- 7 Anti-Aging Tips for Your Skin
- 1. Use a Gentler Face Wash
- 2. Start Using Retinoids
- 3. Upgrade Your SPF Routine
- 4. Use a Richer Face Cream
- 5. Watch What You Eat
- 6. Consider Supplements
- 7. Exfoliate Weekly
- 5. Moisturize Daily
- 6. Use a Humidifier
- 7. Exfoliate
- 8. De-Stress
- 9. Do Low-Impact Exercise
- 10. Try Facial Exercises
- 11. Massage Your Face
- 12. Catch More ZZZs
- 13. Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup
- 14. Sleep on Your Back
- 11 ways to reduce premature skin aging
- The effects of aging: can they be reversed?
- The genetic aging theory
- Oxidative stress and telomere length
- Extending telomere length to slow aging
- Eradicating mitochondria to rejuvenate aging cells
- Reversing brain aging
- Eat well and exercise to reduce the effects of aging
- Worried about those wrinkles?
- Skin care in your 40s and 50s
- How to Care for Aging Skin
- BUT FIRST: Let’s get honest
- Level 1: You have a semblance of a skincare routine.
- What to Use:
- How to Use ‘Em:
- Products for Level 1 Laziness:
- Level 2: You can only manage a moisturizer.
- What to Use:
- How to Use It:
- Products for Level 2 Laziness:
- Level 3: You washed your face, uh, last week?
- Products for Level 3 Laziness:
7 Anti-Aging Tips for Your Skin
The formula for youthful-looking skin could be as close as your nightstand or medicine cabinet. That’s because using the right skin-care products can make a big difference in your complexion and help avoid signs of aging, like wrinkles.
“Your skin is a living organ that changes over time,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a Los Angeles dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face. “Adjusting your skin care to accommodate these changes will help your skin stay healthy and looking its best.”
Here are some tips and products that can age-proof your skin:
1. Use a Gentler Face Wash
When you cleanse your skin, use a gentle touch and formula. “Skin tends to get less oily and more sensitive,” Dr. Wu says. “So even if you still get adult acne breakouts, you may want to use a more gentle face wash instead of a drying acne wash.”
Try MD Complete Anti-Aging Restoring Cleanser & Makeup Remover, a mild face wash that uses essential fatty acids to deliver major hydration and green tea to fight against damage from free radicals — compounds that attack cells.
Be sure to use a light hand, cleansing in gentle, circular motions. Aggressive scrubbing could irritate already sensitive skin and accelerate aging, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
2. Start Using Retinoids
Over time, skin can begin losing collagen, the protein responsible for keeping it looking smooth and lifted. This loss can result in a creased look. Experts agree that the best line of defense is to use a retinoid, the prescription-strength version of vitamin A.
“I start recommending retinoids for anti-aging to my patients in their thirties,” explains Wu. She suggests easing into the medication with an application two to three times a week, and working up to nightly as your skin gets used to it.
Gentler forms of over-the-counter retinoid skin creams — like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream — are available online and in stores. But Wu cautions to avoid using retinoids at the same time as benzoyl peroxide, a medicine used to treat acne. That’s because benzoyl peroxide can oxidize some retinoids, making them less effective.
3. Upgrade Your SPF Routine
Regular use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is a great way to keep your skin healthy and prevent age spots and discoloration. But not all sunscreens are alike when it comes to ensuring supple skin.
“Switch to a more moisturizing sunscreen cream, and avoid alcohol-containing sprays and gels that can dry out your skin,” Wu says. “Also, look for sunscreens that contain antioxidants to protect the collagen in your skin.”
Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 50, for instance, has an antioxidant blend with pure vitamin E.
4. Use a Richer Face Cream
Because oil glands can become less active as you age, the AAD recommends moisturizing properly to minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
The simple act of switching your normal face cream for a richer one will help trap water against the skin, pumping up those deep crevices. As an added bonus, smooth the formula down to your neck and upper torso to treat those areas as well.
5. Watch What You Eat
Much of what happens on the outside of your body is the result of what you put in it. It’s important to eat foods that nourish the skin over the years. Avoid anything that can dehydrate, like alcohol. And foods high in sugar and white carbohydrates can actually age you faster by breaking down glucose. Opt instead for more protein in your diet, including foods like fish, lean meats, beans, and legumes to help build strong collagen. Wu also recommends foods high in vitamin C to keep skin looking youthful.
“Cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant, and have been shown to fight sunburn and sun damage,” Wu says. “Eat more tomatoes if you’ve had a lot of sunburns in your younger years and are starting to see spots and sun damage.” Lycopene won’t erase existing spots but can help prevent further damage.
6. Consider Supplements
Can a pill restore dewiness in aging skin? Maybe. Omega-3s found in certain seafood, like salmon, can help keep skin moist and may even delay its maturing process by preventing wrinkles.
If you don’t eat fish or fish products, Wu suggests trying fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements. “It’ll help keep your skin supple by replenishing your skin’s own lipids , which diminish with time. It’s also anti-inflammatory if you suffer from adult acne.”
As with any supplement, check with your doctor before using.
7. Exfoliate Weekly
Our skin sheds dead cells regularly, creating a new layer every 28 days. But that process can slow over time, leading to a dull-looking complexion and rough patches. To help remove that buildup, exfoliate weekly for brighter skin.
“Use a scrub with round particles so it’s less irritating,” Wu recommends. But avoid products made with plastic microbeads, which pollute the environment and, when released into waterways, can become ingested by marine organisms.
Need more proof? A 2007 study published in the Archives of Dermatology showed that retinol increases collagen production and approves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Moisturize Daily
What’s the difference between a plump plum and a wrinkly prune? Hydration! “Dry skin worsens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as dulls your complexion,” says Dr. Chang.
Keep your skin dewy, supple and smooth by moisturizing. Look for creams that contain hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which function as magnets for moisture. Another powerful hydrating ingredient is niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3. Not only does this potent anti-oxidant decrease water loss, but it also fights against environmental stressors that can lead to premature aging.
Read more: 9 Ways to Keep Your Skin Looking Great
6. Use a Humidifier
For an extra boost of hydrating power, get a humidifier. “Low humidity in the air can lead to dry skin, which worsens the appearance of wrinkles,” says Dr. Chang.
You might’ve noticed your face looking particularly parched — and your fine lines especially pronounced — in the winter. That’s because the air tends to be drier during the colder months when the heater is on and sucking the dewiness from the surface of your skin. Using a humidifier can help replace the moisture you’ve lost and give you a vibrant, glowing complexion, says Dr. Chang.
Just like a snake needs to shed its dead skin, so do you! “As we mature, the rate at which skin cells turnover slows down, leading to a dull complexion,” says Dr. Chang. “Exfoliation can help increase skin cell turnover, remove dead skin cells, and maintain a healthy glow to the skin.”
Dr. Chang recommends chemical exfoliation (with chemical peels like glycolic acid or salicylic acid) over harsh scrubs, which can excessively irritate the skin. “Those with normal skin can use exfoliation one to three times per week, but those with sensitive skin may need to exfoliate less frequently,” she says. And be careful not to overdo it. Over-exfoliating can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation.
One of the best anti-aging techniques you can practice is the art of de-stressing. “Chronic stress can lead to profound and detrimental changes in your body’s metabolism that accelerate the aging process,” says Rocco Monto, M.D., aging expert and author of The Fountain. “And, like a canary in a coal mine, your skin is the first organ to show the negative effects.”
Stress’ insidious impact stretches down to your DNA. A 2012 study published in PLOS ONE found that work-related exhaustion accelerates aging at the cellular level. Participants who experienced chronic job-related stress had significantly shorter telomeres (the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes). In other words, the shorter the telomere, the further along your cells are in the aging process.
But on the other hand, the regular practice of relaxation exercises, such as meditation and yoga, can actually alter your genes’ expression in response to stress, according to 2013 study in PLOS ONE. And a 2011 study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology found that meditation can increase telomerase activity.
As with most things in life, the more you practice, the better the results. Try to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. “Taking even ten minutes out your day to disconnect from the chaos to quietly reconnect with your body to can be a restorative experience,” says Dr. Monto.
9. Do Low-Impact Exercise
“Working out leads to an incredible cascade of genetic and metabolic shifts that increase energy stores and slow down aging,” says Dr. Monto. In fact, when practiced in moderation, regular exercise increases the expression of antioxidant enzymes, which defend against the harmful effects of free radicals associated with aging, according to a 2008 study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
And researchers from McMaster University in Canada found that a daily sweat sesh could take years off your face, as reported by The New York Times. One reason for this anti-aging effect may relate to the benefits of sweating. “The sweat we produce helps to flush out cell debris from the pores and improves skin clarity,” says Kerr. In effect, when you perspire, you’re washing away impurities.
But certain types of exercise may also have a less pleasant effect on your skin: sagging. “Jogging, sprinting and jumping activities increase the gravitational force on the skin,” says Dr. Bissoon. “Every time we impact the ground, the downward force going through the body is three times the body weight.” So maybe swap a jog or two with some low-impact, high-intensity workouts.
Read more: 8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
10. Try Facial Exercises
Just like you do squats to lift your booty, you can do exercises to lift your face, which becomes droopier with age thanks to a loss of collagen and subcutaneous fat. One 2018 study published in JAMA Dermatology found that practicing face exercises for 30 minutes a day could reverse the signs of aging by as much as three years!
By building up and strengthening your facial muscles, your face appears plumper, firmer and rejuvenated. The bonus? It’s way cheaper than botox or a facelift! Intrigued? Check out this online facial exercise program to get you started.
11. Massage Your Face
Just as a relaxing rubdown does a body good, your face can reap the benefits of massage too. Not only does it feel heavenly, but facial massage can also help decrease wrinkles, says Dr. Bissoon. The gentle rubbing movement relaxes the muscles, increases lymphatic drainage and increases circulation to the skin.
Plus, you can do it at home as part of your regular skincare routine, says Kerr. It’s the perfect way to apply moisturizers or anti-aging serums because the repetitive rubbing motion and warmth of your hands helps to increase the absorption of the product. Try out facial massage tutorial.
12. Catch More ZZZs
After a bad night’s sleep, you’re probably not going to look your best. But not catching enough ZZZs on a regular basis might have serious consequences for your skin in the long term. Quality of sleep plays a significant role in skin health and aging, says Dr. Bissoon, citing a large Japanese study that demonstrated a link between poor sleep and accumulation of advanced glycation end products (a marker of skin aging).
Another 2013 study by researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that inadequate sleep not only accelerated skin aging but also reduced the skin’s capacity to recover after sun exposure. So aim for six to eight hours of shuteye a night, says Dr. Bissoon.
Read more: 8 Scary Things That Happen When You Don’t Sleep Enough
13. Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup
In addition to clogging your pores and increasing your risk of breakouts, failing to wash your face and remove makeup before bed might also be prematurely aging your skin. “Environmental pollutants accumulate in the makeup on the skin’s surface and drive the generation of free radicals,” says Kerr.
“This free radical attack contributes to the breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin, the proteins that provide structure within the skin.” Basically, your makeup captures all the day’s dirt and grime, even things like car exhaust and smoke. So, if you don’t want to bring this toxic crap into your bed and stress out your skin, you’ll give it a good scrub before sleepy time.
14. Sleep on Your Back
Lying on your side (or face down) may be aging you every time you snooze. That’s because sleeping sideways increases compression and decreases circulation to one side of your face, says Dr. Bissoon. This repetitive compressive force and the prolonged stress on the face — combined with the natural decrease in elasticity of the skin as one ages — will lead to more fine lines and wrinkles.
Plus, for the same reasons, side-sleeping can lead to breast ptosis. Or in laymen’s terms, saggy boobs. Luckily there’s a simple solution — just sleep face up. Not only will sleeping on your back help prevent wrinkles, it can also decrease neck pain and pressure on your spine.
11 ways to reduce premature skin aging
Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we cannot do anything about; others we can influence.
One thing that we cannot change is the natural aging process. It plays a key role. With time, we all get visible lines on our face. It is natural for our face to lose some of its youthful fullness. We notice our skin becoming thinner and drier. Our genes largely control when these changes occur. The medical term for this type of aging is “intrinsic aging.”
We can influence another type of aging that affects our skin. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of aging is “extrinsic aging.” By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of aging has on our skin.
The sun plays a major role in prematurely aging our skin. Other things that we do also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would. To help their patients prevent premature skin aging, dermatologists offer their patients the following tips.
Protect your skin from the sun every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.
Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.
Avoid repetitive facial expressions. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.
Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.
Exercise most days of the week. Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.
Cleanse your skin gently. Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.
Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
Stop using skin care products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.
Note: Some anti-aging products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting. When using a prescription anti-aging product, this can be OK. Just be sure to let your dermatologist know.
Never too late to benefit
Even people who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making lifestyle changes. By protecting your skin from the sun, you give it a chance to repair some of the damage. Smokers who stop often notice that their skin looks healthier.
If signs of aging skin bother you, you may want to see a dermatologist. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are giving many people younger-looking skin.
Related AAD resources
How do I prevent skin cancer?
Following these tips can prevent skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Face washing 101
How you wash your face can make a difference in your appearance
How to select anti-aging skin care products
Selecting anti-aging products does not have to be a hit-or-miss experience.
How to maximize results from your anti-aging skin care products
Dermatologists share their expertise to help you get the best results.
Castanet J, Ortonne JP. “Pigmentary changes in aged and photoaged skin.” Arch Dermatol. 1997 Oct;133(10):1296-9.
Chung JH, Hanft VN, et al. “Aging and photoaging.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Oct;49(4):690-7.
Rabe JH, Mamelak AJ, “Photoaging: Mechanisms and repair.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 Jul;55:1-19.
The effects of aging: can they be reversed?
Wrinkles, gray hair, poorer physical and cognitive health: these are some of the common manifestations of aging. But could it be possible to reverse the aging process in the future? Studies are increasingly suggesting so.
Share on PinterestAging is inevitable, but some studies suggest the effects of aging can be reversed.
In simple terms, aging is defined as the process of becoming older, which involves a number of biological mechanisms that lead to deterioration of health – both cognitive and physical – over time.
Of course, aging is inevitable. While many of us would like to stop the clock and avoid blowing out those birthday candles – an unsubtle reminder that we are another year older – it is beyond the realms of medical science.
What may be within reach one day, however, are ways to reduce or reverse the effects of aging, and we’re not talking about anti-aging face creams or cosmetic surgery.
Increasingly, studies have focused on strategies that could combat aging at its core – the cellular processes that contribute to age-related diseases and changes in our physical appearance as we become older.
In this spotlight, we explore the biological causes of aging, investigate what strategies researchers are proposing to fight the effects of aging, and look at what you can do to boost your chances of healthy aging.
The genetic aging theory
Many researchers believe the effects of aging are a result of numerous genetic and environmental factors, and these effects vary from person to person.
The genetic aging theory suggests that, just like hair color and height, our lifespan is influenced by the genes we inherit from our parents.
Such a theory may ring true; studies have shown that children of parents who have a long lifespan are more likely to live a longer life themselves.
And research from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet (resource no longer available at www.nature.com) – published in 2013 – suggested that the aging process is influenced by mitochondrial DNA that we inherit from our mothers.
The team found that female mouse models passed mutations in mitochondrial DNA – which they accumulated through environmental exposures during their lifetime – to offspring, which reduced their lifespan.
But while evidence for the genetic aging theory is strong, the fact remains that healthy aging and longevity is largely influenced by our environment – that is, what we eat, how much we exercise, where we live and the compounds and toxins we are exposed to throughout our lifetime.
Oxidative stress and telomere length
Our DNA accumulates damage from environmental exposures as we age. While cells are capable of repairing most of this damage, sometimes it is beyond repair.
This most often occurs as a result of oxidative stress, where the body does not possess enough antioxidants to fix the damage caused by free radicals – uncharged molecules that cause DNA damage. Oxidative stress has been identified as a key player in the aging process.
Another major cause of DNA damage is the shortening of telomeres. These are the caps at the end of each DNA strand that protect our chromosomes – the thread-like structures that contain all our genetic data.
Share on PinterestTelomeres are the caps at the end of each DNA strand that protect our chromosomes; their shortening speeds up the aging process.
Telomeres naturally shorten as we age, reducing in length each time a cell divides. But when telomeres become too short, they are no longer able to protect the chromosomes, leaving them susceptible to damage that can lead to premature aging and disease development.
A recent study from the UK’s University of Cambridge suggests that telomere shortening as a result of environmental exposures may even be passed to offspring.
The team found that rats that had lower oxygen in the womb during pregnancy – often caused by smoking during pregnancy in humans – gave birth to offspring with shorter telomeres than rats that had higher oxygen exposure.
What is more, the oxygen-deprived offspring were found to have abnormalities in their blood vessels – a sign of faster aging and a predisposition to heart disease.
“We already know that our genes interact with environmental risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise to increase our risk of heart disease,” notes senior author Prof. Dino Giussani, from the Department of Physiology Development & Neuroscience at Cambridge, “but here we’ve shown that the environment we’re exposed to in the womb may be just as, if not more, important in programming a risk of adult-onset cardiovascular disease.”
The evidence for telomere length as a major player in the aging process has become so strong that researchers are looking to use telomeres as a biomarker for age-related diseases.
Last year, for example, Medical News Today reported on a study in which researchers revealed how a distinct telomere pattern in the blood could be used to predict cancer development.
But what if researchers found a way to extend telomere length to protect against age-related diseases and the other effects of aging? Or what if they identified a strategy that could protect against oxidative stress?
Such approaches may not be too far from reality.
Extending telomere length to slow aging
Last year, MNT reported on a study published in The FASEB Journal, in which researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California revealed they have discovered a way to increase the length of human telomeres.
Share on PinterestResearchers have uncovered ways to increase telomere length, which could slow aging.
The team – including study coauthor Helen Blau – used a modified form of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that consisted of the coding sequence for TERT – the active component of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomere health – to extend the length of telomeres.
By applying three applications of the modified RNA to human cells in a lab, they found they could increase the length of telomeres by around 1,000 nucleotides – around 10% – in a matter of days.
Blau and colleagues said their findings bring us a step closer to combatting both age-related and genetic diseases.
“One day it may be possible to target muscle stem cells in a patient with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, for example, to extend their telomeres. There are also implications for treating conditions of aging, such as diabetes and heart disease. This has really opened the doors to consider all types of potential uses of this therapy,” says Blau.
But according to other research, there may be ways in which we can extend telomere length ourselves in order to slow the aging process.
In December 2014, a study reported by MNT suggested following a Mediterranean diet – typically high in vegetables, fruits, nuts and olive oil, but low in saturated fats, dairy, meat and poultry – may lengthen telomeres.
From studying more than 4,600 healthy, middle-aged women, the team found that those who had greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet had longer telomeres than those with lower adherence to the diet.
Another study, published in September 2014 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggested that reducing the amount of time sitting may protect against telomere shortening and extend lifespan.
Eradicating mitochondria to rejuvenate aging cells
Last month, Dr. João Passos, of the Institute for Aging at Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues revealed a new strategy that they say could reverse the aging process: removing mitochondria from cells.
Mitochondria are described as the “powerhouses” of cells, giving them the energy to function, but previous research has also associated mitochondria with oxidative stress.
In their study, published in The Embo Journal, Dr. Passos and colleagues increased mitophagy – a process cells normally use to get rid of faulty mitochondria – in aging human cells, enabling them to eradicate all mitochondria.
They found that eliminating mitochondria from the aging cells triggered a rejuvenation process, reducing markers of cellular aging to levels that are normally seen in younger cells.
“This is the first time that a study demonstrates that mitochondria are necessary for cellular aging. Now we are a step closer to devising therapies which target mitochondria to counteract the aging of cells,” says study coauthor Dr. Clara Correia-Melo.
Reversing brain aging
When it comes to aging, one of the biggest concerns is how it will affect our cognitive function.
The majority of people will see a decline in cognitive skills as they age. This is because certain areas of the brain – particularly those linked to learning and memory – shrink as we get older, interfering with connections between nerve cells.
Others may experience a more severe form of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which affects around 5.1 million adults aged 65 and older in the US, though this condition is thought to be triggered by the build-up of plaques and tangles in the brain, rather than brain shrinkage.
But increasingly, researchers are uncovering medical strategies that show promise for reversing brain aging. Last month, MNT reported on a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, in which researchers successfully reversed aging in the brains of rats.
The team – from the University of California-Irvine – gave 11 rats a drug called ampakine every day for 3 months, while a further 12 rats received a placebo.
From brain scans conducted during treatment, the researchers found “middle-aged” rats in the placebo group had shorter dendrites – branch-like fibers that aid brain cell communication – and fewer dendritic branches than the “adolescent” rats that received the placebo.
The middle-aged rats that received ampakine, however, were found to have dendrites and dendritic branching that was comparable to those of the adolescent rats, suggesting that ampakine may be a promising compound for reversing brain aging.
Commenting on the results, study coauthor Gary Lynch says:
“There is a tendency to think that aging is an inexorable process, that it is something in the genes, and there is nothing you can do about it. This paper is saying that may not be true.”
Eat well and exercise to reduce the effects of aging
While medical research certainly seems to be on the verge of finding promising strategies to reverse the aging process, it is likely to be a long time before telomere-lengthening medications hit the market.
But in the meantime, there are a number of things we can do to help reduce the effects of aging.
Share on PinterestEating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can boost healthy aging.
It goes without saying that regular exercise is good for health, but numerous studies have hailed exercise for its beneficial impact on aging.
Last October, MNT reported on a study suggesting that aerobic exercise – such as walking or cycling – from middle to older age is associated with healthier brain aging, while an earlier study linked aerobic exercise to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
Other research – published in PLOS One in 2014 – suggested that running several times a week may slow the aging process for older adults, promoting better mobility and quality of life, while another study found running 5-10 minutes daily could add 3 years to life expectancy.
Eating a healthy diet is also considered a key factor for healthy aging; last October, a study published in the journal Neurology suggested that following a Mediterranean-style diet may protect against brain aging.
The National Institute on Aging recommend following a diet that includes fruits, vegetables and grains – particularly whole grains – low-fat or fat-free dairy products, seafood, lean poultry and meats. They also recommend limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats, as well as levels of cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
Worried about those wrinkles?
When it comes to healthy skin aging – and reducing the appearance of those dreaded wrinkles and brown spots – the American Academy of Dermatology offer some advice:
- Protect your skin from the sun: ultraviolet radiation damages the skin fibers over time, causing it to lose its elasticity
- Avoid smoking: smoking speeds up skin aging, causing wrinkles and a dull complexion
- Eat a healthy diet: consuming lots of sugar and other refined carbohydrates has been linked to premature skin aging
- Limit alcohol consumption: alcohol dehydrates the skin, causing damage over time
- Cleanse skin gently: scrubbing your skin can speed up skin aging; wash your skin gently to remove makeup and pollution
- Use facial moisturizer daily: moisturizer keeps the skin hydrated by trapping water inside, promoting a youthful appearance.
As French fashion designer Coco Chanel once said:
“Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50.”
There’s no such thing as a miracle in a jar, but many of today’s anti-aging products do move past the hype and turn back the clock just a smidge. And because beauty isn’t only skin deep, experts point out that what we put inside our bodies counts nearly as much toward a younger look as what we slather on the outside.
Advertisements touting the benefits of age-reducing creams, lotions and other potions prey on the apparent social mandate to look younger longer, according to Laurie Neronha, an esthetician in private practice in Providence, R.I.
But do they deliver what they promise? Yes and no, she says.
“There’s a lot of money to be made from people’s fear of aging,” Neronha said. “But you cannot stop the aging process you can only manage it.”
Skin treatments that work
A big part of that is using what the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) describes as by far the most beneficial, age-busting product available: sunscreen. Without a daily skin regimen that includes copious amounts of sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) on all sun-exposed skin, no other anti-aging products matter, Neronha said.
While sunscreen prevents damage, other products can fight the wrinkles, sagging and brown spots that aging skin may already have. Some research-proven ingredients to look for include:
Anti-aging products to avoid
Some ingredients in anti-aging products should be avoided, experts say. These include:
When it comes to applying anti-aging products, it’s not always better to apply more. Each product should be used as directed on the packaging, according to the AAD.
“Some products contain active ingredients that do more harm than good when too much is used,” according to the AAD. “Applying more than directed can cause clogged pores , a blotchy complexion, or other unwanted effects.”
Both Smith and Neronha recommend identifying your No. 1 skin concern and buying products that target just that, at least to start. They also advise seeing a dermatologist or esthetician for a truly custom approach to anti-aging.
“I don’t recommend all-in-one products,” Neronha said. “They’re OK, but chances are there are so many ingredients in them that concentrations of each won’t be very high and they’ll cancel each other out. I think people waste a lot of money cherry-picking products and don’t get the cherry pie they’re looking for.”
And remember to drink plenty of water and to eat healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids , both of which contribute to a dewier complexion, according to experts. Other healthy lifestyle choices, such as engaging in regular exercise and not smoking, are also reflected on our faces, Neronha said.
“Diet and exercise are invaluable to healthy skin,” she said. “If you’re not well, your skin won’t be well.”
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Skin care in your 40s and 50s
Wrinkle creams, eye serums, and other anti-aging skin care products can help diminish signs of aging. To create a truly effective anti-aging skin care plan, dermatologists urge you to start with healthy skin care habits.
Wrinkle creams, eye serums, and other anti-aging skin care products can help diminish signs of aging. To create a truly effective anti-aging skin care plan, however, it helps to start with healthy skin care habits. The benefits of healthy skin care habits include:
Prevent (or clear up) a blotchy complexion
Retain skin’s youthful firmness longer
Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Keep complexion looking brighter and younger
Avoid leathery skin
Reduce skin cancer risk
To help you create your own anti-aging skin care plan, you’ll find key healthy skin care habits below. Years of research supports each of these recommendations.
Anti-aging skin care tips
Protect your skin from the sun. Sun protection forms the foundation of every anti-aging skin-care plan. The sun’s rays make our skin age more quickly. We have so much evidence that the sun prematurely ages our skin that there is actually a word to describe this effect. This word is “photoaging.” To help patients protect their skin from the sun and other harmful UV rays, dermatologists offer these tips:
- Seek shade. Be sure to seek shade between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and whenever your shadow looks shorter than you are.
- Cover up in style. Whenever possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat, pants, and long sleeves. Gloves help to minimize common signs of aging on our hands such as age spots. Sunglasses help reduce fine lines around our eyes.
- Slather on the sunscreen every day before going outdoors. To protect your skin, apply sunscreen to all skin that clothing will not cover. You want to use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance.
Forget about indoor tanning. The sun, tanning beds, and sun lamps expose you to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays accelerate skin aging.
Apply moisturizer every day. As we age, skin becomes drier. Fine lines and wrinkles appear. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. For best results, use a facial moisturizer, body moisturizer, and lip balm.
Wash away dirt and grime twice a day. How you wash your face can affect your appearance. For best results, you want to wash with warm water and a mild cleanser rather than soap. You also should avoid scrubbing your skin clean.
Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke contains toxins that can lead to smoker’s face. Signs of smoker’s face include dull and dry complexion, loss of skin’s firmness, premature lines and wrinkles, and leathery skin.
Eat healthy foods. A healthy diet promotes healthy skin. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Get enough sleep. It’s called beauty rest for a reason. Sleep gives your body time to refresh and renew itself.
If you want to include anti-aging skin care products in your plan, dermatologists recommend that you select these products carefully. You can learn how to select these products by reading, How to select anti-aging skin care products.
Related AAD resources
How to maximize results from anti-aging skin care products
How to care for your skin in your 60s and 70s
Face washing 101
How to Care for Aging Skin
For the first part of your life, you probably didn’t care that much about your skin. You might remember wiggling around, anxious to get into the pool or run down the beach, while your mother attempted to smear sunscreen on your body. Sure, getting sunburned hurts, but otherwise, it didn’t matter much to you. But skin changes as you get older — just ask any adolescent whose baby-smooth, flawless exterior has been transformed by the arrival of acne. Even then, you might be worried more about how that pimple affects your chances of a date than the actual health of your skin.
Just about everything that you do to your skin during the course of your lifetime will leave some lasting impression, but the internal aging process is something that happens naturally. Wrinkles, thinning, sagging and dryness are all part of this process. As your skin ages, it doesn’t replace itself as quickly. Elastin and collagen, the proteins that keep your skin strong and elastic, are produced more slowly. And you can’t stop these changes from happening. Even at what age they start largely depends on your genes — if your mother started getting wrinkles in her 30s, it’s likely that you will, too.
External aging, however, is due to the factors we can control, like those childhood sunburns. Exposure to the sun definitely ages your skin — and it can have even more devastating consequences beyond wrinkles, age spots and a leathery look. Smoking, your diet and repetitive facial expressions also play a part. If you furrow your brow a lot, for example, you’ll probably get wrinkles on your forehead.
In this article, we’ll look at all of the ways that you can prevent some of the side effects of aging skin, as well as learn how to treat different skin conditions associated with aging skin. Let’s start with the basics: a skin care regimen.
Here’s the thing about getting good skin: It takes a lot of work (unless you’re, like, Emma freaking Watson who has the preternaturally smooth, line-free skin of a Grecian statue. But then why are you reading this article? Get out of here, Emma!).
In an ideal world, you would apply something to your face just once and see immediate results forever more. But this is reality, and to stave off wrinkles and plump fine lines, you need a consistent regimen of sunscreen, a gentle cleanser, a night cream, and blah, blah, blah—you’re already exhausted and over it.
Which is why I’m here to give you what you want: the most basic, low-maintenance, easy-peasy anti-aging routine for your most extreme levels of laziness. Keep reading to get the skin of your dreams, without having to completely overhaul your life—or even your bedtime habits.
BUT FIRST: Let’s get honest
This is a no-judgement zone. Which level of lazy sounds most like you?
You almost always remove your makeup, and you even use a moisturizer most days or nights.
You sometimes use a moisturizer or sunscreen. Sometimes. A few weeks ago.
You, uh, you are reading this article. Does that count?
Design by Morgan McMullen
Level 1: You have a semblance of a skincare routine.
Congrats! You’re lazy, but not too lazy, which, in my book, is winning. You wash your face pretty consistently, you almost always remove your makeup (even if it is with a skin-destroying face wipe), and you use a moisturizer most days or nights. Great. Now we’re going to step it up a bit.
What to Use:
“My two favorite anti-aging products in the world are retinol and vitamin C,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor at Yale University. “Retinol literally slows down your skin’s aging process by increasing collagen production and decreasing collagen breakdown.”
Basically, it smooths the wrinkles you’ve got, while preventing new ones from forming. Vitamin C, meanwhile, protects your skin from environmental damage that causes dark spots, wrinkles, inflammation, and discoloration. “It essentially makes everyone look really, really good,” says Dr. Gohara.
How to Use ‘Em:
Don’t get overzealous—both retinol and vitamin C can be a tad irritating at first, so start slowly to build up your skin’s tolerance. At night, before your moisturizer, apply a pea-size drop of retinol to clean, dry skin once a week for one week, twice a week for two weeks, three times a week for three weeks, and then every other night indefinitely (hey, anti-aging is a lifelong process).
Make sure your usual moisturizer isn’t already an anti-aging moisturizer—one that contains a low dose of retinol—since double retinoids will irritate your skin. (Not sure if yours does? Check the ingredients label for retinol, retinyl palmitate, or retinaldehyde, all of which are different forms of retinoids.)
As for vitamin C, apply it to clean, dry skin (before your moisturizer, sunscreen, and/or makeup) every other morning for a few weeks, before switching to every morning. You should start noticing results after a month, with a slight reduction of fine lines after three months.
Products for Level 1 Laziness:
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum, $36
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, $88
Caudalie Vine Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Serum, $52
DermaDoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E, $95
Design by Morgan McMullen
Level 2: You can only manage a moisturizer.
…And even then, your moisturizing habits are as consistent as “I sometimes use this face cream I got on sale last year that I don’t really like.” Cool.
Listen, I’m not here to push you too far out of your comfort zone, but I will need you to throw away that expired cream. (If you got it more than a year ago, it’s definitely too old.)
What to Use:
An anti-aging moisturizer. Wow! Such shock! Such brilliance! Your bread-and-butter product is going to be a two-in-one night moisturizer that also has a hefty dose of retinol in it. “Retinol speeds up your skin’s production of new cells, which results in smoother, brighter, softer, and less-wrinkled skin,” says Dr. Gohara. “It’s truly the best anti-aging ingredient that exists today.”
How to Use It:
Retinol-spiked moisturizers tend to be gentler than pure retinol formulas, which means you can get away with applying one every other night for a month, before switching to every night for the rest of your life.
The only downside is that retinol takes time—like, 3 to 6 months—to start giving you a noticeable reduction in fine lines, so you need to be consistent and patient. Which means every night when you’re lying in bed and don’t want to get up and apply your cream, repeat this to yourself: Every day I skip my moisturizer is another day I’ll have to wait to see results.
Products for Level 2 Laziness:
RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Restoring Night Cream, $18
Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Renewal Cream, $11
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream, $82
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, $19
Design by Morgan McMullen
Level 3: You washed your face, uh, last week?
So, we’ve officially reached the laziest of lazy levels (don’t worry—you’re in good company with literally all of my can’t-be-bothered friends).
But, hey, we all gotta start somewhere, and your somewhere is right here, right now. But don’t worry—it’s going to be painless.
If you know yourself, and you know you won’t be able to commit to something on a regular, nightly basis, no matter how hard you try, then a once-weekly treatment of glycolic acid will be your new buddy. “Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid—AHA—that speeds up cell turnover to treat acne, fade dark spots and scars, and smooth fine lines, even if you use it just once a week,” says Dr. Gohara.
Glycolic acid is nowhere near as effective as retinol (glycolic acid will only reduce baby fine lines, and won’t do anything for deep wrinkles), but retinol is only effective if you use it consistently. So, as your mother would say, beggars can’t be choosers.
Glycolic acid is strong, no matter the percentage, so use it no more than once a week, and make sure to pick the product with the lowest percentage of glycolic acid if you have sensitive skin. (P.S. Using it five times a week won’t give you five times the perfect skin—it’ll just irritate your face—so don’t even think about it.)
To use, gently wipe the pre-soaked pad over your clean, dry face once a week at night, letting it sit for 1–3 minutes (less time if you have sensitive skin), before rinsing it off. Ideally, you’d slather on a hydrating moisturizer after that, but I won’t push my luck.
And that’s it! The lowest-maintenance anti-aging routine for the highest of the lazy. Now go forth, sloth-like, into a new world of smooth skin.
Products for Level 3 Laziness:
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $30
Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads, $10
Anthony Glycolic Exfoliating & Resurfacing Wipes, $18
Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads, $45
Chloe Metzger Senior Beauty Editor Chloe Metzger is the senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, obsessively writing about new makeup launches, the best hair products (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare formulas that really work for every skin type (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life).
You’ve swapped your smoking habit for a sunscreen one and are drinking 2 litres of water a day, but there are other easy ways to fight the onset of ageing that you might not have tried before. Incorporate these simple steps into your life and challenge the clock.
1. Eat your sunscreen
Rule number one – always wear broad spectrum SPF on your face which protects against UVA and UVB rays. Rule number two – eat them! Certain foods are known to increase lycopene, the skin’s own SPF. An antioxidant found in tomatoes, and other red and orange fruit and veg, it can boost your sun protection by a whopping 33%. One of the best sources is tomato paste – did someone say spag bol? Green tea is another great example and it also contains caffeine which is thought to help cut your skin cancer risk. If you need a treat, high quality dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids that can help protect against sunburn. Bonus!
2. Move more
Exercising is as good for your skin as it is for your body and one reason is because it releases a compound called IL 15, which prevents cell death. A skin study by McMaster University in Canada revealed that participants who took part in just two cycling session a week for three months showed changes that they reported made the skin look up to decades younger. Amazing. Here are more reasons why exercise is good for your skin.
3. Facial massage
Take a minute every night to massage in your skincare products, which in turn helps to lift your facial muscles. Do circular motions with the fingertips in opposite directions on each hand, this encourages elasticity and breaks the pattern of tension helping prevent a degeneration of the tissues.
4. Eat less sugar
A diet high in sugar accelerates the process of glycation which ages skin. Mica Engel of London’s Waterhouse Young Clinic explains in Sweet Nothing by Nicole Mowbray, “Glycation is when excess glucose from the blood-stream binds to the skin’s ‘youth proteins’ (the collagen and elastin that makes youthful complexions appear so plump and doughy) and instead turns them brittle and stiff.” This caramelisation process kisses baby faces goodbye. Swap sugar-laden treats for anti-ageing antioxidants such as dark berries, avocados and green juices.
5. Quench your skin
“With age, skin’s ability to hold water decreases and dehydration is common” according to Dr Joe Cincotta of Time Bomb cosmetics. What does this mean? It looks flat and fine lines appear that need to be quenched with moisture-retaining skincare, on top of drinking water. Check out the best buys for a moisture surge here.
