice for people with sensitive skin.
Additionally, they won't absorb all the moisture, letting your skin keep some and helping it fend off wrinkles and fine lines in the long run.
Tip #20: Wash After Sweating
We know that over-washing is something you should avoid. However, besides washing your face after waking up and before bed, you should also take a shower and wash your face after sweating – following exercises or wearing a helmet, for example.
Perspiration irritates the skin and allows dirt and grime to settle in your pores, making them larger and aging your skin. So, pay attention to your workout skincare routine – wash your face as soon as possible after a workout, and of course, use gentle cleansers and lukewarm water.
Tip #21: Dab, Don't Rub
Whether you're drying your face with a towel or applying a serum or cream, avoid rubbing your skin too harshly. Instead, use gentle dabbing motions.
Tugging, stretching, and rubbing can cause your skin to lose its elasticity and lead to the formation of etched-in wrinkles over the long run.
Tip #22: Don't Neglect Your Neck
The skin on your neck and chest is much thinner and tends to show the visible signs of aging much faster. If you don't take good care of it, it might make you look older. So, don't neglect your neck and decolletage when applying your moisturizer and sunscreen.
Tip #23: Exfoliate, But Skip on Harsh Scrubs
As we age, the natural process of our skin regeneration slows down. Dead skin cells aren't replaced by new cells so quickly, which means the skin begins to look tired, dry, and uneven.
Exfoliating is an excellent way to remove dead skin cells and promote collagen production in our skin, especially chemical peels [source]. However, it would be best to avoid harsh mechanical face scrubs, such as those containing ground nut shells, because they can irritate your skin, making the existing skin problems even worse. They can also damage the skin's natural barrier, which, in the long run, can cause premature aging.
Tip #24: Find a Way to Unwind
Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, have detrimental effects on our skin. Studies show that these hormones increase inflammation processes in our body and decrease its ability to repair damage.
The process of skin cell renewal slows down with age, but stress impedes it even further, resulting in our skin looking dry and less plump [source].
Therefore, it's essential to find ways to de-stress as much as possible. Healthy sleep, exercise, and meditation can help you unwind and have a fresh and glowy complexion.
Tip #25: Cut Inflammation in Its Root
Inflammation is the major cause of premature aging. It reduces the blood flow to the skin and causes the degradation of collagen and elastin. If not treated on time, it can leave a lasting impact on your skin and make it wrinkled before its time.
For a healthy complexion without signs of aging, you need to nip any inflammation in the bud.
Tip #26: Don't Forget About Your Lips and Hands
You should give some TLC to your lips and hands as well, not only your face. Lips and hands are usually the first in line when showing your age. And no wonder, since these are usually the only parts of our body we don't put sunscreen on.
As a result, our lips get thinner and thinner, and our hands show age spots and wrinkles. So next time you go outside, don't forget to slather sunscreen on the back of your hands and put lip balm of at least SPF 30 on your lips.
Tip #27: Try Sleeping on Your Back
It might come as a surprise to you, but the way you sleep is just as important as how much you sleep. We spend about 30% of our lives sleeping. Imagine having your cheeks scrunched in the same way for hours every night. It's only logical that this pressure will reinforce the existing lines and wrinkles and create new ones as well.
Dermatologists suggest trying to sleep on your back as much as possible. It will definitely take some getting used to, but it will pay off in the long run.
Tip #28: Give Laser Treatments a Shot
Although on the pricier side, laser treatments provide impressive results and can treat wrinkles, brown spots, blood vessels, and other skin issues [source]. These are very powerful machines, and dermatologists recommend always going to a board-certified doctor to ensure your laser treatment is smooth and without complications.
It might sound scary, but these treatments are completely painless and yield amazing results. With these, you can indeed turn back time and erase age-related issues.
Tip 29: Say Yes to Eye Creams
The skin around the eyes is very delicate and thin. That's why the first signs of aging can show in this area already in your mid-20s or early 30s. So, it's never too early to start caring for it to keep your eyes looking young and healthy for years to come.
Therefore, you should find your favorite eye cream and be persistent. Some of the ingredients to look for are vitamin E, vitamin C, niacinamide, coenzyme Q10, ceramides, peptides, retinol, and others.
Tip #30: Have a Go at Microneedling
Sounds painful, we know! But it actually isn't at all and is very beneficial for the skin. Microneedling stimulates collagen production in your skin, healing acne scars and filling in fine lines and wrinkles. However, as it does involve intentional micro-wounding of your skin to trigger healing process, it would be best to have it done by a dermatologist or a licensed esthetician.
Tip #31: Don't Always Fall for the Hype
Just because some products are trendy right now, it doesn't mean they are necessarily the best option for you. Cute packaging and catchy advertisement with celebrities might tempt you to try, and you may end up cashing out for something you won't be able to use.
Before any purchase, please do your homework and look for studies that prove that a certain product can deliver the results it touts.
Tip #32: Don't Go Crazy With Caffeine
As it turns out, caffeine, alcohol, and junk food not only damage your overall health but can also wreak your skin. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause your skin to become dehydrated and prune-like.
Too much coffee will make your skin look older in the long run. Plus, it heightens your alert state by increasing stress hormones in your body, affecting your sleep as well. All in all, it's one vicious circle. If coffee is your favorite vice, try keeping it in check – rather than having three cups a day, have one or drink tea instead.
Tip #33: Sip Herbal Teas Instead...
Packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, herbal teas are a proven aging preventative. Plus, they are pretty tasty! Instead of your morning espresso, enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea - the future you will be very grateful.
There's a variety to choose from. Chamomile, Rooibos, Dandelion, Peppermint, Ginger tea are just some of the many herbal teas that prevent premature aging.
Tip #34: See a Dermatologist
Regular dermatologist visits will help you stay up-to-date with the latest anti-aging treatments as well as skincare products. Your doctor will also have a better picture of your skin's overall health, follow up on any changes, and start treating any potential problems on time.
Certainly, your doctor will have access to stronger treatments and prescription skincare, which will yield more drastic results.
Tip #35: Pamper Yourself
Treat yourself to a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure...make sure to indulge and spoil yourself from time to time. Your mental and emotional well-being will positively influence your overall health and, therefore, your appearance.
This leads us to our next point...
Tip #36: It's Never Too Late to Start
Late is undoubtedly better than never! It's never too late to start caring for yourself and enjoy experimenting with skincare. You'll reap the benefits no matter your age. Changing certain lifestyle habits, like quitting smoking or including SPF in your daily skincare routine, will help repair some of the damage and make your mature skin taut and dewy.
Following these anti-aging tips will help you turn back time and erase some of those annoying fine lines and wrinkles. But most importantly, they will also have a positive impact on your overall well-being and health.
What is the best way to improve aging skin?
Some of the best anti-aging skincare tips would be wearing sunscreen daily, using antioxidant serums like vitamin C, exfoliating regularly, and trying professional treatments like laser surfacing or microneedling. It's also essential to sleep and eat well and have regular physical activity.
Can you reverse aging skin?
While you can't reverse aging completely, there are certain things your can do to improve the state of your skin. Those would be using skincare products and ingredients that boost collagen production and improve its elasticity, like vitamins C and A.
What to apply on the face to avoid aging?
The tried and tested skincare ingredients that help with wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging are topical forms of vitamin A or retinoids. The most potent retinoid is tretinoin, sold as Retin A, while the least potent are retinyl esters.
What foods are anti-aging?
The best foods for anti-aging are those that contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for building and repairing collagen in the skin, the protein that serves as the framework of the skin, but that degrades with age.
What causes rapid aging?
The major cause of premature aging is exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light. This light, especially UVA rays, causes mutations in the DNA of skin cells, leading to wrinkles, sagging, and sometimes, skin cancer.