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Dr. James D. Namnoum | Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

11 Ways to Prevent the Signs of Early Aging

Three portrait images of the same person superimposed in a gradient. From left to right, the individual appears younger, middle-aged, and older, with wrinkles appearing and hair greying.

As you age, changes in your body occur, and your internal processes begin to slow down. These changes contribute to how your body functions and how your body appears. Your skin and your face are often the first indicators of aging, but there are things that you can do for younger-looking skin such as changing your diet, wearing your sunscreen, staying hydrated, and even plastic surgery.

Eat a Healthier Diet

Healthy diets are important for a number of reasons. When you’re younger, you might not worry as much about what you eat, but as you age, your nutritional needs change. According to health professionals, there is a correlation between your diet and your skin. Poor eating can result in acne and premature skin aging. Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean strict limitations or depriving yourself of your favorite foods — it is more about eating a balanced diet; this includes changing your eating habits to include food that promotes skin health. Healthline provides a list of the foods that can help you look younger, including:

Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult at times, but it is important for your skin health. Start out by making small changes, then transitioning into larger changes as you get used to your new diet.

Stay Hydrated

If you are someone that struggles to stay hydrated, your skin may be at risk as a result. Studies show that water intake affects human skin hydration and biomechanics — specifically for individuals with low daily water consumption. Water recommendations can vary based on gender, age, size, and the weather, but WebMD provides the following water consumption recommendations:

Water plays a significant role in your skin’s health, and without proper hydration, your skin may appear duller, wrinkles may stand out, and pores can appear more prominent. However, water is not the only liquid that helps to hydrate your skin. A National Library of Medicine study on lemon balm leaf extract shows that this extract (that can be found in various teas) helps improve skin elasticity and mitigating skin tissue damage.

Prioritize Your Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health and lack of sleep can affect your appearance. A study on the effects of sleep deprivation and facial appearance found that the sleep-deprived study participants had more hanging eyelids, more red eyes, more swollen eyes, dark circles under their eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and more droopy corners around their mouths.

The National Sleep Foundation provides the following sleep recommendation ranges for all ages:

The CDC provides tips for better sleep on their site, but if you are someone who clinically struggles with sleep, it may be a good idea to consult a sleep specialist.

Exercise Often

Exercise has a number of health benefits and studies show that a lifetime of regular exercise helps slow down aging. According to a WebMD article on exercise for healthy skin, when you exercise you increase blood flow throughout your body. When you increase blood flow, the oxygen and nutrients nourish and carry away waste products from skin cells — leaving your skin healthier.

The American Heart Association provides the following physical activity recommendations:

Try to get in the habit of being active at some point in your day. It may be helpful to sign up for a gym membership, hire a personal trainer, or simply reach out to a friend to become your fitness accountability partner.

Wear Sunscreen

Although sun exposure is a great way to boost vitamin D levels, it is important to avoid too much of it. Sun and skin have a complicated relationship since human bodies were designed to make use of sunlight, but too much exposure can lead to less skin elasticity and more wrinkles. Skincare measures, especially during the summer, should always be emphasized. Studies show that sunscreen use helps prevent skin aging. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that individuals going outdoors should use SPF 15 or higher every day when outdoors. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas 30 minutes prior to going outdoors and reapplied every two hours. You should be extra careful on hot summer days, but also when it is overcast. Some other sun safety tips to prevent premature aging include:

Use a Retinoid

Retinoids are a chemical compound of Vitamin A. Harvard Health provides the following points on how retinoids reduce wrinkles:

There are retinoids that require a doctor’s prescription, but there are many options available over-the-counter as well. Be sure to shop around and research products to make sure they have good reviews and that they are the right product for you.

Don’t Be Afraid of Plastic Surgery

As you age, your skin becomes less taut and less elastic, which can cause you to appear older. Plastic surgery is another option for helping you prevent signs of early aging. Some examples include:

If your face isn’t the only part of your body that is aging, you can also take advantage of other options such as a tummy tuck, arm lift, breast lift, or butt lift. All of these surgeries can help manage loose or sagging skin.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

There are drinks that actually increase dehydration and alcohol and caffeinated drinks are both on the list. Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics. While some individuals can benefit from diuretics (e.g. individuals with high blood pressure, or kidney dysfunction), diuretics make the body lose fluids, and this can lead to skin dehydration.

Individuals that want to keep their youthful appearance should reduce or completely eliminate alcohol and caffeine intake. If you are someone who really enjoys either beverage type, be sure to drink water with your alcohol or caffeinated drink to help your body stay hydrated.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is bad for your health, and it can speed up the normal aging process of your skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking causes wrinkles and the following facial changes:

A WebMD study shows additional ways smoking affects your looks — it includes:

Smoking is extremely addicting and it can be difficult to quit. Below are some tips for ways to resist tobacco cravings:

Wash and Moisturize Your Skin Daily

Washing your face is important for your skin — and properly washing your face includes moisturizing. Staying hydrated is important, so it is important to note that when you wash your face, your skin becomes dried out. Moisturizing your skin after washing is important because it helps stimulate blood circulation and new cell generation that keeps the skin looking young. Use the following tips for how to wash your face properly:

Relax Your Face

Facial movements such as frowning or smiling use muscles and repeating those movements often may lead to the formation of wrinkles. Not smiling, frowning, or squinting can prove difficult, but it is important to relax your face whenever possible. Facial tension is generally caused by stress, so below are some remedies for facial tension/stress relief:

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