You may have heard the old adage that the eyes are the windows to the soul. In similar fashion, your skin is the roadmap of your life. The journeys you’ve taken and the sacrifices you’ve made are written on your body. Even the suns you’ve chased around the world have etched their presence on your epidermis.
Your skin can’t lie for you: What you’ve exposed your body to — internally or externally — has a way of showing up. This is especially true as you age. Fortunately, whether you’ve cared for your skin for years or want to start now, it’s not too late. Keep reading for essential tips for maintaining healthy and youthful skin as you age.
1. Use Spot Treatment
Dark spots called melasma can begin to appear as you get older, especially on your hands and face. This can happen for several reasons. Exposure to sunlight, stress, and hormone fluctuations can cause melasma to develop. Some women notice this occurring during pregnancy. Tanning beds and thyroid issues can be other culprits.
Luckily, there are melasma treatment options available that work to minimize the appearance of your dark spots, yielding a more even-toned complexion. Patients who follow a consistent treatment plan can regain a more youthful appearance. Erasing the spots on your face and hands will erase at least some of the years as well.
All skin types — even oily ones — require moisture to look their best. Applying moisturizer can improve your skin all on its own. Couple it with some of the other tips here, and look out, world! Moisturizer helps give your skin a supple and plump appearance, causing fine lines and wrinkles to become less noticeable.
There are many different types of moisturizers available, from lotions to serums and oils. Look for one that is gentle on your skin and works with your skin type. For example, those with acne-prone skin should seek out oil-free moisturizers, while individuals with dry skin will benefit from lipid-rich formulas. If you’re not clear on your moisturizer options, talk to an esthetician about what might work best for you.
3. Always Use Sun Protection
If you’re over 40, you’ve likely experienced a sea change in what is considered good sun exposure. In your teens or early 20s, laying out with nothing on your skin but baby oil may have been all the rage. Or perhaps a tan was synonymous with beauty, and tanning salons visits were a weekly occurrence. No matter your age, the beauty advice of your youth might have caused some sun damage.
Today, it’s widely known that unprotected exposure to the sun can damage your skin. Whether in the form of sun spots, wrinkles, or skin cancer, the sun will leave its mark. That’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or more every day. Wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts with UV protection can safeguard your skin as well.
4. Eat and Drink the Right Things
Hydration is one of the best things you can do for your body and overall health. Naturally, it impacts your skin as well. Ensuring you get plenty of water each day will help keep your skin luminous. The nutrients you consume, especially as you age, impact your skin too. Thinning, wrinkling, and drying skin can worsen without proper nutrition and hydration.
What is the dietary fountain of youth? Eat more natural, whole foods and fewer processed ones. Add species of fish to your diet, such as salmon, that offer high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados have vitamin E and C to increase collagen production, ease dryness, and even reduce bruising. Nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and dark chocolate are beneficial to the skin as well.
5. Manage Stress
You may have heard of worry lines in the past. Though these can sound like an old wives’ tale, stress can actually make these lines appear. The stress hormone, cortisol, contributes to the breakdown of collagen. This, in turn, impacts your skin’s elasticity and can result in more wrinkles.
So try to keep stress levels under control for the sake of your skin, as well as your overall physical and mental health. Engage in activities that allow you to unwind and relax. Maybe that release is a bubble bath a few times a week or reading a book in your hammock. Walking or hiking is a good way to destress as well. And the added physical activity will work to keep your whole body young, not just your skin.
6. Ditch Your Vices
Do you find yourself looking forward to “wine o’clock” or a cigarette break to calm your nerves? After reading about stress management, you might be thinking about the habits you use to cope with stress. Not all of them are healthy for you mentally or physically, and some will also impact your skin. If you turn to smoking or drinking when anxious, it’s time to ditch those habits.
Smoking has several negative health impacts. Everyone knows it’s harmful to your lungs, but it isn’t great for your skin either. The chemicals in cigarettes can weaken your skin’s elasticity by causing collagen to deteriorate, leading to drooping and sagging. Alcohol is a diuretic that can dehydrate your skin, making it look wrinkled and dull. Substituting a club soda with lime for your martini, or a brisk walk for your cigarette, will reduce your stress without the ill effects.
Healthier Life = Healthier Skin
Most of the tips above are mutually beneficial. They help your skin while also benefiting your entire body. Sometimes what you notice on your skin is a sign of a deeper medical issue. Don’t ignore what it’s telling you.
Following some or all of these expert-backed tips can boost the appearance of your skin and also your confidence. Doing the right thing for yourself shifts your mentality, and nurturing your skin’s health can have just that effect. Embracing these self-care tips can give you the radiant complexion you desire as you age.