6. Exfoliate twice weekly
Encouraging the sheading of dead skin cells speeds up the growth of new ones. Young skin is smooth and reflects the light better whereas older skin tends to be rougher which refracts light, so regular exfoliation will help you maintain your radiance and a bright youthful glow.
7. Up your oils
Cosmo’s Beauty Director swears by taking omega oils from a young age – fish or vegetable omega oil capsules consumed daily, as well as applying a few drops of rosehip (or another omega-rich) face oil every night. These ‘good fats’ are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, which – when healthy – yields more subtle skin.
8. Always remove your makeup
Never go to bed with an uncleansed face – it’s undoubtedly ageing given that it immediately clogs (and stretches) pores and over time causes collagen breakdown. Use a balm or a gentle foam cleanser in the shower – they take your makeup off as well and rinse off clean. Easy!
9. Facial yoga
Your face needs to MOVE to retain elasticity. Like your body, if you don’t exercise your facial muscles they can slacken. The more they move, the more they retain elasticity and suppleness. Try these 6 yoga poses for a pain-free facelift! Yoga, for the face or not, is also a good technique for stress-busting which is important in the fight against ageing as stress can accelerate skins ageing by up to 10 years.
10. Get more beauty sleep
When you’re tired you tend to get stressed easily and crave junk food – both of which are notorious agers. Not only does getting 8 hours shut-eye minimise this, when you sleep your skin repairs itself and new cells grow to replace older ones. The growth hormone functions only at night, so beauty sleep is more than a myth – it’s why humans are diurnal.
Bridget March Bridget March is Bazaar’s Digital Beauty Director overseeing all beauty content for harpersbazaar.co.uk, including fitness and wellbeing.
Let us introduce you to part two of the “our job rules” series. Last month, we shared with you the best makeup tips we’ve learned as beauty editors, and now, we’re spilling the anti-aging tricks and rules we live by every single day. Some of our trusted anti-aging tips are things we’ve learned from dermatologists, some are things we’ve learned from celebrities, and some are things we’ve discovered all on our own from testings hundreds of products a year (we know, our job is a struggle). Here are the best anti-aging tips only beauty editors know (besides always wearing sunscreen, because we expect you to know that by now).
RELATED: You’re Probably Still Making These 4 Common Retinol Mistakes
Make hats your best friend. “I love sunglasses, but they don’t really provide a lot of coverage, and I’m trying to stave off hyperpigmentation as best I can. So in addition to sunscreen—because obviously—anytime I’m running out and I know I’ll be bathed in even the tiniest ounce of sun, I put on a hat with a decent-size brim, like a baseball cap or a fedora. It’s cute, hides a bad-hair day, and shelters my skin from unnecessary sun damage.” —Ariba Alvi, associate social media producer
Put on your creams and serums with serious thought. “I like to use my weakest finger, my ring finger, to apply eye cream. If there’s any leftover cream on my fingers, I apply it on my laugh lines. After I put on my moisturizer, I tap my face—not to the point of pain, but with just enough force—a couple of times to improve blood circulation.” —Seunghee Suh, digital editor
And when it comes to eye creams, always tap. “I remember once at a desk side with Clarins, the expert told me the best way to apply eye cream around the eye area is by gently tapping it in with your finger since the skin around the eye is so sensitive. I also keep my eye cream in the fridge to help with puffiness…that I learned from Chrissy Teigen.” —Chantel Morel, digital assistant beauty editor
Never forget your neck. “I used to always apply all my fancy creams and serums just on my face. But then I looked at my neck and realized that it’s out in the sun and the environment as much as my face. It needs those serums and creams just as much as my forehead does.” —Renee Jacques, associate digital editor
Always wear shades. “My eyes have always been really sensitive to light, so I tend to squint even when it’s cloudy—and squinting leads to crow’s-feet. Sunglasses all day, every day.” —Lexi Novak, beauty editor
RELATED: Top Dermatologists Offer Affordable Ways to Minimize the Appearance of Dark Undereye Circles
Trust your drugstore finds. “A couple of times a week, especially if I’ve worn a lot of makeup or was particularly sweaty, I cleanse my face with witch hazel before going to sleep. When I wake up, my skin appears youthful and supple.” —Simone Oliver, digital director
Protect your hands. “I always use hand cream with sunscreen. We’re always on our phone or driving, and we don’t realize how much sun exposure our hands are subject to. My favorite hand cream with sunscreen is Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40.” —Kat Suico, beauty assistant
Harness the power of roses. “For anti-aging, I like to use botanical products, specifically with rose stem cells because they reduce fine lines and firms the skin. I like using the
Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask
This Peter Thomas Roth gel mask hydrates skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
By Patricia Tortolani
.” —Lara Adekola, associate producer
RELATED: Have Scientists Found the Cure for Aging?
Overmoisturize. “It might sound incredibly basic, but my best anti-aging tip is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I have combination skin—my T-zone is pretty oily—so for the longest time I held back on moisturizing a ton because of it. But even oily skin needs moisture, and the more you hydrate, the younger your skin looks. Sad but true: Your skin gets about 10 percent drier every decade. So after getting schooled by my dermatologist, I began to focus on keeping my skin hydrated, using serums and lightweight creams that are packed with gold-standard hydrating ingredients, like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.” —Sophia Panych, deputy digital beauty editor
Want more anti-aging tips only beauty editors know? Let’s keep the skin-care party going. Here are the best facial treatments ever: