Youthful Skin Secrets: 5 Dos and 5 Don'ts

Slow Down the Aging Process with These Skincare Tips

Woman with clean skin
Brand X Pictures/Getty

Everyone wants youthful looking skin. But you might be sabotaging your skin's health without realizing it. 

Your skin's "youthfulness" has less to do with age than how it's been treated. If exposed to excessive sun, smoke, and stress, your skin can start "acting old," losing its collagen, glow and elasticity. Lines may develop prematurely and your skin may look dull.

It's easier to prevent damage than to repair it, but the good news is you can put the brakes on premature aging and get your skin back in tip-top condition with these tricks.

Do Stop Smoking

Smoking can put a lot of stress on the skin. Lifelong smokers often have premature signs of aging, such as liver spots and dry, wrinkled skin before their time. 

Smoking is the second biggest cause of skin damage after sun exposure. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and decreases the flow of oxygen to the skin, causing it look more weathered. One of the best things you can do for your skin, and your health, is to stop smoking. 

Do Use a Retinoid

A daily application of a prescription retinoid lotion (such as Retin-A or Tazorac) can erase years from your face. In fact, dermatologists claim retinoids (see "Is this product the secret to looking young?") are the one anti-aging product that really works.

Do Get Facials or Give Yourself One

If you use the Basic At-Home Facial every other week, your skin will look significantly better. It takes only 30 minutes and includes cleansing, exfoliation via a facial scrub, a hydrating mask, a quick steam, and moisturizer.

Do Wear Sunscreen, Rain or Shine

While you may be diligent about applying sunscreen when you are at the beach, it's important to wear sunscreen every day. You get a surprising amount of rays driving and just walking about during your daily routine. Wearing sunscreen religiously can prevent skin damage.

 

Do Shield Your Windows

The average commuter gets 200 hours of sun exposure each year and 80 percent of sun exposure is through car windows, according to Boston dermatologist Ranella Hirsch in Harper's Bazaar. To protect your skin against sun damage (the leading cause of aging skin), invest in a window shield like Solar Gard. Shields with SPF 285 can block UVA and UVB rays by 99 percent.

Don't Pull at Your Skin

Never pull and rub your skin. Aging skin has been under attack by UV rays, stress and carbon monoxide so don't stress it more by pulling on it.

Don't Skip Moisturizing

While it's a myth that wrinkles are caused by dry skin, moisturizing can improve the appearance of lines by temporarily plumping them up. Also, consider a good eye cream. Eye creams are controversial because some professionals claim they don't really do anything, but many women swear by them.

Don't Ignore Your Neck and Chest

The neck and chest are first to show the signs of aging because they have fewer oil glands than the rest of your body, yet most of us ignore them. Look for moisturizers that have age-fighting ingredients like vitamin A (retinols), kinetin, copper or vitamin C.

Don't Tan

Even if wrinkles haven't shown up yet, you need to stop tanning now because they will.

Once signs of aging appear, you'll have to spend a lot of money to reverse it.

So if you do have sun damage? You can reverse the damage with photorejuvenation such as pulsed light treatments. Many spas and dermatologists provide these pricey fixes. If you do have brown spots, treat them with lemon juice diluted with water, according to NY dermatologist Jessica Krant in Harper's Bazaar. Krant suggests applying the mixture with a Q-tip nightly, gradually increasing it twice daily until sun spots fade away.

Don't Take Sporadic Care of Your Skin

It's important to cleanse your face every night not only to avoid clogged pores but also to wash away all the pollution your skin has been prone to.

As for anti-aging regimens, you need to keep it up for best effects. You may suffer redness and a bit of peeling at first, but this is normal.

To get the full effects of acid peels, retinoids, AHAs, and moisturizers you have to keep at it. The initial benefits will go away if you stop using them.

More on anti-aging:

  • 7 Anti-Aging Products Dermatologists Swear By
  • Hollywood Secrets to Looking Younger
  • 5 Amazing Uses for Botox
  • Is Retin-A the Secret to Youthful Skin?