As the saying goes, when it comes to growing older, Father Time is undefeated. Aging is the one process that impacts everyone … and it does so unmercifully. But the truth is that today, you no longer have to simply resign yourself to the effects of aging.
Dermatologists and skin care experts have found simple maintenance and wellness strategies that are very effective weapons to slow down the aging process, allowing you to retain a youthful appearance.
Here’s a list of our top 7 anti-aging tips to help you go toe-to-toe with Father Time, maintain a fresh-faced look year in and year out and slow down that aging process.
1. Moisturize Daily
Using daily moisturizer on your skin is the single most valuable thing you can do to maintain a healthy complexion, even if you do nothing else to take care of your skin. Everyday conditions such as exposure to the sun or any type of hot, cold or dry weather saps moisture from your face, causing skin cells to shrink. After repeatedly losing moisture, your skin will lose its elasticity, allowing wrinkles to set in.
In addition to hydrating your skin, moisturizers create a barrier to not only lock moisture in, but also to keep dirt and other irritants out. To get the maximum benefit, use a moisturizer that’s designed specifically for your skin type. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for a gel-based moisturizer that won't clog pores.
2. Protect Your Skin from Sun and Heat
By now, it's a well-known fact that sunbathing without sunscreen might be the worst thing you can do to your skin. Not only does unprotected exposure to the sun dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer, it accelerates the aging process and most notably, the creation of wrinkles and unsightly skin blotches.
You don't have to be poolside or at the beach to be effected by sun exposure either. Dangerous UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover and even windshield glass, making you susceptible to sun damage on a cloudy day and even inside your car! Get in the habit of applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 every day.
Don't overlook heat that’s generated for more unlikely sources either. Direct exposure to heat sources such as fireplaces, space heaters can “cook” your skin and dry it out unnecessarily, breaking down the collagen in your skin, which is the connective tissue that keeps skin firm and supple.
3. Watch What Goes Into Your Body
Healthy skin isn't created only on the outside. As the largest organ in your body, skin benefits immensely from a nutrient-rich diet.
- Be sure to eat foods that are rich in essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 in particular, that are found in olive oil, salmon, walnuts and flaxseed, helping to hydrate and preserve the moisture barrier that keeps your skin from drying out.
- Avoid those processed, sugar-rich and preservative laden foods that aren't just high in calories. They also stimulate the body's inflammatory response, which interferes with production of healthy new skin cells.
4. Exfoliate Regularly
Skin replenishes itself by shedding the top layer of dead skin cells, revealing fresh new ones. Over time the process slows down, leaving the dry, flaky layer exposed for much longer. Regular exfoliation, either at home or in a salon or spa, speeds up the rate at which skin cells are renewed. (Check out Clarity MD’s Konjac all-natural facial cleansing sponge, one of the hottest new exfoliating tools in skincare.)
5. Take Time to De-Stress
Stress and pressure affect more than just your disposition. Tension stimulates your body's production of cortisol, a hormone that produces the classic fight-or-flight response and also damages collagen. When you’re under stress, your muscles involuntarily tighten causing frowns and other facial expressions that can also hasten the development of wrinkles. It's vital that you enjoy regular relaxation time. If necessary, schedule it just as you would any other appointment.
6. Get Your Nightly Eight Hours
Sleep is when your body, including your complexion, gets a chance to repair itself. Whether it's stress or play that's keeping you up at night, the result is the same: it becomes more difficult to undo the damage. Focus on getting seven to eight hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep each night.
7. Quit Smoking
And if you don't smoke, don't start. Lung diseases caused by smoking include cancer, COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer. If you need any more reasons to quit smoking, consider that smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting the nutrient supply to your skin. It also damages collagen and causes wrinkles, two of the most common factors that age a complexion.