Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/21/2021
Growing older comes with all the perks. You finally have time to wind down and focus on activities you missed out on over the years. There are retirement vacations, and who knows — maybe a hobby or two to try your hands. Now if only your skin would get the memo, and slow down with you.
Progressing in age has many expectations — one of which is the inevitable aging of your skin. Wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots are normal parts of the aging process. And while they add a certain grace to your look, you may prefer to delay or reduce their appearance for as long as possible.
We've put together a list of the most effective ways to get younger-looking skin. But first, a little skincare-101 to understand just what is about getting older that causes your skin to change.
As your birthday candles cover more square space with each passing year, your body undergoes many changes, some of them skin deep. These changes are responsible for the subtle, and not so subtle changes in your appearance as the years have progressed.
Some of ways your body changes due to age include:
your body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. These cells help your growth and can replace damaged cells through a process called cell replication.
So say your skin cells get damaged when you go out in the sun without sunscreen (bad!) — your cells would divide to replace their damaged troops.
Likewise, these cells get a shout out for regulating your growth from all fours, to your teens, all the way to your current appearance.
There is a catch however. Your cells age every time they have to replicate. Telomeres, which contain the genetic information that is shared to the new, identical cells, are attached to the ends of DNA chromosomes.
These telomeres shorten every time a cell is divided, until the genetic material it contains is no longer able to be accurately transferred.
This shortening may cause the death of your cells and the appearance of age on your skin.
Remember how testosterone helped you land a deeper voice, facial hair and that little bulge in your throat when you were a lot younger? Well it didn't stop there.
This androgen is also important for the development of your reproductive tissues, hair growth as well as increased muscle and bone mass. Your skin is also dependent on this hormone.
As you get older however, your testosterone levels drop. Around this time you may find yourself being a lot less interested in intercourse, you may get tired more often, and your skin will start to show some changes.
Lower testosterone levels may spell reduced moisture, elasticity and thickness for your skin.
Going on a walk outside, brushing off cigarette smoke at your favorite bar, breezing past exhaust fumes when returning from work, may seem like harmless enough events.
However, multiply your exposure to UV rays, cigarette smoke and pollutants outside and these effects add up — especially on your skin. These elements can lead to oxidative stress on the skin, a known cause of skin aging.
We all know age is nothing but a number. However, it's perfectly fine if you want that number reduced by a year or more across your face, neck, hands and the rest of your body.
Here are a number of things you can do to get your skin to look younger:
The sun's UVA and UVB rays are a terrible tag team for your skin’s health and appearance. The appearance of wrinkles and fine lines could be as a result of their damaging effects.
Around 80 percent of the visible signs of aging on your skin are thanks to these sun rays. In addition to wrinkles and fine lines, long-term exposure to UVA and UVB rays could cause the thinning of your skin. They can also cause your skin to appear thick and leathery, stripping it of necessary elasticity.
These UV rays are also resilient, they are out come rain, sunshine or even when it’s nice and snowy outside. This is why daily sunscreen — preferably a broad spectrum one of at least 30 SPF — is a very important part of the process to reduce the signs of age on your skin.
Wearing sunscreen, and doing so daily can offer some protection against the sun.
The next time someone tells you not to stress over a matter, you may want to take them seriously.
When your body is experiencing stress, your brain and stress hormones try to react to it to bring it under control. This can produce adverse physical effects when you are unable to.
When it comes to stress and the skin, it's a little hard to say exactly what it is about being placed under strain that causes your skin to age.
There are links to skin aging and stress hormones such as cortisol. There is also a chance that telomere shortening (remember this?) may lead to oxidative stress which can affect the skin.
There is also a link between ROS pathways and skin aging. ROS or Reactive Oxygen Species are free radicals produced when your body utilizes oxygen.
When your body is unable to neutralize or eliminate these radicals faster than they are generated, this may also cause your body oxidative stress which is known to lead to skin aging.
Finding ways to laugh, relax with family/loved ones, meditating and other stress-relieving tactics may help your skin fight stress that causes skin aging.
As if you needed another reason to get a home-rowing machine, exercise has been proven to have benefits against skin aging.
Not like it needs repeating, but you should exercise because it promotes cognitive function, decreases blood pressure levels, improves respiratory and metabolic function and the real kicker for today, physical exercise — especially aerobic and resistance training activities — may have positive effects on anti-aging at the cellular level.
There's a lot of anti-aging good that a plate of your favorite foods can do for you. Proteins contribute to the repair of body tissue, while promoting your skin's functions.
Copper can stabilize skin proteins and promote the formation of new blood vessels. Zinc can help in the production of keratinocytes which protect your skin from harm.
Iron has antioxidant properties. Even water can maintain tissue function and internal balance in the skin, which can help against aging and inflammation.
In addition to sunscreen, your skin can always benefit from anti-aging serums, eye creams, moisturizers and creams that help to hydrate the skin.
To make sure you're getting your money's worth from these products, look out for ingredients like tretinoin which is a potent retinoid.
Niacinamide may help in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate your skin, while vitamin C holds strong antioxidant properties (as well as stimulates collagen synthesis and assists in antioxidant protection — which is critical for skin damage).
When it comes to alternate methods of reducing age on the skin, we really don't thank science enough.
There's a treatment option for any condition you want to have remedied: the appearance of wrinkles, frown lines and crow's feet can be reduced through botox.
You can get age spots under control through laser treatments, freezing (cryotherapy), chemical peeling, and microdermabrasion.
There are also minimally invasive skin tightening procedures like a face lift, eyelid surgery, or neck lift to help with sagging skin.
Getting older while looking younger is not a bad mix to aim for. With simple lifestyle changes like eating better, exercising, avoiding stressful situations and using sunscreen, you may be able to reduce the appearance of age on your skin.
Likewise, using skincare products with the right ingredients may help your skin achieve a younger appearance. As an added option, you could try out cosmetic procedures that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, or tighten the skin to reduce sagging, as well as other treatments which may take out age spots on your skin.
Before attempting any procedures however, it is important to first consult a qualified dermatologist.