You’ve seen the commercials for magic creams that will make you look 10 years younger. You’ve read countless articles on how to take years off of your face or how to get rid of those pesky wrinkles. But what actually works?
The Fountain of Youth (sadly) doesn’t exist, but is there a close alternative? We’ve riffled through all the clutter of infomercials and expert opinions to find you the best de-aging tips out there:
Read more after the jump:
Watch What You Eat
The phrase “You are what you eat” rings true for your skin health and appearance. The worse you eat, the more your body shows the wear and tear of aging. It’s true that a healthy lifestyle in general will make a difference in your body in general, but there are certain foods that help your skin and slow the aging process more than others. So what should you be eating?
Dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD, says, “Antioxidants help protect skin against free radicals in the environment, which are damaging to skin cells… They work to prevent free radicals from breaking down the skin’s elastin and collagen, resulting in more youthful, healthier skin.” Foods that protect against age? Yes, please! Eating plenty of fruits and veggies will give you vitamins B and E, which are particularly skin-friendly. For vitamins B12 and B6, stock up on fish, poultry, and chickpeas. And finally, snack on almonds and sunflower seeds to keep your skin looking radiant with vitamin E.
Protein helps you look younger in a deeper way — through your muscles! Eating enough protein helps to keep muscle as you age and curb cravings to keep fat off of your body, giving you a more youthful, healthy look overall. Protein isn’t just great for a slim figure, but it’s also great for growing long, healthy hair — it’s a win-win!
Fat in your mouth doesn’t always equal fat on your body. In fact, some fats are actually recommended by doctors and dermatologists alike! Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fish and walnuts, keep you feeling full, help you to absorb the other vitamins you’ll eat, and promote healthier skin! Keri Gans, a nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet, said, “Omega-3 fatty acids promote smoother, younger-looking skin by reducing inflammatory skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.” Another perk — foods with omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to be a factor in reducing heart disease!
Drinking water is essential in having any hope of younger-looking skin. Not drinking water speeds up your skin’s aging process, so start drinking lots of water now! If you have trouble drinking enough water each day, try tricking your body into getting more by eating foods with high water content — like fruits.
Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your body, inside and out. Not only does it help you keep off weight that often accumulates with age, but it’s shown to be linked to younger looking skin. A team of researchers at McMaster University in Ontario found that people over 40 who exercised regularly had skin cells that mirrored those in their 20s. Those who didn’t exercise fell susceptible to the natural breakdown of the layers of skin. Of course, exercise alone won’t show dramatic differences, but exercise along with other anti-aging practices can help us achieve that 20-something radiant skin that we all used to have.
Sleeping sounds like such a simple solution to better looking skin. But sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference! Now, that doesn’t mean you need to nap constantly, but practicing these sleeping habits can help you decrease the signs of aging and retain your youthful skin.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Beauty sleep really is a thing! Just like the rest of your body recharges, renews, and repairs itself during the night, your skin does the same. You need that restful time so that your skin cells can regenerate overnight. So don’t skimp on the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night; your skin will thank you.
Get a Silk Pillowcase
Just like cotton towels can damage your hair, cotton and polyester pillowcases can tug and tear on the skin on your face. Opt for a silk or satin option for your pillow; it’s smooth on the face making it less likely to cause friction between your skin or giving you creases. Overtime, you should see the results of smoother looking skin with less fine lines than before.
Sleep on Your Back
Sleeping on your side with your face to the pillow can, overtime, create lines and wrinkles just on that side! With your face being in that same position so often, the wrinkles and contours of your face can become uneven, and the signs of aging will show even more. Try sleeping on your back. Not only will it help your face look fresher, but it helps back pain, neck pain, and can even prevent saggy breasts!
Manage Your Stress
Stress is not only bad for your mental wellness, but it takes a toll on your physical body, including the appearance of your skin. Stress can make such an impact, that it can even accelerate your body’s aging process, making you look older than you really are. Yikes!
To prevent this, try working on relaxation techniques to fight the stress of everyday life. If you can’t remove the stress factors from your life, make sure you are doing enough to counteract it. Make sure you’re making time for yourself to relax, get a lot of sleep for your body and mind to rest, and you can even take up a destressing hobby, like yoga or meditation.
Take Care of Your Skin
This tip seems obvious — of course you need to take care of your skin to fight the effects of aging. But with so many serums, cleansers, and creams, it’s hard to know what is worth the money. The bottom line is that everyone’s skin is different, so finding specific brands of creams and moisturizers will take a visit to your dermatologist for a more individualized approach. But in spite of that, there are some basic skin care techniques that are universal in helping you achieve younger looking skin.
This can often be taken to one extreme or the other. Some people never exfoliate, while others exfoliate too much and too often. Exfoliation is great for getting rid of the dead skin cells so that your smooth new skin can shine. Too much exfoliation makes it so that you are not only removing the dead old skin, but the new skin as well, revealing skin that isn’t ready to be exposed to the air and particles around you. Exfoliation in moderation is the best method for keeping your skin new and healthy.
Of all the creams and serums to use, using one with retinoid in it should be one of your basic skin care practices. Retinoid is powerful and accelerates cell renewal, making it great for healing acne scars, fighting wrinkles, and making your skin look rejuvenated. Because retinoid is powerful, it can often be a little rough on your skin at the beginning, drying it out easily. If you are new to using retinoid products, start with small doses and work your way up to a recommended amount.
Cleanse Every Night
We all know the rule of washing your face every night, but it’s often forgotten or ignored when we get so tired, cleansing our faces feels like the last thing we want to do. Fight that urge to go directly to bed! Your skin is clogged from makeup, dirt, and oil from your day- even if you just stayed home. Clogging your pores makes your pores bigger, your skin duller, and makes you more prone to breakouts. A gentle cleanser each night gives you healthier looking skin. So next time your bed just feels too tempting, remember that the results are worth the extra five minutes!
Remember Your Hands
You might be an expert in taking care of the skin on your face and neck, but the often forgotten skin on your hands can make you look older just as much as your face can! Hands are one of the more susceptible parts of the body to be exposed to the sun, to dirt and grime, and to a lack of care. Try to keep your hands sunscreened and moisturized to keep your skin supple and young; that alone could make it look like you reversed the clock on your skin.
Turn to Cosmetic Procedures
Unfortunately, not all aging signs are in our control, or sometimes we didn’t take care of our skin until we were older, revealing the damage we created in our youth. When this happens, it’s not a bad option to turn to cosmetic procedures to get back your youthful glow. These procedures don’t have to be big, or even expensive. Just tiny things to help you look your best.
A good rule of thumb to have if you’re looking into getting any cosmetic procedure: if you can still see your lines and wrinkles when you aren’t making an expression, it’s probably time to do something about it.
Some small options for cosmetic procedures, especially for the neck and face areas, can be Belotero, Restylane Silk, or Botox. These fillers can give effective results without creating a dramatic change that would look unnatural. As you get more serious into getting these procedures done, understand that you may need to travel to see a specialist who really knows what they are doing. Look at reviews, services, and check out the doctor’s before and after pictures of surgeries and procedures they’ve done. This will help ensure that you are getting someone who really knows what they are doing.
Remember the Little Things
All of these tips are important, but there are some smaller tips to remember to put into practice to fully prevent, or reverse, the aging process.
Smoking doesn’t just affect your lungs, it affects the way you look. Even just one cigarette can be responsible for your skin’s premature aging, stained teeth, and wrinkles. If quitting smoking doesn’t feel like an option at the moment, look into ways to reduce your smoking usage so as to not have such a dramatic decay of your body.
Whiten Your Teeth
Having good oral health is a good key indicator of youthfulness. Yellowing or stained teeth can age you quickly even if the rest of you looks great. Use whitening strips or toothpaste, have regular dental exams, and brush your teeth after teeth-dying foods, like red wine, soy sauce, and coffee.
Don’t Use a Straw
As silly as it sounds, using a straw often can cause wrinkles to form around your mouth and nose from consistent muscle usage. And those lines around the mouth are pesky and hard to get rid of. So save yourself the misery and ditch the straw next time you eat out!
Be Wary of Your Phone
Just like a straw causes us to overuse the same muscles, looking at your phone can do the same with the skin on your neck. Looking up and down from your smartphone can cause those crevices on your neck to get even deeper and more defined. Next time you look at your phone, try holding it at eye level instead of making your head and neck do all the work!
Of course, all skin and health concerns are specific to your body and should be talked about with a general practitioner as well as a dermatologist to see what would be the best plan for you. If you’re just starting out in the anti-aging process, or you’re looking to make small changes for big results in your appearance, following these tips can help you on the road to looking, and feeling, like your younger self!
Images by Kyrsten Galang for Beauty SCENE