It may feel like looking youthful is just that — for the youth! As you get older, keeping your skin and hair looking and feeling young and healthy sometimes seems like an uphill battle.
As skin ages, it may start to feel dry and dull, and that makes wrinkles and fine lines ever more apparent. As skin loses collagen, gone are those bright, plump cheeks of the teenage and young adult years.
But the right anti-aging routine and lifestyle choices can go a long way toward making you — and your skin — feel young again.
And it’s actually not as hard as it may seem. It’s all about making small but important lifestyle changes that will impact your overall health and vitality to keep your whole body healthy in the long run.
Here are 16 dermatologist-approved tips and skincare products for healthy, glowing skin that ages like a fine wine.
Here are 16 easy ways to look younger longer, as recommended by dermatologists:
1. Use a collagen-boosting anti-aging cream
Keeping your skin hydrated goes a long way towards a bright, dewy complexion. A great anti-aging cream is a major weapon in the fight against aging skin.
Try something made with prescription-strength tretinoin, which is a derivative of vitamin A that helps to improve the texture and feel of skin while boosting collagen and minimizing the appearance of fine lines.
2. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin
Protecting our skin from the sun is incredibly important at any age, especially as you get older.
“As we age, our skin cells’ efficiency and ability to fight toxins slow down,” says dermatologist Michele Koo, MD, FACS. “This translates to more dull, perhaps sallow-appearing skin and an increased risk of skin cancers.”
So, sunscreen and wearing SPF daily — even in winter, on cloudy days, or when you intend on staying inside — becomes more essential.
“We need more topical vitamin skincare in addition to oral vitamins. Bodily and topical hydration, consistent sleep, and exercise become more important to keep our skin cells optimally performing,” Dr. Koo adds.
3. Cover up when in the sun
Protecting your skin is about more than just wearing SPF. What we wear on our heads and bodies also will impact our skin’s protection.
“UPF hats and shirts add to the photoprotection and keep our skin spotless and less wrinkled over the years,” recommends Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, dermatologist and author of Beyond Soap.
This is particularly important for those living in sunny climates all year long.
4. Treat adult acne to reduce irritation
Acne isn’t just for the kids. Yes, adult acne happens, and whether it’s a result of fluctuating hormones or the wrong skincare regimen, we all know it isn’t fun.
5. Plan your schedule to avoid sun exposure
When possible, plan your activities before 11 AM or after 3 PM when the sun is less intense.
“UV index is a real thing and you increase the amount of sun damage if you are outside when the sun index (burning ability) is at its highest,” says Dr. Skotnicki.
6. Strengthen your hair to keep it healthy and hydrated
Your hair loses volume, shine, and vibrancy as you age. Still, great hair days shouldn’t be a thing of the past as you get older.
7. Get more sleep
Sleep is good for your whole body, inside and out, so work on good sleep hygiene.
Some good habits to promote a good night’s sleep are keeping a similar bedtime and waking up at a similar time every day. Ditch the screens and practice meditation and mindfulness before hitting the hay instead.
“Proper and appropriate sleep has been shown to promote health — including your skin. It helps reduce the signs of aging,” Dr. Skotnicki says.
8. Exfoliate and moisturize your hair at the roots
What’s the secret to silky, soft hair you can’t stop touching? Completely transforming your locks at home with a hair mask.
9. Maintain a healthy diet
You are what you eat! We all know that, but it’s about more than weight and wellness, but also skin health.
“A major factor in aging is the status of the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, which tend to undergo a process called glycation as you get older,” Dr. Skotnicki warns. “Glycation damaged the collagen and elastin, which results in the skin having less ability to spring back into place.”
Foods that have been grilled, fried, or roasted tend to promote glycation. Low-glycemic index foods also decrease the glycation process.
So, go for low-carb, low-sugar foods. These will result in less glycation and aging of the skin, in general.
10. Prevent breakouts by keeping skin clean and fresh
Keeping skin clean is the most obvious way to prevent the buildup of dirt, makeup, and environmental impurities.
Get a cleanser that also keeps skin irritated from breakouts hydrated, so it won’t get that tight, dried-out feel.
11. Exfoliate skin… but do so gently
Exfoliation is an important part of your routine — but don’t over-wash, scrub, rub, or exfoliate the skin in a rough way.
“Exfoliate with an AHA or BHA once a week, and if you are acne-prone, maybe twice weekly,” advises Dr. Skotnicki.
12. Keep your complexion flawless with the right skincare routine
Breakouts and acne can happen at any age, and choosing the right skincare regime is a crucial part of dealing with skin issues before they get out of control.
Get a face cream that contains Hyaluronic acid and squalane. These are lightweight ingredients that help the skin hold onto water and keep your complexion looking clear and dewy.
13. Spend time outdoors each day
It may seem like the UV rays, sun exposure, and environmental pollution are all reasons to stay inside — but they aren’t. There’s nothing like a little eco-therapy from being in nature (wearing sunscreen and a hat, of course) to de-stress and relax.
Stress can cause wrinkles to form because high amounts of cortisol — the stress hormone — can break down the skin’s collagen and elastin.
Research has found that chronic stress can increase inflammation, causing skin aging and accelerating the formation of wrinkles.
Taking as little as 20 minutes to be outside in nature can help reduce stress levels, according to a study published in the Journal Frontiers in Psychology. Being outside was linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
14. Have a game plan — and stick to it
It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it. “Aging is progressive, so assess and evaluate for a long-term end game win,” says Ava Shamban, MD, a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles.
Many hairstyles or fashions that may have worked at one stage or decade most likely do not work for another. Skincare follows suit.
“Address and reassess ongoing skin care. When something is not working well with your skin, it is time to make a transition,” Dr. Shamban adds.
15. Get moving
Exercise for your body, mind, and your skin.
“The skin is our largest organ. Circulation and oxygenation to the cells are key,” Dr. Shamban states. Sweating helps to eliminate toxins and pathogens from the skin.
16. Use a humidifier
Introduce a humidifier — or even a humidifying plant, like an Areca Palm — into your home.
Says Dr. Shamban, “They release copious amounts of water into the air and help to eliminate chemical toxins in your environment, too.”
Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyle writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly.