With a wealth of anti-aging products on the market, both men and women are affected by the signs of aging and try to figure out how to look younger for longer. While such products can do much to help slow down the early signs of skin maturation, which include fine lines, increased dryness, wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin, once the process has begun, it becomes far more difficult to turn back the clock.
For many, this means that prevention is indeed more effective than cure. In order to retain a youthful looking skin and figure out how to look younger for longer, lifestyle changes are needed along with the correct products, efficient treatments that are proven to work, and a healthy diet that is rich in skin-enriching nutrients.
How to Look Younger for Longer – Lifestyle and Diet Play a Major Role in Determining Skin Aging
As the largest organ in the body, the skin plays a vital role in controlling temperature, creating a protective barrier against the elements as well as bacteria and viruses and regulating pain and pressure, too. As the body ages, the skin and the underlying muscles beneath its layers begin to go through a series of changes that result in the visible signs of maturation.
Genetics play a fairly big part in this process in how to look younger for longer, but even those with ‘good’ skin genes may start to notice the tell-tale signs at some point. External factors that contribute towards how quickly these signs progress include environmental stress, smoking, dry weather conditions, air pollution and sunlight. Internal factors meanwhile include diet and nutrient intake.
Smoking and sun damage account for two of the biggest contributors of skin aging. According to Dr Bahman Guyuron of Case Western Reserve University in the United States, loose skin underneath the eyes is typical in smokers, while Dr Jonette Keri, a dermatologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine states that uneven skin tone is far more prominent in younger smokers than non-smokers of the same age group. Dr Keri adds that the larger percentage of chemicals in tobacco also contribute towards the breakdown of the skin’s structure, which forms sagging and deeper wrinkles.
In the figure above, a study published on WebMD compared the skin of non-smoking and smoking twins to determine how much influence external causes had on skin maturation compared to natural genetic aging. Twin A in this instance is the non-smoker, and Twin B is the smoker, who shows a number of signs of damaged, older-looking skin ranging from discolouration to sagging beneath the eyes, lines around the mouth and a duller, uneven complexion.
Sun damage is another external factor that greatly influences skin condition. Dr Marios Kyriazis, founder of the British Longevity Society and an expert on the biology of ageing, claims that, “Ninety per cent of signs of ageing on the skin are due to sun damage and not to the ageing process itself.”
Scientists have long concluded that vitamin D is essential for skin health in limited doses, and the sun is an excellent natural source of this vitamin. However, the combined effects of UV rays and free radicals can result in skin aging prematurely. Free radicals are activated when skin absorbs sunlight. Left unchecked, this leads to molecules being activated deep within the cell’s DNA, where they transform into AP-1. At this stage, collagen-digesting enzymes are produced, leaving small defects in the skin known as ‘microscarring’ – this is essentially the early beginning of a wrinkle. Sunlight also triggers fat in the skin to degenerate when enzymes begin to produce chemicals that cause inflammation, further enhancing the damage.
Of course, skin cancer is another real risk that goes far beyond the cosmetic need for beautiful, younger looking skin. Sunburnt skin looks older, but can have far more life threatening impact when it puts the body at risk.
How to Look Younger for Longer – Anti-Aging Solutions That Slow Down the Aging Process
What solutions offer proven, effective ways to reduce the signs of aging, and can early signs be reversed with the correct anti-aging treatment strategy? The American Academy of Dermatology suggests the following steps in keeping wrinkles and other aging symptoms at bay for as long as possible and provides some tips on how to look younger for longer:
1. Use sun protection on a daily basis.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher should be used every day to protect the skin from harmful rays. Seeking shade, wearing UV sunglasses, covering up with light clothing and wearing a hat will also help to protect your skin against the sun’s rays and the free radicals that are triggered from exposure.
2. Use self-tanner instead of sun tanning or sun beds.
A topically applied self-tanner is safer than a tan obtained via sun or sunbed, every time. Sun beds and other indoor tanning equipment emit UV rays that accelerate the skin’s aging, and put you at risk of sunburn and/or prolonged sun damage as much as hours of tanning on the beach.
3. Stop smoking.
Smoking causes wrinkles, worsens skin tone and complexion, causes age spots and has many other negative effects on the skin and the way that it ages.
4. Eat a well-balanced diet.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, skin-rich foods such as nuts, legumes, fish and avocado that contain good fats, minimal refined carbohydrates, minimal or no sugar and plenty of water should be the basis of any healthy diet. Rather than following diet trends, focus on including foods that are rich in nutrients and low in additives, sugar and preservatives.
5. Reduce your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol has a negative effect on the skin, and due to its dehydrating properties, dries out the skin, which enhances the appearance of wrinkles. Excessive alcohol causes broken capillaries and other skin tone damage that further makes your skin look older.
6. Exercise more often.
Moderate exercise boosts circulation and the immune system, helping to keep the skin regulated and healthy. It also keeps the muscles beneath the skin taughter, which prevents sagging of the skin.
7. Avoid excessive exfoliation.
Scrubbing too much, too hard and too often causes irritation that increases skin aging. Washing gently, twice a day, using mild exfoliants rather than harsh scrubs or scrubbing pads will remove impurities without damaging the skin. It is also important to rinse your skin after sweating heavily to ensure that perspiration does not stay on the skin.
8. Use gentle products that do not burn the skin.
If your skin is burning or uncomfortable, it is irritated and therefore more prone to showing signs of uneven skin tone or other visible effects of aging. Instead, gentle treatments and products that heal, nurture and protect the skin are recommended to keep it soft and supple.
9. Keep skin moisturised.
A good facial moisturiser used every day helps to keep water within the skin. Plump, hydrated skin does not show fine lines as easily as dry skin does, and when skin is kept moisturised, it is stronger, too.
10. Start an anti-aging skincare regime.
It is never too early to start using anti-aging creams and products. Treatments such as the DermaFix anti-aging correctives range for example contain proven formulas that are developed to target the most common signs of aging, and have been tested thoroughly to ensure their effectiveness. A good treatment regime that is targeted to your specific skin type and needs is one of the most effective ways to combat early signs of aging.
While aging is something that cannot be prevented, figuring out how to look younger for longer is possible when taking a practical, holistic approach to anti-aging. With a few simple lifestyle and diet changes and a regular skincare routine that includes anti-aging creams as well as cleansing and moisturising, you can keep looking younger well into your 50s and beyond.
American Academy of Dermatology, What Causes our Skin to Age
Skincare Physicians, Causes of Aging Skin
WebMD, How Smoking Affects Your Looks and Life
National Institute on Aging, Can We Prevent Aging?
Harvard HEALTHbeat, Why Your Face Ages and What You Can Do