What most of us wouldn’t give to be a teenager again, from the lack of bills to the youthful, line-free faces we once enjoyed. While, short of moving back in with our parents, there’s little we can do about the former, stopping the aging process in its tracks may be more feasible than you’d imagine.
Every day, we’re engaging in habits that can make our skin and overall health suffer, aging us in the process. From the food we eat to the way we wash our faces, these seemingly minor decisions can end up making us years older than our chronological age in the long run.
So, what’s the solution? Before you start shelling tons of cash on every dubious pill and potion at your local pharmacy, find out what the pros know about staying youthful by discovering these doctor-approved anti-aging tips. No matter your current age, you can start feeling more energetic and vibrant today with the 50 Ways to Feel Younger Now!
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Add Some Vitamin A to Your Routine
One of the easiest ways to turn back the clock is to make topical retinoids part of your skincare arsenal. While they can be irritating to certain individuals with sensitive skin, they can also provide a serious line of defense against wrinkles. “An easy at-home regimen would be using a retinol cream,” says Dr. John Kahan, a surgeon who treats patients at Beverly Hills Med Spa. “Retinol is a form of vitamin A and it helps with fine lines, uneven skin tone, dark spots, and texturized skin.”
Dr. Ayelet Mizrachi-Jonisch, a dermatologist at New York-based CareMount Medical, echoes his sentiments, noting that these vitamin A-based treatments can stop the aging process before it starts. “[A] prescribed retinoid is always a good idea for maintenance of good skin health and prevention of photo aging,” she says.
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Avoid Excess Weight Gain
Don’t let those little indulgences turn into extra pounds; if you do, you might just find yourself looking older than you actually are. “Weight gain is also perceived as aging in several areas,” says Dr. Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Manhattan. “For example, submental fat, which is located below the chin, significantly changes how the lower face is viewed.”
Skip the Sugary Stuff
Sugar does more than just rot your teeth, it’s also a major contributor to the loss of firmness in the skin, which can age you significantly. “Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and vegetables and avoid sugar,” suggests Dr. Fred Pescatore, a natural health physician. “Poor diets that are high in sugar have been linked to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which cause wrinkles and loss of collagen and elastin.”
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Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day can help keep your skin healthy and youthful-looking. While the amount of water you need depends on your size and activity level, sipping water throughout the day and never letting yourself get thirsty is a good guideline.
“Not drinking enough can result in an increased appearance of wrinkles and lines and creates more dry areas and dullness,” says clinical nutritionist Ariane Hundt. “Drinking enough is key to keeping a healthy glow and that dewy appearance.”
Skip the All-Nighters
Those late nights you pulled in college are doing no favors to your skin. In fact, they could be the reason you’re looking a little worse for wear. “Sleep is one of the most important physiological processes,” says Sarah Greenfield, a registered dietician and Director of Nutrition and Education for HUM Nutrition. “While we are sleeping, our bodies are repairing, detoxifying and our hormones are being balanced. The lining of the GI tract is turning over to ensure your body can absorb all the nutrients you are eating to keep your skin healthy and happy. Adequate sleep improves circulation around the eyes decreasing puffiness and dryness.”
Take Sun Damage Seriously
Every sunburn counts. In fact, “many studies show that repeated sun burns as a child lead to much higher cases of skin cancers and skin damage as an adult,” says Dr. David Shafer, founder of Manhattan’s Shafer Plastic Surgery. So take every trip into the sun with the same precautions. Doing so might just fend off those early signs of aging you’re trying to avoid. Beginning from when you’re a “young [kid], it is important to focus on prevention, such as using an adequate sunscreen or protective clothing,” explains Dr. Shafer. For more ways to stop the clock, turn to these 20 Zero Belly Habits For Aging!
Protect Your Skin with Proper Clothing
The best offense is a good defense when it comes to staving off wrinkles. Like Dr. Shafer mentioned previously, getting adequate sun protection is one of the best things you can do for your skin when it comes to slowing down the aging process. “The first line of defense is prevention,” says Dr. Shafer. “Either wearing sunscreen or physical protective barrier clothing and hats are essential for protecting the skin.”
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Wash After a Workout
Think you can skip the shower after the gym? Think again. Washing your face post-workout can help keep dead skin and other grime from settling into your pores, making them look larger, a sure sign of aging. “Wash your face twice daily, especially after sweating heavily while working or exercising,” says Dr. Ross Levy, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist with New York’s CareMount Medical.
Skip the Smokes
It probably comes as no surprise that smoking is bad for your health—as it increases your risk of cancer and other serious health issues—but not everyone realizes what a major impact it can have on your appearance. Even if you only smoke occasionally, you’re making yourself look older and sicker with every puff. “Choices such as smoking have a profound effect on the skin as the smoke and nicotine starve the precious cells of oxygen and nutrition,” says Dr. Shafer.
It’s Never Too Late To Start Caring For Yourself
Don’t assume that you’re already too late to fix the signs of aging; late is better than never.
“While it is never too late, the sooner one starts, the better,” says Dr. Adam Kolker, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon. “When one begins to address issues too late in life the solutions may be less effective.”