50 is the new 30 – or at least, that’s what all of the best fashion and pop culture magazines claim, anyway. In reality, age is actually far more subjective; how you feel can be vastly different than your actual biological age. We’re certain there are people out there who feel every bit as young at 70 as they did at 35!
Now, here’s the catch. As the years roll by, and you gather all of those incredible memories and experiences, your skin can (and often does) develop fine lines, wrinkles, crepe-like texture, or even dark spots. No fun!
Good news: there’s so much you can to stay looking as youthful as you feel on the inside. Just follow this easy guide.
STARTING A SKIN CARE REGIMEN NOW
Here’s the biggest tip for great skin you’ll ever receive: the earlier you start a proper skin care regimen, the easier it will be to hold signs of aging at bay.
Research shows that the most fundamental strategies – washing with the right cleanser, moisturizing, avoiding the sun, quitting smoking (or never starting to begin with), and proper hydration can significantly impact skin quality. The earlier you follow these positive habits, the more likely you are to stay on top of issues as they arise.
Realistically, you should have a semi-formulated plan of action even before you reach adulthood “for best results.” Sure, you’ll need to adapt it as you age, but early proactive care gives you far more power over your skin than reactive treatment.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just give up and write your skin off later on, even if you did neglect your skin over the years. Even if you happen to be 50 and researching skin care for the first time! Start right now, from wherever you are, and make good skin care a daily habit.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SUN DAMAGE
Sun damage is a BIG deal. With enough exposure, you can develop severe burns, blisters, infections, and permanent scarring. Depending on your genetics, chronic exposure may even lead to extremely aggressive cancers, like melanoma, which can be difficult or even impossible to effectively treat.
Limited exposure to the sun helps your body produce Vitamin D, which may boost your mood. It also stimulates your immune system to repair surface-level damage in the first few dermal layers, which can be a good thing if you struggle with blemishes, psoriasis, or eczema.
Walking out into the sunshine for hours with no protection, however, will expose you to “too much of a good thing.” You’ll turn red, your skin will peel, and the damage caused will very likely speed signs of aging, especially if you experience this kind of damage regularly over the course of months or years.
UNDERSTANDING SUN-DAMAGED SKIN
The fix? Get to know the truth about sun damage and when you should wear protection before you go outdoors.
Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburns, while UVA rays are more likely to penetrate deep into the dermis and speed signs of aging. Use a full-spectrum sunscreen at all times.
Sunscreen isn’t just for sunny days. You can still burn when it’s overcast, cloudy, or cold outside. If you’re particularly fair, you may even experience damage in the winter or on rainy days. When in doubt, screen it out.
The sun is most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially in the summer. Limit exposure during this timeframe when you can, or at least wear loose clothing and use a high-SPF sunscreen at all times.
Sunscreen alone isn’t always enough (just ask any natural redhead who heads out to the beach on a regular basis). Try to pair your full-spectrum sunscreen with other protective measures whenever you can (like wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sitting in the shade).
Have dark skin? Don’t assume you won’t burn. While a higher amount of melanin does afford a small amount of protection, people of all skin colors can experience sun damage. You should still strive for optimal protection.
Look, we can’t emphasize this enough. Wearing sunscreen every day is a must. Whether it’s worked into your foundation or you apply it separately, being protected from the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays is critical to your health and your appearance. Make it a priority.
EATING A HEALTHY DIET = HEALTHY SKIN
What’s your diet like right now? If you’re the kind of person who grabs a doughnut for breakfast at Krispy Kreme every morning (no judgement on the “every so often” indulgers; we do it, too), you could be inadvertently harming your skin.
Here’s the thing: you are what you eat. No, really! What you put into your body directly affects how well it functions, and that means a bad diet full of unhealthy, processed junk will force your body to work harder to maintain itself.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates (think white bread) are the worst offenders. Nearly all of these products result in glycation, a process in which sugar molecules bond to proteins and lipids within the body. Glycation results in damage to the skin’s texture and firmness over time – meaning too much of the sweet stuff just might lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging at an earlier age.
So what should you eat? Look to superfoods like leafy green vegetables, low-fat protein (baked chicken breast or tofu), fatty fish, nuts, and avocados. All contain essential fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants, giving your skin what it needs to stay fresh, healthy and youthful for life.
As for when those sweet cravings hit? Indulge right with fresh berries, dark chocolate, or even a glass of red wine. Berries are packed with vitamins and loaded with antioxidants; they’re also easier to digest than processed sugar alone.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains flavanols, which protect the skin from chronic damage. According to this study, regular ingestion of high-flavanol chocolate also makes your circulatory system more efficient at delivering nutrients to skin cells.
Last but not least is red wine. It’s packed with resveratrol, a naturally-occuring substance that play an active role in slowing the aging process. Scientists also believe it may be cardioprotective and chemopreventive, reducing risks for melanoma and greatly improving circulation.
STAYING PROPERLY HYDRATED
Drink your water! No, seriously, if you haven’t had a drink in a couple of hours (coffee doesn’t count), go to the water cooler right now and fill up.
Why? Dehydration is absolutely awful for your skin. When you don’t drink enough water, skin becomes lifeless and may even appear dull or “aged.”
Even a low level of dehydration can lead to excessive dryness, roughness, or poor and uneven tone. Over time, chronic dehydration can, and will, decimate your body’s ability to repair and replenish skin cells.
The problem? Most people don’t really understand that thirst is a late symptom of dehydration, not an early indicator. If you’re thirsty, you’ve already been dehydrated for some time. Don’t wait. Keep a thermos of cold water handy and sip on it over the course of the day. Your body (and skin) will thank you!
LATEST ADVANCED ANTI-AGING TREATMENTS
Now, let’s take it to the next level with advanced treatments for aging. Whether you’re 20 and you want to prevent future problems, or you’re 75 and just want to feel more youthful, you can fight aging with the right skin care products and services.
For skin texture issues, including dullness or uneven tone, try microdermabrasion or dermabrasion. Both gently blast away dead skin cells to reveal newer, smoother skin.
Try products with retinol if you’re struggling with tone and/or age-related fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol contains a special Vitamin A analogue that detoxifies the skin and nourishes cells. Your local medspa can help you find the right product.
Can’t seem to beat fine lines or crepe-like skin textures? Ask your spa about treatments like chemical peels, Botox, Juvederm, and laser resurfacing. You’d be amazed just how much of a difference these treatments provide.
If you already have signs of aging, try products that contain Vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant can help fight symptoms of sun damage, especially when paired with other professional treatments.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of a good facial complete with skin massage. Hitting up your local spa once every two weeks or so just might be enough to help you prevent problems or turn them around. Don’t you deserve that little indulgence, and the confidence that comes with it?