My skin looks old

Why your face ages and what you can do

Beneficial ways to turn back time for your aging face

A gracefully aging face is a beautiful thing, but there are changes that occur with age that we would like to slow down. Age affects every nook and cranny of the body. Along with the wisdom, experience, and accomplishments that come with getting older, there are changes that occur in our outward appearance. Changes in our faces are most at the forefront.

How the face ages

Dozens of changes take place as the years add up, some of them obvious and familiar:

  • Foreheads expand as hairlines retreat
  • Ears often get a bit longer because the cartilage in them grows
  • Tips of noses may droop because connective tissue supporting nasal cartilage weakens.

There are also structural rearrangements going on behind the scenes. When we’re young, fat in the face is evenly distributed, with some pockets here and there that plump up the forehead, temples, cheeks, and areas around the eyes and mouth. With age, that fat loses volume, clumps up, and shifts downward, so features that were formerly round may sink, and skin that was smooth and tight gets loose and sags. Meanwhile other parts of the face gain fat, particularly the lower half, so we tend to get baggy around the chin and jowly in the neck.

And, of course, there are the wrinkles. Those deep ones in the forehead and between the eyebrows are called expression, or animation, lines. They’re the result of facial muscles continually tugging on, and eventually creasing, the skin. Other folds may get deeper because of the way fat decreases and moves around. Finer wrinkles are due to sun damage, smoking, and natural degeneration of elements of the skin that keep it thick and supple.

What can I do about my aging face?

Even if you have great genes and look much younger than you are, age-related changes in our facial appearance are unavoidable. Those changes reflect our joys and challenges in life. One approach is to simply celebrate our age and appearance for what they are.

Not everyone is comfortable with that, and some might like to postpone embracing those changes. The age-defying facelift, which surgically removes excess tissue and lifts sagging skin in the lower part of the face, is one way to try to stem the tides of time. Facelifts have improved, so the results tend to look more natural. But the surgery is expensive (the surgeon’s fee alone is just under $7,000, on average), and other procedures may be needed to achieve the desired results. The facelift procedure is only the 20th most popular cosmetic procedure, and now there are plenty of alternatives for altering the aging face.

Although most of these rejuvenating procedures are nonsurgical, they’re not inexpensive — especially when you factor in the need for repeat treatments.

Here is just a sample of some of the things that you can do — or get done — to give your face a more youthful appearance:

Sun protection. Protecting your face from the sun is the single best way of keeping it youthful. Much of the damage comes from the UVA part of the light spectrum, so you need to put on sunscreen that protects against it and UVB light, which causes sunburn. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is also a good idea.

Creams and lotions. Moisturizers soothe dry skin and may temporarily make wrinkles less noticeable. Moisturizers for the face contain water to make them less greasy, and many have substances — glycerin, for example — that may help bind water to the skin. Exfoliant creams can improve the appearance of older skin by getting rid of dead skin cells that don’t slough off as readily as they did when we were young.

Several prescription creams (Avita, Avage, Renova, Retin-A) have been shown to reduce wrinkles and so-called liver spots caused by sun exposure. These FDA-approved creams contain retinoids, compounds related to vitamin A that seem to work by inducing collagen production in the dermis and altering melanin, the pigment that causes liver spots. There are several varieties of retinoids. Tazarotene and tretinoin are the ones used in the FDA-approved products.

Botulinum toxin injections. These injections are used to treat the expression lines of the forehead and between the brows. They work by partially immobilizing the muscles that form expression lines so the skin smoothes out, although some deep expression lines may not go away. Botox is the familiar brand name. Other FDA-approved botulinum toxins are Myobloc and Dysport.

Dermal fillers. Dermal fillers are used to treat lines created by lost collagen and fat. After botulinum toxin injections, dermal filler injections are the most common cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. Prime locations for the injections are two sets of parentheses: the pair of lines that extend down from the nose to the corners of the mouth, known as the nasolabial folds, and another pair that extends down from the corners of the mouth to the chin, known as marionette lines.

Many different materials are used as dermal filler. Collagen has fallen out of favor. Currently, the most popular one is hyaluronic acid, a complex sugar found naturally in many tissues. Hyaluronic acid is more expensive than collagen, but lasts longer — up to six months in the nasolabial folds. Like botulinum toxin injections, the effect of the dermal filler shots wears off after several months — how long depends on the injection site — but with repeat injections it seems to last a little longer.

Laser treatments. Lasers can be used to home in on certain pigments: brown, if the goal is to get rid of freckles and liver spots, red if the target is broken capillaries. They’re also used for wholesale resurfacing of facial skin. The uppermost layers are stripped away, and with them, wrinkles from sun damage and scars from acne. The energy from some “nonablative” resurfacing lasers passes through the outer layer of the skin to work at a deeper level, in the dermis, to stimulate inflammation, which leads to collagen formation.

