If you want smooth, clear, and age-defying skin when you’re older, there are a few steps that you can take while you’re younger to help you achieve your goal. The following advice, taken directly from the dermatological pros, will help make a big difference in the tone, texture, and glow of your skin:
- Suds up at night: it is most important to wash your face before you go to bed. According to Dr. Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, the bacteria, dirt, and makeup that you accumulate during the daytime, can cause serious skin problems if left on overnight. Remove the top layer of grime by using a gentle face wash. Your skin should feel “tight” for about 10-15 minutes after washing to allow the anti-agers in most washes to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. If you’re in your 40s or older, don’t wash twice a day—it dries your skin out too much.
- Use UV protection: you’re probably tired of hearing about it, but UV protection is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from skin cancer and unsightly wrinkles. Ideally, you should wear an SPF 30 (at least) every day if you want younger looking skin. Furthermore, make sure your sunscreen contains a broad spectrum coverage so that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
- Manage stress: nothing can age your skin quicker than too much stress. In fact, emotional upheavals can age your skin five years past your chronological age. Constant stress increases your body’s release of the stress hormone, cortisol, which causes inflammation that breaks down the collagen in your skin. In addition, stress can also cause acne flare-ups or facial redness. Try eating anti-oxidant rich foods like berries, oranges, or asparagus and utilize yogi deep breathing techniques to help you handle stress.
- Use a retinoid: these vitamin-A derivatives speed cell turnover and collagen growth to help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Prescription retinoids provide quick results: within as little as a month you should be able to see a difference in your skin. If you can’t afford or don’t want to use prescription retinoid, try a milder OTC version. You will still see results, but usually it takes a bit longer to notice the difference in your skin.
- Update your routine: similar to the way your body adapts itself to the same tried-and-true exercise routines, your skin will also get “used” to certain skincare products and go into maintenance mode. Alter one thing in your skincare regimen every 6 to 12 months to jump-start improvements in tone and texture. For example, try using an alpha hydroxy cream instead of your prescription retinoid once a week, or switch your over-the-counter retinoid to a prescription retinoid to reap greater benefits. \
- Eat omega-3s: the “good fats” in salmon, flaxseed, and almonds boosts hydration and makes your skin appear suppler and firmer.
- Exercise regularly: it’s good for your body, and your skin. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Exercise infuses skin with oxygen and nutrients that are needed for collagen production, thus the reason people who exercise generally have firmer skin than non-exercisers.