If you have reached middle age, you may be noticing that your body is showing more wear and tear than when you were in your teens and twenties. Many people want to slow and even reverse the signs of aging on their skin, but where to begin? Don’t go out and get plastic surgery right away to fix a little wrinkle here and there. However, you can listen to the advice of plastic surgeons, as it is their business to understand how the body ages. Follow these simple skincare tips to keep your skin looking youthful and forever young.
40. Your Skin Changes As You Age.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body (via PubMed). Furthermore, it is the one that serves as a protective barrier for just about every other organ. That is, except those on your face, such as your eyes and mouth. Unfortunately, as your body gets older and begins experiencing the effects of age, your skin does, too. Your skin is the organ that most people see. Plus, it is more exposed to outside elements, making the effects of aging are more visible on your skin than just about any other part of your body (via National Institute of Aging).
When you were a kid, did you ever pinch yourself to see how quickly your skin would return to normal? It probably snapped right back, and the reason is that when you were younger, your skin was much more elastic than it is now. One effect of aging is that your skin loses that elasticity and stops snapping back as quickly as it used to (via WebMD). Taking good care of your skin can reduce the effects of aging so that your skin retains that snap (via National Institute of Aging).
Wrinkles are probably the most common and noticeable effect of aging on the skin. Their skin becomes more wrinkled as people get older, usually beginning around the eyes and lips. By the time someone is in their seventies, wrinkles may be seen on the arms, legs, and just about every other part of the body. The most important thing to understand about wrinkled skin is that it is a normal and expected effect of aging (via Mayo Clinic). That said, you can do things to reduce the appearance of wrinkles (via National Institute of Aging).
There is an important reason why dermatologists and plastic surgeons constantly preach the importance of wearing sunscreen: long-term exposure to the sun damages the skin (via plasticsurgery.org). You may have heard of sunspots on the surface of the sun; they also appear on your skin, albeit for different reasons. The skin can also become more wrinkled and discolored as a result. The high-school knockout who always had an enviable tan may find that they have some unenviable skin problems later in life (via National Institute of Aging).
When you were a kid, you could probably get as many tans as you wanted without seeing any of the damaging effects of prolonged sun exposure. However, once you go over the hill, the damage that your skin experienced can begin to show. One reason is that as you age, your body is less able to heal itself as quickly and may require more nutrients to heal completely. As a result, the effects of that damage become much more apparent (via National Institute of Aging).
If you are a smoker, odds are you first got addicted at a time when you thought you were invulnerable to any of the problems that cigarettes can cause. You may have even gotten addicted before scientists understood just how harmful cigarettes are to health. One side effect of smoking, in addition to lung and other kinds of cancer, is that it also damages your skin (via CDC). The skin can become discolored, and additional fine lines and wrinkles appear, especially around the lips (via plasticsurgery.org).
34. There Are Things You Can Do to Decrease the Effects of Skin Aging.
You cannot stop your body from aging. Well, you can, but the way to do that is a bit too unpleasant to discuss. However, there are things that you can do that will allow you to continue gaining years without necessarily showing everyone around you just how many trips you have taken around the sun (via the National Institute of Health). The best news is that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars each month on expensive creams and lotions (via plasticsurgery.org).
Going to the tanning booth is one of the absolute worst things you can do for your health (via cancer.org). That luscious tan may help you feel more attractive, but it is damaging your skin in more ways than we can possibly list here. If skin cancer, liver spots, and excessive wrinkles sound like good ideas, then, by all means, keep tanning. However, stop going to the tanning booth if you want to keep your skin looking young and healthy (via National Institute of Aging).
Deciding not to go to the tanning booth is one thing but reducing your exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays is more difficult. There are so many benefits to getting fresh air and exercise that trying to avoid sun exposure almost sounds counterintuitive. However, there are ways that you can get outside without taking home an extra dose of UV rays (via cancer.org). Wear a hat to cover your face and wear protective clothing to keep you cool while shielding your skin (via Mayo Clinic).
Sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays, which can damage your DNA and lead to skin cancer, in addition to causing early aging (via National Institute of Health). On warm days when wearing long clothing outdoors is not an option, make sure you put on enough sunscreen to protect your skin. Regularly apply sunscreen to your face, even during the winter. The best way to apply sunscreen is to use makeup or skin cream that includes sunscreen (via Mayo Clinic).
No matter how many years you have been smoking regularly, you can begin improving your skin’s health and appearance by quitting. Smoking damages the fibers in your skin that give it its elasticity, collagen, and elastin, leading to additional wrinkles, skin discoloration, and other problems. It also leads to extra wrinkles in your face due to the repeated motions of sucking in and then blowing out (via Mayo Clinic). Not only will kicking the habit save you hundreds of dollars per month; it could, quite literally, save your skin (via plasticsurgery.org).
One of the functions of sleep is stabilizing your hormone levels so that your body can function at its best. Not getting enough sleep results in elevated cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Cortisol causes fat to build up and increases inflammation, which can lead to chronic problems in the skin. Effects include eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and even more wrinkles and other signs of aging (via National Institute of Health). Getting enough sleep can quickly reverse some of those problems (via US Dermatology Partners).
28. Many People Today Are Chronically Sleep-Deprived.
Sleep deprivation seems to be an epidemic, with the Sleep Foundation estimating that at least one-third of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Poor quality sleep or not getting enough sleep leads to life-impacting impairments, ranging from persistent drowsiness to reduced productivity at work to mental health problems (via plasticsurgery.org). If you have ever looked in the mirror after a night of poor sleep and noticed a difference, then you know that poor sleep affects skin health, too (via SleepFoundation.org).
27. They Are Often So Busy They Cannot Calm Down At Night.
Insomnia refers to sleep deprivation that results from not being able to fall asleep at night, even though the person has enough hours to get enough sleep. Sometimes insomnia occurs because people are so busy that they cannot calm down enough to fall asleep. Another kind of sleep deprivation comes from having such a hectic schedule that there are simply not enough hours for sleeping. Both are problems that will affect skin health and show the effects of aging (via SleepFoundation.org).
Removing the chronic stress out of your life that may be contributing to, if not outright causing, sleep deprivation will improve many aspects of your health. Take stock of your daily schedule and see what you can remove to make your life more manageable (via plasticsurgery.org). A less busy schedule does not mean a less meaningful life; a less busy schedule can mean more productivity and better health, in no small part due to the improved quality of sleep (via SleepFoundation.org).
When you were a kid, you may have heard that too much stress can cause acne. Did you know that having too much stress in your life can also cause your skin and other parts of your body to age more quickly? Suppose your body’s stress-response system is constantly firing on all cylinders and flooding your body with stress hormones, such as cortisol (via Harvard Health). In that case, your skin will suffer from loss of collagen and elastin, which are critical for skin health (via WikiHow).
24. De-Stressing Can Dramatically Improve Your Skin.
Reducing the amount of stress in your life can improve the health of your skin and even help reverse the effects of aging (via National Institute of Health). One reason is that less stress translates into a better-quality sleep, which automatically improves skin health. Another reason is that fewer stress hormones coursing through your body mean that the aging process will slow down enough that you might begin to reverse it. Swapping out stress for a healthy diet, exercise, good quality sleep, and meaningful relationships will lead to better overall health and improved appearance of the skin (via WikiHow).
Weight gain and weight loss can lead to sagging skin, in addition to disrupted hormones that can harm your skin (via National Institute of Health). Getting regular exercise, at least 30 minutes per day, can keep you at a healthy weight while also increasing the feel-good hormones that improve your sleep and visibly lead to better skin. Exercise also improves heart health, and since the appearance of the skin is a solid indication of general health, better heart health leads to improved skin (via plasticsurgery.org).
Improving your health through supplements can boost the appearance of your skin. Be wary of supplements, as they can be harmful in excess, and also, some combinations can cause problems. For skin health, a great supplement to take is collagen. Collagen is a protein found in the skin, and getting enough of it can improve skin hydration and elasticity, meaning fewer wrinkles and fine lines (via National Institute of Health). Taking a daily collagen supplement can help slow and even reverse the effects of aging on the skin (via WikiHow).
You have probably heard plenty of times that vitamin C is important for your immune system and that you should get extra fruit when you feel sick. Did you know that vitamin C is also essential to collagen production in your body (via the National Institute of Health)? If you are concerned that you may not be getting enough vitamin C in your diet, consider adding more in with a daily supplement. Of course, you could also boost your vitamin C intake by getting a lot of fruit into your diet. However, skip the fruit juice, which can lead to sugar spikes (via plasticsurgery.org).
Facial massage can improve blood flow to your face and increase drainage, meaning that your face is less puffy and inflamed. The improved blood flow delivers more nutrients to your skin, helping to slow the aging process (via National Institute of Health). You can book an appointment with a professional, or you can begin doing your own face massage at home. Lubricate your skin with a moisturizer, and then start at your jawline with strong and firm upward movements, using your fingertips. Move up through your cheeks and then massage around your eyes and forehead (via WikiHow).
Dermatologists believe that using heavy amounts of foundation settles into the wrinkles and fine lines on your face, leading to skin that seems to wear the signs of aging more prominently (via National Institute of Health). They recommend that you not use a foundation with a powder base and use a primer before applying the foundation. A primer can help smooth out the fine lines and wrinkles so that the foundation does not settle in so heavily into the creases of your skin (via Everyday Health).
If you already have some fine lines and wrinkles on your face, you want to avoid wearing makeup that will exacerbate your appearance. Glittery makeup settles into those creases, highlighting them rather than disguising them. Also, avoid liquid eyeliner, which can have the same effect as glitter (via US Dermatology Partners). Instead, go for dark colors that you combine with more neutrals for a look that will not show everyone how many years are in your face. Changing your makeup may not reverse the effects of aging, but it can help your appearance (via Everyday Health).
Rubbing your eyes can, over time, increase redness and puffiness, as well as sagging and bags that can appear under your eyes. These effects are associated with skin that seems older than it is, so you want to avoid rubbing your eyes as much as possible (via Everyday Health). If seasonal allergies or irritants in the air lead you to want to start rubbing your eyes, try to make a habit of closing your eyes until the burning or itching sensation goes away. If you are at home, make an ice compress and apply it to your eyes, and the ice will reduce the itchiness and redness (via US Dermatology Partners).
One of the quickest tests to determine if someone is dehydrated is to pinch the skin and see if it snaps back quickly. If not, the person is dehydrated (via National Institute of Health). Therefore, the importance of getting plenty of water to maintain skin health and reverse the effects of aging should not come as a surprise. The cells in your body are mostly water, and when the cells in your skin start to dry out, they get flaky and cause wrinkles (via US Dermatology Partners).
You may think of your skincare routine as what you do in the morning and evening when standing in front of the bathroom mirror, applying creams and lotions. Nevertheless, hopefully, you are beginning to realize that skincare is also about what you eat, how much you exercise, how well you sleep, and whether or not you smoke (via plasticsurgery.org). Before you decide to buy more expensive creams and lotions or invest in Botox to improve your skin health, look at all of the other factors that influence your skin’s appearance (via Mayo Clinic).
If you have ever struggled with acne, you may know that retinol is excellent for reducing the red, inflamed spots that can pop up. Retinol comes from vitamin A, and one way it works is by gently exfoliating the upper layer of skin on your face (via Allure). That upper layer gets thicker and thicker as you get older, and the underlayer gets thinner. Continuing to use retinol on your skin as you age can allow you to keep reaping the benefits (via plasticsurgery.org).
13. Retinol Also Improves The Appearance of Fine Lines And Wrinkles.
While retinol was originally developed as a treatment for acne, what dermatologists discovered is that it reduces the appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles that form on your skin due to aging (via National Institute of Health). As the upper layer of the skin gets thicker and wrinkles become embedded in it, retinol regularly can stop and even reverse that process. The result is healthier skin that shows less wear and tear. Just be sure to cover up with sunscreen, as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun (via plasticsurgery.org).
Exfoliating your skin removes the dry, dead skin cells on the outer layer, revealing the healthy cells underneath (via skincare.com). You can exfoliate mechanically, using a special brush to physically remove that layer, or chemically, using a peel that will dissolve the old skin cells. If you have acne-prone skin, experts recommend a chemical peel. Opt for a mechanical peel for oily skin by investing in a good scrub brush. The result is that your skin will look smoother, brighter, and have more even color (via WikiHow).
What you eat may have a bigger impact on the health of your skin than the creams and lotions that you put on it. A diet high in fruits and vegetables gets lots of antioxidants that boost the health of your skin. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals, which are caused, among other things, by exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun (via Harvard Health). The result is fewer signs of aging because your body is fighting off the aging process (via WikiHow).
Omega-3s are what is known as an essential fatty acid, or EFA. EFAs are all-around fantastic for your skin, as they prevent the thinning of the skin that comes with age, reduce the inflammation that comes from sun exposure, and keep your skin hydrated. Foods high in EFAs include salmon, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and some vegetable oils. If you cannot get enough from your diet, consider beginning a supplement that includes omega-3s (via plasticsurgery.org). However, be careful of other omegas, which can cause rather than reduce inflammation (via WikiHow).
Sugar may taste great, but it wreaks havoc on your health, including your skin health. One effect of consuming too much sugar is a process known as glycosylation, in which organic molecules, including proteins, are damaged by the addition of a sugar molecule (via National Institute of Health). Two proteins that are especially susceptible to glycosylation are collagen and elastin, which are incredibly significant in maintaining skin health. If you want to reduce the effects of aging on your skin, cut back dramatically on sugar (via plasticsurgery.org).
How often have you looked on the skincare product label and seen a particular food advertised as one of the ingredients? The label may contain real peaches, real oatmeal, real green tea, or any number of food ingredients. Instead of spending half of your paycheck on expensive products because they contain a particular food ingredient, why not start looking in the produce section of the grocery store for additions to your skincare regimen (via Mayo Clinic)?
Grape-seed oil and other grape-seed derivatives are common ingredients in skincare products. Grape seed has compounds, including antioxidants, that reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production (via Mayo Clinic). One way to boost your skincare routine without adding too much weight to your budget is to buy grape-seed oil at the grocery store. Add a spoonful to your bath for a luxurious boost to your skin. You just might wake up the next day with more collagen and better-looking skin.
Many creams that reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles contain extracts from green tea. Do you know what is a lot cheaper than expensive products that have green tea? Green tea. Try steeping a couple of bags of green tea in a hot bath and then soak in a brew of this powerful compound. After making a cup of green tea to drink in the mornings, rub the tea bag on your face. You will have less inflammation and brighter, more youthful skin all day long (via Mayo Clinic).
If you occasionally fall asleep at night with makeup on, you unintentionally harm your skin and possibly cause it to age prematurely (via plasticsurgery.org). Skin coated with makeup cannot breathe, leading to skin damage when you wake up in the morning. You may be tired at the end of the day and want to get into bed, but if you’re going to prioritize your skin health (and if you have read this far, you probably do), removing your makeup before going to sleep should be non-negotiable (via WikiHow).
4. You May Not Need Many Expensive Creams And Lotions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you may not need to spend hundreds of dollars each month on expensive creams and lotions to reap the benefits of better skin health (via Mayo Clinic). Your friend may swear by a specific product that has no advantage on you. You are not doing anything wrong; the product just does not work for you. Save your money and opt for products that get you results, including food ingredients, such as grape-seed oil and green tea.
Just because something is expensive does not necessarily mean that it will work better than something cheaper. Put bluntly: there is no relationship between cost and efficacy. The higher price usually means a bigger advertising budget, not necessarily a better product. There is nothing wrong with spending less money on cheaper products that are more effective for you. What is essential is to make sure that you are using sunscreen regularly (via plasticsurgery.org). Also, make sure you are getting lots of exercise and healthy food and reducing the amount of sugar you consume (via Mayo Clinic).
What works for your sister, best friend, or mother may not work that great for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, the FDA has less stringent oversight regarding over-the-counter products, so there is no guarantee that they will work. Suppose you have tried everything and are still not satisfied with the results that you are seeing, head to a dermatologist and see if you can get a prescription. Prescriptions tend to contain higher doses of the active ingredients found in over-the-counter products, making them more effective (via Mayo Clinic).
Skin health is so much more than what you put on it in the morning and evening. Skin health comes down to reducing the amount of stress in your life, improving the quality of your sleep, not smoking, improving your diet by getting lots of fruits and vegetables, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, reducing your sugar intake, and many other things (via National Institute of Health). In other words, promoting skin health is a lifestyle requiring more dramatic changes than switching your skin cream (via Mayo Clinic).