Ways to Keep Your Skin Looking Youthful

As we age, we get wrinkles. It seems like a guarantee, but did you know that you can prevent visible skin aging? Simple actions such as not drinking enough water or using the wrong product can make you age more quickly, says plastic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Sieveking.

For instance, did you know that turning the thermostat too high can create wrinkles? Or that “beauty sleep” has scientific backing? Researchers and dermatologists have studied methods to delay skin aging. If you want to learn how to keep your skin youthful, keep reading.

If You Put On Sunscreen, Your Skin Will Look Twice As Good

A woman pours sunscreen into her hand.

If you’re wondering what the most common cause of skin aging is, look up. Sun exposure creates lines through UV damage. In 2016, a study in Dermatologic Surgery concluded that putting on sunscreen can prevent wrinkles, spots, redness, and pigmentation.

You don’t need an expensive product, either. When participants used 30 SPF sunscreen, they had 52% fewer sunspots and 40% better skin texture after one year. Some morning moisturizers include sunscreen. If they don’t, or if they have a low SPF, put some on anytime you go outside.

People Who Exercise Look Younger

A woman boxes during a gym training session.

Scientists have discovered that the more you exercise, the younger your skin appears. At McMaster University in Ontario, researchers tested the participants’ exercise habits between the ages of 20 and 84. When participants exercised regularly, their skin looked more like the complexion of someone in their 20s.

According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, exercise produces a skin-healing chemical called ATP. It relieves inflammation and oxidative stress in the skin, which would otherwise cause wrinkles, spots, and under-eye bags. Working out also increases blood flow to your skin, flooding it with nutrients. Even ten minutes of daily exercise can make a difference.

Eat Vitamin C And Put It On Your Face

Vitamin C supplements are seen out of their container.

If you’ve ever browsed serums, you might have noticed that many of them contain vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial for skin’s appearance. In 2007, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that vitamin C moisturizes the skin and gets rid of fine lines.

Dermatologist Asha James recommends applying a vitamin C serum in the morning when it protects you from sun damage throughout the day. Also, eating foods with vitamin C improves your skin’s appearance. These include citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, and strawberries.

Eat Red, Orange, And Purple Foods

Sliced sweet potato fries are laid out on a baking sheet.

What do carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale have in common? They all contain beta-carotene. This nutrient transforms into vitamin A in the body, which is great for your skin because of its antioxidant effects.

In 2012, research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that beta-carotene could protect the skin. It raises the skin’s defenses against UV rays. The result is fewer wrinkles and more visible youth, according to an earlier study in the journal Molecules. If you eat a colorful diet, you’ll receive more beta-carotenes.

Water: The Easiest Way To Liven Skin

A man drinks from a water bottle.

Like most areas of your body, your skin cells are mostly made of water. When we get dehydrated, the body pulls water away from our skin. “This causes damage to the cells involved,” says dermatologist Alex Rivkin, “and damaged skin cells cause wrinkles, as well as thin and saggy skin.”

Although drinking water does not automatically hydrate your skin, it prevents the body from robbing the skin of moisture. Because of this, you don’t have to down eight glasses a day, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. Just drink enough water to avoid dehydration.

Is Your Sleeping Position Giving You Wrinkles?

A woman holds her pillow around both ears as she tries to sleep.

Have you ever woken up to puffy eyes or skin redness? If so, you might want to change your sleeping position. Aesthetician Renée Rouleau says that the more your face presses into your pillow, the more wrinkles you’ll get.

Sleeping on your stomach is the worst. When you squish your face onto a pillow, you form lines overnight. Do not sleep on your hand, either. If you’re a side-sleeper, swap out your pillowcase for satin or silk. These fabrics will not press on your skin, resulting in fewer wrinkles.

“Beauty Sleep” Is Real

A woman fell asleep while reading a book.

The term “beauty sleep” has some scientific backing. In 2013, scientists from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that poor sleepers tend to age more visibly. When we sleep, the body increases blood flow to the skin. The skin then receives more nutrients and heals from pollution, UV rays, and more.

When people fail to get enough sleep, the skin cannot repair itself as well. “Sleep-deprived women show signs of premature skin aging,” said researcher and physician Elma Baron. If you want youthful skin, get enough sleep!

Stop Cranking The Thermostat

A person adjusts the thermostat in his home.

In 2016, Japanese researchers tested the humidity of participants’ rooms. When people lived in low humidity, they developed more wrinkles. A dry, hot climate evaporates the moisture on your skin, which leaves it prone to sagging and cracking for the short term and the long term.

So what can you do? Don’t crank the thermostat too high. Plastic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Sieveking says that temperature extremes can dry out our skin. If you live in a dry area, stay on top of your daily moisturizer and drink plenty of water.

Lower The Water Temperature!

A woman splashes water on her face over a sink.

When you wash your face, do you prefer hot or warm water? If you answered “hot,” turn the temperature down! Hot water scalds your sensitive facial skin, which dry, irritate, and even scar it, says Boston dermatologist Jeffrey Dover. Over time, this irritation manifests in wrinkles.

Dr. David Bank, a New York dermatologist, recommends using lukewarm water. Splash your face multiple times while rinsing. If you don’t rinse everything off, it’ll stay on your skin and aggravate it, resulting in wrinkles down the line. Cold water will not harm your skin, but it is unpleasant.

Learn How To Use Anti-Aging Creams Correctly

A woman applies lotion underneath her eye.

The best skincare ingredient for lines and wrinkles is retinol, a type of vitamin A. Many anti-aging lotions contain retinol, but they can feel drying or irritating. How can you handle them? Dermatologist and research director Joshua Zeichner recommends using them in doses.

When you first get an anti-aging cream (preferably a night cream, for when your skin repairs itself), put it on a few times a week. Then swap to every other night, and then nightly. Your skin will get used to the cream. In the morning after, put on sunscreen, as retinol makes you prone to UV rays.

One Serving Of Soy Does Wonders

Tofu is cut into a variety of shapes.

If you’re searching for an anti-aging food, look no further than soy. Soy provides isoflavones, a type of nutritional supplement that tightens and nourishes the skin. In the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, a study tracked older women who ate 25 mg of isoflavones (one serving of soy) daily. After 14 weeks, they had significantly fewer wrinkles.

Isoflavones have many benefits. They smooth the skin, reduce redness, strengthen collagen, and brighten skin tone. Whether you drink soy milk or eat some edamame, rest assured that you’re helping your skin.

Cut The Sugar, Or You’ll Get AGEs

A person's grocery cart includes many bags of sugar and soda.

Since the 1970s, the amount of sugar in the average American diet has increased by 40%. This sugar increase creates more wrinkles. Researchers from Leiden University Medical Centre discovered that people with high blood glucose tend to appear older than those with healthy blood sugar levels.

Endocrinologist Sophie Chan says that sugar creates advanced glycation end products, or AGEs for short. These toxic compounds bind proteins such as elastin and collagen. Hence, eating sugar can cause dark circles, sagging, puffiness, and of course, wrinkles. If you remove more sugar from your diet, you should look younger.

Why Lotion Is So Important

Two women with bath towels on their heads hold up a variety of body lotions.

If you don’t put lotion on your face every day, it’s time to start. Dehydration is a major cause of wrinkles. In 2013, a study found that hydration helps the skin’s elasticity. When participants hydrated their skin, they had fewer visible lines, say the journal Skin Research and Technology.

The American Academy of Dermatology advises people to apply moisturizer every day. Do not use body lotion on your face; it’s too heavy and can make you oily. Use a face moisturizer with some lip balm and save the body lotion for your body.

When Happens When You Apply Makeup Incorrectly

A woman puts on makeup while looking in a mirror.

Depending on how you apply eye makeup, you might be causing wrinkles. Dermatologist Jessica Weiser told Glamour that the more you tug, the older you’ll look. Because the skin around your eyes is more delicate than other skin, roughly applying makeup will make it lose elasticity.

Also, raising your eyebrows could work against you. “Most people raise their eyebrows up high and create lines across their forehead,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian. Over time, this could result in forehead lines. Putting on makeup gently and patiently will prevent this.

Try To Prevent “Tech Neck”

In a car, a woman reads text messages on her cell phone.

Have you noticed that many people look down to browse their phone or laptop? This results in “tech neck,” a term that health experts are using to explain pain and wrinkles in the neck. When you look down, you crease the neck and create lines, says dermatologist Samer Jaber.

Nowadays, people are looking down at technology more than ever before. Plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon says that, over time, this can result in permanent wrinkles. Be mindful of how often you’re staring down at a screen.

Exfoliate…But Not Too Often

A woman lies in the sun while wearing an exfoliating mask.

Exfoliation, the act of removing dead skin cells, is great for aging skin. Dermatologist Neal Schultz says that exfoliation triggers fibroblasts, the skin cells that make collagen. Not only will you get rid of dead skin, but you’ll also grow new skin that has fewer lines and wrinkles.

That said, you should exfoliate correctly. Experts advise against exfoliating more than three times a week. If you do it more than that, it can irritate your skin and cause scarring. Start with once a week, and if your skin can handle it, do it more.

Stop Squinting!

A NASCAR racer squints through his helmet.

Believe it or not, squinting can create more wrinkles around your eyes. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, squinting bends the skin and creates lines over time. Dermatologist Sejal Shah adds that collagen around your eyes breaks down over time. In other words, your skin will struggle to repair the wrinkles.

There are simple ways to squint less. Wear sunglasses when you are outside or driving in bright light. If your reading glasses are not strong enough, update them. These simple habits could help you down the line.

Of All The Teas, Green Tea Reigns Supreme

A cup of green tea sits next to two green tea-flavored baked goods on a tray.

In 2014, researchers compared the anti-aging effect of three types of tea: white, black, and green tea. In the end, green tea had the most noticeable effect on wrinkles. This tea increases collagen and elastin content and removes impurities through its antioxidants.

What about green tea skincare products? According to researcher and dermatology professor Hasan Mukhtar, it is possible that green tea products have some effect. However, it is not guaranteed. Current studies suggest that you should drink green tea for its anti-aging effects, which should be easy because it’s tasty.

Don’t Over Wash Your Face

A man looks into the mirror after washing his face.

Did you know that you can wash your face too much? Dermatologists from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that over-washing strips your skin of its natural oils. This also scrubs away your skin’s protection, leaving it prone to sun damage, oils, and wrinkles.

Dermatologist Diane Madfes recommends washing your face twice a day–once in the morning and once at night. If you have to choose one, do it at night. It will clean your pores before sleep, which is when most of your skin’s recovery occurs.

Pursed Lips Are Wrinkly Lips

A close-up shows lips sucking on a silver straw.

If you want to avoid lines around your lips, purse them less often. Drinking through a straw, snapping a duck-faced selfie, or grinding your teeth could cause what plastic surgeon Norman Rowe calls “muscle overactivity.” The skin gets overworked, and collagen deteriorates to form lines.

Smaller wrinkles arise from sun damage, but large, noticeable ones can form from pursing your lips. Some of these lines are inevitable; they result from talking and eating. But you can prevent the other lines by trying to relax your lips.

How Fatty Fish Protects You From Age

Sliced red salmon sits on wax paper.

Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all “fatty fish,” seafood that is heavy in oils. You’ll want these oils if you want youthful skin. In 2018, a study in Marine Drugs found that fish oil has a visible effect on the skin. Their omega-3 fatty acids guard the skin and strengthen it against wrinkles.

Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian told HuffPost that omega-3s soothe inflammation, which would otherwise destroy collagen. Whether you eat fish or buy fish oil supplements, both will aid your skin, Nazarian says. Give it a try!

The Visible Effects Of Drinking

Water swirls inside a wine glass.

If you don’t want face wrinkles, limit your drinking. According to a 2019 study, women who drink have worse wrinkles, puffier eyes, and thinner lips than non-drinkers. It is not as bad as smoke, but alcohol still harms the skin.

Dermatologist Amy Spizuoco says that alcohol dilates and inflames the pores. Over time, this could cause whiteheads, blackheads, and scarring. Drinking also dehydrates you, leaving you more prone to sun damage, pollution, and of course, wrinkles. It’s a simple way to reduce aging: limit your drinking.

A Healthy Diet Makes Healthy Skin

A variety of fruits and vegetables are arranged in square containers.

If you want healthy skin, start with a healthy diet. Research from the American College of Nutrition found that people who eat fruits and vegetables tend to have younger-looking skin. On the flip-side, diets that are high in meat, dairy, and butter cause more wrinkles.

According to the scientific journal DermatoEndocrinology, skin benefits from the nutrients in food. When you eat plenty of vitamins, flavonoids, and omega-3s, you’ll have brighter and smoother skin, scientists say. You can get this by adding fruits and vegetables to your diet.

Stop Relying On Windows For Protection

Sun shines through a car window onto a man driving.

You already know that sun damage can cause wrinkles. But did you know that windows let in UV rays? According to the University of Utah, windows do not protect you from sun damage. Even car windows open you up to burns and wrinkles.

“Multiple studies have demonstrated that individuals spending a large amount of their time driving have an increased risk of skin cancer,” says Dr. Jason Hawkes of the Utah Department of Dermatology. Although windows block shorter UVB rays, they do nothing against UVA rays, which can distort your skin over time.

If You Chew Gum, Here’s Bad News

A baseball player blows a bubble with gum.

Chewing gum once in a while is fine. But if you’re a daily gum-chewer, you might need to pick up a new habit. According to NBC News, cosmetic surgeons have noticed that gum-chewing patients have more wrinkles around their lips than most people. The constant chewing depletes collagen and elasticity over time.

Not only that, but chewing gum can alter the shape of your face, says dermatologist Mary Lupo. When you build the jaw muscles, your face might look more square. If that does not sound appealing, trail back your gum habit.

Ensure That You’re Removing ALL Of Your Makeup

A woman removes eye makeup with a pad.

If you wear makeup, try to wash it off before going to bed. The Creative Director at The London School of Make-Up, Murat Evin, told The List what happens when you sleep with makeup on. She said that makeup breaks down collagen, which makes your skin saggier and develops wrinkles.

If you do wash it off, make sure you’re getting all of it! Dermatologist Debra Jaliman says that most cleansers are not built to remove makeup. Use a makeup remover to gently wipe it away before washing your face.

Coffee Helps, But Only In Moderation

A woman drinks coffee from a Starbucks mug.

Coffee is not just a source of caffeine; it also supplies antioxidants that can heal our skin. According to the Open-Access Impact Journal on Aging, coffee has an anti-aging effect on the skin. It can even delay the onset of age-related diseases.

That said, drinking too much coffee might work against you. A 2014 study determined that too much caffeine can break down collagen. Drinking one or two cups of coffee per day can slow the aging process, but do not go overboard on caffeine.

Stay Away From Smoke

Two men walk away from a public ash tray.

Out of all the skin-harming substances, tobacco is one of the worst. The International Journal of Dermatology has found a strong correlation between smoke and wrinkles. According to the researchers, smokers have far more wrinkles than non-smokers, even when they are only 20 years old.

Tobacco harms the elasticity, color, and texture of your skin. And it only gets worse as you age. In the Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists reported that 40-year-old smokers had as many wrinkles as 60-year-old non-smokers. If you need motivation to quit, use this.

Steer Clear Of Harsh Scrubs

A man receives a facial with a brush that rubs exfoliator on his face.

Exfoliating face washes and scrubs might be too harsh for your skin. These scrubs are made from irregularly shaped grains that cut at the skin. According to dermatologist Jessica Wu, they might damage your skin, break capillaries, and carve lines and wrinkles.

Instead, use a gel cleanser. Wu says that gels can effectively wipe off oil while remaining gentle on your skin. When you wash your face, don’t rub! That bluntness will cause even more wrinkles. Gently massage the soap in circular motions across your face.

Pick Up Foods With Linoleic Acid

A close-up shot shows a hazelnut, walnut, and almond.

Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that is abundant in the skin. Your body does not produce linoleic acid naturally, so if you eat it, your skin will thank you. In the Journal of Korean Medical Science, a study found that consuming linoleic acid leads to less wrinkly skin.

This acid is in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. It protects the skin from UV rays and heals damage. Foods with linoleic acid include nuts, seeds, edamame, and vegetable oils such as canola and soybean.

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