Skin needs time to recover after most laser treatments. It can take a couple of weeks to heal, depending on the type and extent of the treatment. The nonablative treatments tend to heal a bit faster.

Image: © master1305 | GettyImages

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No, all your friends and favourite celebrities didn’t miraculously reach retirement age — they used FaceApp, a mobile app that uses filters and artificial intelligence to edit photos of people.

While the app has been around since 2017, and previously went viral thanks to features that let you swap genders or make someone smile, this week everyone is sharing photos using the app’s aging filter.

But, as people obsess over what they might look like in a few decades, privacy experts and developers are concerned about what’s happening to the photos they send today.

“You basically have no personal control relating to who they could share this information with, sell it, et cetera,” said Ann Cavoukian, a privacy expert in residence at Ryerson University.

“Sensitive information like your biometric — your facial image — you want to control that completely. You don’t want it floating around to third parties, without your positive consent. You don’t know how that information will be used.”

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Best caption wins ovo tickets

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Jul 16, 2019 at 1:36am PDT

Saw this #FaceApp on @BTtoronto & @CP24Breakfast and thought I’d try it. Barb seems not to have changed but I guess serving four terms as Mayor aged me a bit! 😉 #faceappchallenge #AgeChallenge pic.twitter.com/pZK6Z1lSCN

— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 17, 2019

#FaceApp with my two favourite leaders @JustinTrudeau and @BarackObama 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/bD6uAXnMUn

— EJay Stuart (@EJay_Stuart) July 17, 2019

FaceApp came under scrutiny over its privacy policy after social media sleuths pointed out that the app was developed by Russian company Wireless Labs.

The privacy agreement effectively allows the app to collect a user’s browser history, location, cookies, log files, metadata and more. FaceApp can also use uploaded photos for advertising, without compensation.

The policy says it can also share users’ details with third-party partners for targeted advertising. While the agreement notes the app will not rent or sell your information to third parties, the policy does not specify if businesses legally part of the same group of companies as FaceApp, or companies that join the group in the future are considered third parties.

It’s a joke — they can do virtually anything they want

While FaceApp did not respond to a request for clarification from the National Post, the company did release a statement in the wake of the social media outcry.

In it, the company dispelled any concerns about its connection to Russia, stating that while the core research and development team is located there, the company does not transfer any user data to Russia.

The statement also clarifies that most of the photo processing is done in the cloud and only photos selected for editing are uploaded to the cloud, rather than all of the photos on a user’s phone, as some had feared. The company also explained why the app uses the cloud to store some photos.

“We want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date,” the company said in the statement.

Carlisle Adams, a computer security researcher at the University of Ottawa, said it isn’t enough.

“‘Most’ could mean anything from 51 per cent to 99 per cent (of photos),” he said. “Anything less than 100 per cent is bad and even at 100 per cent, 48 hours is longer than necessary.”

While FaceApp said that 99 per cent of users don’t log in before using the app, meaning the company doesn’t have access to data that could identify the user, Adams said the information collected from users’ phones, like cookies, file logs and metadata can be enough to identify someone.

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When you take a trip to the Year 3000.

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FaceApp said it plans to improve the app’s interface to make it easier for users to make requests for the company to scrub their information from its servers.

Eric Cowperthwaite, the vice president of professional services at the Herjavec Group, says this problem isn’t limited to FaceApp.

“Online quizzes that tell you ‘what kind of pirate captain you’ll be’ are gathering personal identifying information,” he said. “As a general rule, I’d be against doing those things with real information.”

I’d be against doing those things with real information

Cavoukian says Canada needs to catch up with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which puts user privacy first, setting tight parameters on what companies can do.

Cowperthwaite thinks a version of those policies could come soon with California recently adopting a consumer protection law that borrows from about 75 per cent of the GDPR.

“This is probably what the U.S. and Canada will do,” he said.

• Email: [email protected] | Twitter: bobbyhristova

It’s seems a bit strange looking back, but I was much more sensitive about my age when I turned 40 than I was when I turned 50. (I wonder if it’s like that for everyone, or if I’ve just personally mellowed out a bit?) However, even though I’m more at peace with my age now than I have been in the past, I would still rather avoid looking any older than I actually am!

And since I’m positive that I’m not the only one who feels this way, I think that today’s post will be useful for all of us! 🙂 Because there are plenty of sneaky culprits that are capable of making you look older than you’d like. But with the help of the tips in this post, you can rest assured that none of these culprits is past you unnoticed!

And for more great tips about caring for aging skin, be sure to check out my eBook Aging Gracefully! You can buy it in my shop, or get it for free if you’re an OGT Plus member!

7 Sneaky Things That Make You Look Older

1. Redness & Inflammation

As if redness and inflammation from sun exposure and rosacea weren’t already bad enough, it turns out that these symptoms can also amplify signs of aging! Inflamed skin can cause wrinkles to appear deeper than they really are, and make your skin tone appear uneven.

The simplest ways to avoid redness and inflammation are using gentle skincare products and always, ALWAYS protecting your skin from the sun! Find a good daily moisturizer with sun protection (SPF 30 or higher, preferably) and use it every day, not just when it’s sunny out.

Related: Here Is The Surprising Truth About That Trendy Skincare Tool

2. Dry Hands

Moisture is crucial for keeping skin looking firm and and vibrant, especially when it comes to your hands. The thin skin on our hands doesn’t produce as much natural moisture as the rest of our skin. So our hands are already prone to dryness, and we often make it worse through sun exposure, repeated washings, and wear and tear.

To keep your hands nice and soft, make sure to moisturize them daily. When you apply your moisturizer with SPF in the morning, apply some to the backs of your hands to protect them from the sun. And before you go to bed, slather on a rich hand cream or body butter. (Grab the recipe for my favorite homemade body butter below!)

Related: How To Make The Perfect Body Butter For Your Unique Skin

3. Droopy Eyes

Dark circles, bags, and fine lines around your eyes can all make you look older (or at least make you look tired or unwell.) To combat these issues, apply an anti-aging eye cream every night to keep the sensitive skin around your eyes moisturized.

4. Saggy Neck

The skin on our necks is thin, and thin skin tends to lose its elasticity more quickly. Personally, watching the skin on my neck start to droop and sag was really disheartening. So I started looking for solutions online, and ended up learning about some simple neck exercises and skincare products that can help lift saggy neck skin.

I ended up writing a full post on the topic of neck skin, which you can check out at the link below! 🙂

Related: 7 Tips For Coping With One Of The Most Annoying Parts Of Aging

5. Improper Cleansing

Failing to cleanse your face thoroughly can lead to clogged pores and sensitive skin. And on the other end of the spectrum, scrubbing your face overzealously or with harsh products can dry out your skin and amplify wrinkles. So it’s important to find that sweet spot between too clean and not clean enough!

If you haven’t already done so, I suggest trying a gentle oil-based cleanser. These tend to be better for aging skin because they remove makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.

6. Makeup Mistakes

I don’t pretend to a makeup expert by any means, but I do know that makeup can either help or hinder your anti-aging efforts in a big way! Over the last few years, I’ve picked up a lot of useful tips that have helped me avoid the makeup mistakes that can make you look older than you’d like. Learn how to avoid those makeup mistakes by reading my post at the link below!

Related: 9 Surprising Ways Your Makeup Is Making You Look Older

7. Bad Habits

While skincare and makeup both play significant roles when it comes to appearance, there are plenty of other factors that can make you look older than you’d like to! And many of those take the form of simple lifestyle choices.

Because your body produces stress hormones in response to stressful conditions (like work stress, mental health issues, lack of sleep, etc.), and those hormones can actually speed up the aging process! Learn more about the choices you make that can contribute to aging at the link below.

Related: These 13 Bad Habits Make You Age Faster

Do you have a favorite anti-aging product, tip, or treatment that you use?

I may include affiliate links to products sold by others, but only when they are relevant and helpful. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.

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Discussion

The results confirm the expected associations between looking older and having more grey hairs and, in men, having a more extensive arcus senilis and more extensive baldness. The relationship between skin inelasticity (measured in the “snuff box”) and looking older did not achieve statistical significance on our individual patient data analysis, but an assessment of a linear trend in the means for the four groups in men was statistically significant (p<0.03). Moreover, our measure of elasticity was an inexpensive, crude assessment and the result may have been different if we had employed more modern technology and made measurements over the face.1

There was no association between either alcohol consumption or employment grade and looking older in our study. We expected that those with a low body mass index would look older, as weight loss is thought to make a subject look older, but there was no evidence for this association. However we did not have information on previous weight and could not estimate weight loss. The percentage of current smokers was not linearly associated with looking older. However there was a trend for the oldest group to have the highest percentage of smokers. The fact that office workers have little “at work” solar exposure may explain these negative findings.

In men, serum cholesterol was increased in those looking older. However, HDL cholesterol was not importantly related to looking older. Two possibilities can be suggested: first that a high serum cholesterol leads to a loss of skin elasticity, but there is no evidence to support this; second that cholesterol is positively related to one of the variables that do make people look older. Cholesterol, arcus senilis, baldness,13 and smoking are all related to coronary artery disease, and possibly to each other. Similar arguments may be employed for haemoglobin and, for women, ESR. In fact, in the present database, cholesterol was strongly related to arcus senilis but was not related to grey hair, baldness, or smoking.

Women had a lower serum bilirubin (p=0.012) if they looked older. Chan-Yeung et al reported a decrease in serum bilirubin in smokers.14 Adjusting for observer differences did not render any of the statistically significant results “non-significant” but did alter the linear relationship between urate and perceived age from p=0.10 to p=0.03, supporting the concept that a higher serum urate is related to looking older in women.

The present study is probably the first to relate systematically the difference between perceived age and chronological age to several variables related to ageing. We took great care to ensure that our measures of “looking older” were independent of chronological age and recommend our statistical methods to other authors. Nevertheless a larger study, especially in women, is desirable and such a study should employ more sophisticated measures of skin inelasticity. For women the study lacked the power to detect an increase in cholesterol in those who looked older. The difference between the lowest and highest quarters was 0.21 mmol/l and 95% confidence intervals (−0.27 to +0.67 mmol/l).

The present methods should be expanded and several different observers asked to assess the age of the subjects. This could be easily achieved by good photographic or videographic records, although these would have to be shown to produce an estimate close to that made on a “real” subject. Whatever method is employed interobserver and intraobserver variability will have to be determined and this was determined for most measurements in the Department of the Environment study but not for perceived age. Interestingly the three observers’ estimated age assessments were in fair agreement with actual age in men but not women. In men one observer estimated age as 0.7 years older on average, one very close to actual age on average, and one 0.5 years younger (p=0.30 for heterogeneity). In women however, one observer estimated age 1.9 years older, a second observer 0.6 years older, and the third an average of 1.7 years younger (p=0.02 for heterogeneity). Olde Rikkert made a visual estimation of age using a simple checklist and found good inter-rater agreement.15

The effects of solar damage were probably only partly negated by being office workers in London and more information needs to be collected about this aspect. The subjects also had a rather narrow age range of 37 to 58 years. This may be an advantage in excluding younger subjects who are less likely to show ageing changes in the face1and older subjects who may have coexistent morbidity.

In conclusion, a high serum cholesterol and haemoglobin is related to looking older in men and this requires further investigation and confirmation. Similarly, in women, looking older was associated with a high ESR and low bilirubin. The associations between looking older and baldness, greying of the hair, arcus senilis, and skin inelasticity were predictable.

FaceApp Challenge: Try out the new craze for yourself

Sarah Tew/CNET

It seems like everyone on social media is talking about a new challenge that makes you look, like, really old. It’s called the #AgeChallenge and you can try it yourself using FaceApp on any phone. I tried this myself, and it was shocking to see the change. Let’s just say, I’d prefer to stay young forever.

The gist of it is that you supply a photo of yourself and the app uses AI to pattern how you age. Although FaceApp didn’t thin out, shorten or gray my hair, it did wrinkle my forehead, put bags under my eyes and add lots of loose skin around my chin. Future me has some deep smile lines.

Before you dive in, you should know something. Some people are concerned that FaceApp’s privacy clause gives the company license to use your photos broadly after you upload them to the company’s servers.

On the other hand, security researchers suggest that FaceApp does not take photos of your face and transfer them to Russia, where FaceApp’s developers are located, for improper use. These researchers found that only the original pictures you upload goes to the company’s server to create the aged version of yourself. They have not reported malicious findings.

Here’s what you do if you want to try on old age for yourself.

FaceApp: original, old, young 2, young 1.

Katie Conner/CNET

Make me look older!

Brace yourself, you may not like what you see. (Or you may love it!)

1. Download FaceApp for iPhone or Android.

2. You can either upload a photo from your camera roll or take a new photo from the app. You’ll need to give the app permission to access your camera or photos. You can always turn off these permissions later.

3. Once you have selected the picture, scroll to the right and tap Age.

4. Your age options are Original, Young, Young 2 and Old. Select Old to see yourself magically age in seconds. If you choose the Young filters, you’ll get smoother-looking skin.

5. Tap Apply. If you want your original and old age pictures to show side by side, tap Layouts and select Duo. Then tap the Old icon.

6. To share your photo on social media, tap the down arrow in FaceApp’s top right corner.

7. Select Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other to share your aging journey with all of your friends.

Did you try the #AgeChallenge? What did you think? Let us know in the comments. And if you want to see what you look like in another gender’s skin, there’s an app for that, too.

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16 Jul Why Does My Skin Looks Old And Dull?

Posted at 04:08h in Beauty Expert Tips by Ioannis

My skin looks old and dull! How old is your skin? Take the test to discover everything about your skin: from its actual age to its true needs!

Your daily habits, your diet, the hours you devote to sleeping and the sun exposure affect your skin and your overall health. The following quiz will help you evaluate your current situation and discover your real needs. My skin looks old and dull! How old is my skin?

When was the last time you smoked?
a) Earlier today (+2 points)
b) One year ago (+1 point)
c) 10 years ago (0 points)
d) Never (0 points)

What do you remember from your summer vacation when you were young?
a) I was sunbathing as long as it had sun! (+2 points)
b) My tanned skin took a beautiful, golden hue (+2 points)
c) I was not sitting very often on the beach or outside, but when I was doing that I always wore sunscreen. (-2 points)

Which of the following “scenarios” expresses you?
a) I am a person of nature. I spend one or two hours a day outdoors (+2 points)
b) I’m locked in the office all week but weekends rarely find me at home. (+1 point)
c) If I’m not in the office or home I choose to visit museums or go to the cinema. (0 points)

Immediately after washing, you feel your skin….
a) Silky, smooth and soft, with a subtle glow (-1 points)
b) Smooth with minimal dryness, however it is relatively soft (0 points)
c) Like linen cloth: it has a roughness and a few fine wrinkles (+ 1 point)

How often do you use cream with sunscreen filters?
a) Every day (-1 point)
b) Only when I’m going to be exposed to the sun for a few hours (0 points)
c) Never or rarely (+2 points)

What do your acquaintances say when they meet your parents?
a) “Your mother / your father looks so young / as young as if she/he were your sister!” (-1 points)
b) “My mother was older when she had me” (+1 point)
c) “Your grandmother Is so sweet”(+2 points)
d) “How nice this family look”(0 points)

What do you think when you hear the word “gym”?
a) “Walking around the office counts as an exercise?” (+1 points)
b) “Was it time to leave the gym again?” (0 points)
c) “It is as necessary as my daily Breathing!”(-1 point)

Observe in the mirror your skin without makeup. What is the most appealing expression you say about yourself?
a) I look lovely (-1 points)
b) My skin is not so neglected (0 points)
c) When did I start getting old? (+1 point)

What do you use to improve the look of your skin?
a) Minimum concealer – I usually use it under the eyes (-1 point)
b) Moisturizing cream with color to cover and shine all over the face (0 points)
c) A layer covering the whole face (+1 degree)
d) I have a cosmetics factory: moisturizing creams, masks, a product that smoothens and prepares my skin, concealer, powder etc. (+2 points)

Gather the results and then add or remove that number from your age. For example, if you are 35 and the result is +3 then the age of your skin is 38 years old.

If the actual age of your skin is 20-29 You look younger. Your skin is in good condition, regenerates normally and renews with new healthy cells. Wherever you are, the right sunscreen has gotten well into your subconscious. Continue your current care to keep your skin healthy so that in future meetings with your classmates you do not have to…put a name tag on your shirt!

If the actual age of your skin is 30-39 Your appearance is thoughtful. The lines around your lips are thin and deep, the freckles are likely to become darker and your skin is not as smooth and hydrated as it used to be. It is best to treat your skin so that it looks younger and shinier by choosing the right care and the right products. Good news! You can still overcome the formation of deep wrinkles and signs from sun exposure with Caviar of Switzerland’s complete skin care set.

If the actual age of your skin is 40-49 My skin looks old and dull. Well your skin is visibly aged. Problems such as blurry, fine lines and brown spots (from unprotected sun exposure) are reversible. Try local treatments that repair damage, minimize wrinkles and discolor stains. In this way your skin will look smoother, it will produce more collagen so fine lines and wrinkles will become less noticeable.

If the actual age of your skin is 50+ My skin looks old and dull. The skin never forgets. It reminds you every time of your past, like when you were in the sun without sunscreen. After all, prolonged exposure to the sun, as well as sunburn, contribute significantly to premature aging. Unfortunately you can not go back in time. However, there is still hope to save the situation: there are more active therapies that smoothen the skin, lighten the spots, soften the wrinkles, remove the years and wipe out the bad signs of sun exposure.

My skin looks old and dull! Now you know why!

(10 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Enter To Win The Complete Collection

Fact: luminous, dewy skin never goes out of style, we know this. We also know that maintaining radiance isn’t always easy, and the reality is there are reasons your skin is missing that so-called glow. Our skin constantly sheds dead cells, but if the process isn’t working efficiently, your complexion can take on a dull, unhealthy, tired appearance that emphasizes wrinkles.

The good news? There are almost-effortless ways to get back your healthy glow. It’s the little things can make a biggest difference when it comes to your complexion. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your glow thanks to dull skin, chances are, one of the mistakes below is responsible. So, break these habits and prepare for beaming, healthy-looking skin in no time.

1. You’re dehydrated — and so is your skin.

Getty Images

Tammie Umbel, founder of Shea Terra Organics, points out that dehydration decreases the volume of blood flow to the skin, making you look “pale and sickly.” Dehydration may seem like a short-term problem solved by a glass of water, but board-certified dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky encourages viewing skin dehydration as a long-term problem.

Consistently failing to give your skin the hydration it needs can cause lasting damage, like fine lines, sagging skin, and even scales and deep wrinkles from severe chronic dehydration.

SOLUTION: Long story short: if you don’t want wrinkles, drink up. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day.

2. You’re not exfoliating your skin.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads First Aid Beauty amazon.com $32.00

If you wash your face twice a day, great! But there’s a very crucial step you need to add: exfoliation. Dryness is the most common cause of dull skin, and exfoliating creates a fresh canvas that allows topical products to penetrate better, says Dr. Hadley King, board-certified dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa. The process removes skin’s outer layer of dead cells so its surface is smoother and clearer and reflects light (glows!).

SOLUTION: Incorporate one type of exfoliator at a time into your routine to avoid skin irritation and damage, the GH Beauty Lab recommends. (For instance, if you’re trying a chemical peel, don’t also use a physical scrub or a cleansing brush at the same time). Try a single-use wipe like First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which contain two kinds of alpha-hydroxy acids at levels that are safe for sensitive skin.

3. You’re forgetting to moisturize regularly.

It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream It Cosmetics amazon.com $21.99

Dull complexion is calling out for something moisture. Dr. Kenneth Howe, dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology, says daily life and environment stressors create cracks in our skin’s surface, giving the appearance of dullness.

SOLUTION: Moisturizer fills in those fissures with added lipids, the natural fats of the skin, presenting a smooth, reflective surface. Dr. Melanie Palm, board-certified dermatologist and the director of Art of Skin MD, suggests using moisturizers with ingredients like ceramides, which help repair skin barrier function and improve water retention, and hyaluronic acid, which plumps skin cells by attracting water to surrounding tissue. (IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream is a great choice that contains both.)

“Apply your moisturizer in gentle, upward strokes to boost blood circulation and stimulate the cells around your face and neck,” recommends Dr. Debra Luftman, board-certified dermatologist. “This will bring oxygen to the surface of your skin, making it look nourished and healthy.”

4. You’re super stressed.

Stress plays a large role in brilliance of your skin—or the lack thereof. “Stress causes an increase in cortisol, which can affect blood flow to the skin and skin repair,” says Dr. Luftman. Translation: whatever deadline, argument, or frustration it is you’re holding onto could be what’s standing between you and lustrous skin.

SOLUTION: Stress management is crucial. Take time to de-stress at home. Adopting a more positive attitude was a common, important factor in “super-agers” (women who look 10+ years younger than their actual age) according to an Olay study. Also, try learning strategies to calm your mind and manage stress, which will help improve your complexion now and in the future.

5. You are sleep deprived.

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Anything that keeps you up at night is getting in the way of your best skin. “Sleep is the body’s restorative time when your skin cells repair themselves and regenerate,” explains Dr. Palm. “If that period is shortened or altered, skin cells cannot perform at their optimum.”

SOLUTION: Log seven to nine hours of sleep to stay looking (and feeling!) your best. Night creams tackle tough skin issues while you drift off. For even more moisturizing power, swap in an extra-nourishing overnight mask weekly or as needed in place of your night cream. In our Beauty Lab’s test, Amorepacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque increased skin’s moisture levels by 49%.

6. Your environment is affecting your skin.

Your environment could be dulling down your skin with air pollutants, low humidity, harsh winds, and UV exposure, which can wreak havoc on unprotected skin. In one study, researchers tracked women who lived in both rural and urban areas for over 20 years and found that the city dwellers ended up with significantly more brown spots and lines.

SOLUTION: You don’t have to relocate to keep your skin smooth and even. First, always wash your face before bed, “otherwise, pollutant particles can clog pores” while you sleep, says Annie Chiu, M.D., director of The Derm Institute in Redondo Beach, CA. Then, apply a good antioxidant product every morning to “mop up the free radicals that we’re exposed to every day, which stops them from doing harm,” says Dr. Chiu. Some of the best ones are green tea, white tea, vitamin C, and resveratrol; try the white tea-loaded Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Moisturizer. And always wear SPF daily to shield skin from the sun and pollutants.

If you live in a high-smog area, one way to counteract the effects of your environment is by getting some exercise. “Aerobic activity enhances circulation to skin, which helps in nutrient exchange and removal of toxins from our skin cells,” advises Dr. Palm, so add a stop at the gym to your routine and get ready to notice a big difference.

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7. You’re a smoker.

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Surely you don’t need to be told this again, but smoking is seriously harmful to your skin, in both the long- and short-term. Take it from Dr. Palm: “Carcinogenic substances are extremely detrimental to skin integrity and structure. Cigarette smoking causes collagen breakdown, making skin appear sallow, waxy, and wrinkled over time.”

SOLUTION: You know all this, but seriously — try to get help to quit smoking, your body (and loved ones) will thank you.

8. You’re overdoing it with matte makeup.

Even if you have oily skin, avoid over-mattifying cosmetics, which can reduce that glowy appearance — a little oil is important for that! You should also skip makeup removers that contain alcohol.

SOLUTION: Use a foundation or BB cream that has light-reflecting pigments (it’ll have words like “radiance-boosting” or “luminizing” on the bottle). “These bounce light off the skin so it looks more even-toned,”says makeup artist Troy Surratt, founder of Surratt Beauty Cosmetics.

A touch of cream highlighter in a champagne color for fair skin, or gold tone for olive to dark skin, can work wonders. Swipe a little along the entire length of your cheekbones for “a pretty, dewy effect that makes your entire face seem more luminous,” Surratt says. Lastly, switch to a gentle balm cleanser to take everything off. Not only will this remove your makeup, it will also add moisture.

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9. You’re not eating a healthy diet.

The age-old saying “you are what you eat” very much applies here. What you put into your body is reflected in your complexion, so don’t expect to under-nourish your body and see great skin.

SOLUTION: Dr. Palm says to stay away from salty and processed foods—they “enhance tissue swelling through fluid retention, which retards ideal light reflection.” Nutritionist Paula Simpson recommends steering clear of the “typical Western diet” all together, which in her own words includes ingredients that are “high in sugar and fat, and devoid of fiber, antioxidants, high-quality protein, and essential fatty acids,” all major culprits when it comes to dull skin.

There are healthy food options out there to please both your stomach and your skin. Dr. Howe suggests antioxidant-rich food like blueberries, cranberries, red beans, and pinto beans, while Dr. Palm advocates for good-fat treats like avocados and walnuts, as well as citrus fruits and kiwi, which contain vitamin C, known to boost collagen growth. As for alcohol, imbibe sparingly. Mariola Barczewska, Esthetician at Haven Spa, recommends sulfite-free red wine and liquor neat or on the rocks, which doesn’t affect your metabolism the way a sugary mixer might.

6 Simple Steps to Get Glowing ASAP

Paige Stables Paige Stables is the Assistant Beauty Editor at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group; she has also written for Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Redbook, Dr.

The tipping point, at least according to author Malcolm Gladwell, is when an idea or trend reaches critical mass and then begins to spread like wildfire. If you’re talking about the cultural moment it became cool to wear sneakers with skirts, it’s probably around the time Adidas relaunched Stan Smiths at Colette in Paris (late 2013). But if you’re talking about aging—as in actually looking older—that’s another story, and it’s not always easy to pinpoint when it begins.

I remember when it happened to me. I was 29 and on a long weekend away with a guy I liked. The first morning we woke up together, he looked at me with concern and said, “Did you sleep OK? You look tired.” I had slept fine, thank you. But when I leaned close to the mirror in the unforgiving fluorescent cast of the bathroom lights, I saw that dark circles under my eyes told a different story that no amount of shut-eye could rectify. For a friend, the moment came at 34 when she went to blend in some excess foundation between her brows, only to realize it wasn’t a dark smudge of makeup. The infamous “11” lines had taken anchor, and there was no rubbing them away. Another pal told me it happened a few months after she turned 36. She arrived at her office one morning, looked in a mirror, and realized that the sleep wrinkles she had awoken with an hour and a half earlier were still embarrassingly visible on the side of her face.

Getting older—it’s inevitable. But when exactly does that notice-it-in-the-mirror, complain-about-it-to-friends type of skin aging start? And can anything be done to delay it? These questions were the focus of a new research study conducted by the skincare brand Olay in conjunction with personal genetics company 23andMe and Dr. Alexa Kimball, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. Their goal was to discover what’s happening below the surface level of the complexion in hopes of unlocking the golden secret of how to affect, delay, and perhaps even reverse those first signs of aging.

Skin’s Big Changes

“We used to think everything was great until about age 35, when all the skin processes started to slow down at once,” says Olay principal scientist Dr. Frauke Neuser. “But that’s not what we found. In reality, different cell processes change at each decade, until you start seeing the cumulative effects all together.”

The best time to start using products with antioxidants such as stabilized vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract, and fruit acids is right around college graduation.

After analyzing the genes of more than 200 women of different ethnicities over the course of two years, the study was able to pinpoint five different cell processes that slow or decline at five different landmark ages. The first process to decline is natural antioxidant production, and that happens in your 20s. “We always thought that you just need to moisturize and use sunscreen in your 20s, but this new data shows that skin is already susceptible to oxidative stressors and damage,” says Neuser. Accordingly, the best time to start using products with antioxidants such as stabilized vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract, and fruit acids is right around college graduation.

When your body’s metabolism starts slowing in your 30s, so, too, does the bioenergy of skin cells, which powers the creation of collagen, activates repair processes, and even helps absorb and process ingredients applied to your complexion. “When bioenergy drops, it’s like your skin is getting tired and no longer firing on all cylinders,” says Kimball, the study’s lead researcher. She says the key ingredient for revving up the cell metabolic engine is niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, which has been shown to raise skin’s bioenergy levels. (Find it in Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer, $25.)

Around 40, cellular “senescence” kicks in. It’s a complicated process in which the natural life cycle of skin cells is arrested, and it could affect your complexion in many ways. At this point, skincare ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and peptides become important, because, according to New York facial plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Yagoda, they help jump-start the cell processes that are starting to lag.

As you transition into menopause (average age: 51), skin barrier function weakens, which makes skin dry and unable to retain enough hydration on its own. (Experts say that rich moisturizers like oils and petrolatum can help counteract the process.) Then, in your 60s, all the aging processes mentioned here dramatically accelerate. But there’s good news, according to researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario: Aerobic exercise (like jogging or cycling) twice a week has the ability to transform the protein structure of skin in those 65 and older so it more closely resembles the skin of those 20 to 40.

African-American women age, on average, 10 years more slowly than Caucasians.

That’s a lot of information to process, but the main takeaway is that using different skincare ingredients as you progress through life, along with exercising, will go a long way toward helping you look younger than the age on your driver’s license.

The Moment You Look Old

What you’re probably still wondering is when exactly these internal changes become visible. Experts say that depends on your race and, possibly, your lifestyle. For Caucasian women, it’s typically around the late 30s. “This is when fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes, less-elastic skin, and brown spots and broken capillaries from accumulated sun damage crop up,” says Yagoda. If you’re a woman of color, the tipping point is more likely in your 40s. “African-American women aged, on average, 10 years more slowly than Caucasians in our study, which could be seen not only in skin appearance, but also in underlying gene expression,” says Kimball. It’s thought that darker skin provides more UV protection, but data suggest that can’t be the only reason for the difference; researchers believe more antioxidant protection and higher skin bioenergy levels may also be at play. (So far, only Caucasian and African-American women have been analyzed in the study; data on Asians and Hispanics should be finished by January 2016.)

Exceptional Agers

Now, here’s the glimmer of hope for all of us. While reviewing the data in the Olay-sponsored study, researchers found a group of women who defied the so-called tipping point—genetic overachievers, if you will. These women all appeared at least 10 years younger than their true age. “Some were 60 but looked 39,” says Neuser. Researchers weren’t surprised to find women who looked younger than their actual age (after all, we all know people who inspire envy by defying nature’s clock), but they were intrigued to learn that these particular women showed similar gene expression. Their skin was somehow able to robustly renew itself through the decades so that, for example, the antioxidant decline typically seen in the 20s still hadn’t happened by their 50s.

Do these women have nature (DNA) or nurture (lifestyle) to thank? Scientists believe the answer is likely a bit of both, and determining exactly how much of it is related to factors like UV exposure, nutrition, and skincare will be questions leading future studies.

Their skin was somehow able to robustly renew itself through the decades so that, for example, the antioxidant decline typically seen in the 20s still hadn’t happened by their 50s.

Yagoda, for one, believes that up to 80 percent of aging is due to lifestyle choices. She suggests sleeping seven to eight hours a night, following a lean-protein-rich diet that gives skin the building blocks it needs to renew, and glugging lots of water to stay hydrated from the inside out. And since some people have trouble absorbing all of the nutrients they consume, she also recommends a supplement that contains peptides, amino acids like collagen, and biotin to help replace what is lost with aging.

Keeping your skin in good shape with a regular routine and the right products can also help you defy your age, even if it can’t necessarily alter your DNA and turn you into an exceptional ager. “A 60-year-old who has never done anything and buys a $200 antiaging cream just isn’t going to see the same results as someone who has been taking care of her skin throughout earlier aging stages,” says New York cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank.

As more research emerges, it may soon be common to buy bespoke products that were developed to suit your personal genetic profile. But for now, best to nurture what you’ve got.

This article appears in the October issue of Marie Claire.

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