We have all heard it before. Protect your skin from the sun and harsh elements. Nourish your skin with healthy foods and hydrate. You know the list.
However, how often do you actually do these things? Did you just remind yourself to go drink a gigantic glass of water after this? Are you religious about protecting your skin from the sun? What about from harsh soaps? How often do you actually apply lotion?
Most people think I am about 10 years younger than I am and I think that has to do mainly with my skin. I didn’t always have great skin but I made a big effort to start working at it DAILY to help my skin stay healthy and happy. In fact, doing these things every day can literally take years off.
Just consider sunblock. Did you know the sun accounts for 80% of skin aging!?! If you didn’t wear sunblock for 20 years, then you have 20 years of skin damage. If you change that habit over the next 20 years, then instead of 40 years of skin damage you’ll still only have 20 years of skin damage. Better yet, giving your skin a break from sun damage will also allow it to better repair the damage you already did. AND trust me, you will be very happy that you don’t have those extra years of skin damage.
After starting to see such a change in how my skin looked and felt, I really wish I had gotten serious about skincare sooner. Why did it take me so long? I had a hard time making it a habit.
Once an action item had a place in my day such as brushing teeth before bed, then I was very likely to follow through. So for each of these action items, be sure to think how it will fit into your day. Use sticky notes to remind yourself until its habit. Additionally, buy multiples so you can have things at home, in the car, in your purse and at work.
Now, what can you do to take years off your skin and prevent further aging?
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21 Skincare Tips to Prevent Skin Aging
1. Wear gloves in winter
After your face, your hands are one of the most noticeable places your age shows. They get a lot of sun exposure and in general are exposed to the harsh elements.
If you live in a place that gets cold, then you need to be wearing gloves every time you go out. Exposing your skin to the harsh elements is something you want to avoid as much as possible. It will damage your skin’s barrier and also isn’t great for the joints either.
Additionally, the sun’s rays very much exist in winter. This is especially true with snow that will refle ct the sun’s rays. This means while you are driving or outside, wear gloves to protect your hands from sun damage.
I bought a pack of gloves at the beginning of winter and was sure to keep a pair in the car, at work, etc. This way I was more likely to wear them. Just be sure to remember to wash your winter gloves to reduce your chance of catching a cold or the flu.
2. Wear gloves while doing dishes
Another time to always wear gloves is doing the dishes. Exposing your skin to harsh dish soap daily is wreaking havoc on your skin. I find that if I don’t wear gloves my hands are always dry and cracked, which are signs of damage to your skin’s ability to be a protective barrier. Keeping your skin hydrated is the best way to protect it and prevent aging. Wearing dish gloves is a good start.
3. Be very picky on the types of soaps that you use
I recently learned that I was actually doing more damage than good when it came to the soap I was using. Dry, red, itchy skin after washing is actually a sign of damage. Damaging your skin allows for toxins and bacteria to get into your skin at deeper levels doing a lot of harm. So instead of creating healthier skin, I was doing the exact opposite.
Therefore, I went on a mission to find more gentle cleaners for my handsoap, bodywash and facial cleaner. In particular, I ditched traditional soap all together for my face and now use micellular water. I picked one that contains ceramides to help restore the skin’s barrier. I really like the La Roche-Posay one and the one by Bioderma.
After that, I use African Black soap or I do the oil cleaning method. The oil cleaning method means I rub coconut oil all over my face and then cover my face with a hot wet towel. This creates a steam. I then remove use the towel to wipe my face after. After switching, I can notice a huge difference in the texture of my skin.
For a hand wash, I have switched our whole household to Dr. Bonners soap. I use the African black soap for a body wash as well but recently have tried out a different one by Puracy. I really like it so I think I’m going to switch over.
4. Be religious about lotion after a shower
The timing of lotion matters almost as much as lotion itself. To moisturize the skin, lotion works by trapping in hydration. Therefore, the best time to lotion is when your skin is water-logged, such as after a shower. I had a hard time adjusting to putting on cold lotion after a shower so now I don’t even get out of the shower until after I lotion.
I just keep my lotion in my shower. After I turn off my shower, I pat (never rub) my skin dry and then apply lotion all over my body including my face.
Try to use a lotion that contains hyaluronic acid. While the name sounds harsh with the word acid, it is far from that. It is a gel-like water molecule that’s main purpose is to hydrate and plump the skin. It can hold 1000 times its weight in water. That means when your skin is damp like after a shower, this lotion will trap in all of that water into your skin.
I use CeraVe for my whole body. It is a fantastic product for an excellent price. For my face, I use The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 every day. Hydration is very key to keeping your skin healthy especially in the long term when it comes to aging.
5. Lotion every night
Night is a solid chunk of time to repair damage to your skin done throughout the day.
At night, you want to repair and moisturize your skin. I cover my body in a thick body cream with hyaluronic acid. If you want to do less, at least coat your hands, chest, feet and neck in lotion. These are areas that are exposed to harsh elements throughout the day or are prone to damage, like dry cracked feet. I am also in love with aloe socks.
6. Have a night face routine
Having a routine increases your likelihood of doing it. Consistency is key to keeping your skin healthy. I can’t tell you the number of times I have bought products and then kept forgetting to use them.
On my face, I focus on products that I can’t wear during the day. For example, I always use retinols at night because the molecule is sun sensitive, meaning it breaks down when exposed to UV light. It also results in skin cell turnover, which is great but exposing your skin to sun right after applying could cause damage.
In addition to retinols, I always apply vitamin c to my skin at night. It helps in the production of collagen and since doing so, I have seen a major difference. The most important thing is to be sure your vitamin c is stable. If not, then you are doing nothing by applying it to your skin. It can’t be in any product that contains water. All of the DIY version you see all over the internet are ineffective. It is hard to formulate so it is expensive but in my opinion worth it.
7. SPF every morning
Morning is a time to add protection to your skin before the day starts.
During the morning, I focus mostly on lotions that protect my skin, meaning hydration and SPF. Pick a lotion that contains at least SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection. I absolutely love the Blue Lizard sunblock for you face. If you read their ingredient list, it contains hyaluronic acid so and vitamin to hydrate and protect your skin. It also doesn’t feel like a sunscreen. Your chest/neck and hands get exposed to just as much sun as your face and can show signs of aging so protect them as well. I have written an extensive post on sunscreen because it is absolutely the best way to combat aging.
8. Keep these with you at all times
Having great skin means you have to be consistent. The best way you do this is to always have your arsenal at hand. I am never without these items
I keep these things with me so I can rehydrate and protect my skin throughout the day. The biggest thing I learned was that even if I was in a building or car, I was still getting sun damage on my skin.
Really you should be reapplying every two hours. You won’t actually reapply if you don’t add it to a routine, so I like to reapply my lotion with SPF every time I wash my hands. I always do my hand lotion on my hands, upper chest and neck. I then apply my face lotion. It also just helps to make me feel refreshed.
9. Invest and wear your sunglasses
In addition to keeping lotion with my ALL the time, I am never without a pair of good sunglasses. Unless you think crow’s feet are flattering, you should be wearing sunglasses like it’s your job. The skin under and around your eyes is so delicate and squinting damages it. Not to mention the sun rays damage your skin around your eyes too. Additionally, sunglasses protect your eyes which become more prone to cataracts and other not so great things as you get older.
I have 3 pairs of sunglasses. I leave one at home, one in the car and one in my bag. I also decided to invest some money into my sunglasses. I know so many people who spend a lot of money on skin care products but yet have two dollar sunglasses.
Now you don’t need to spend a fortune on sunglasses. As long as they say they block 100% of UV rays, you are good to go. Sunglasses that are bigger are better because they reduce the number of rays entering your eye from the side. You don’t need polarized for UV. Polarized simply reduces glare.
If you find a pair that you like, then get them even if they are more money. Because unless you are wearing them, they will not help you. I only wore my super cheap sunglasses when I absolutely had too because I didn’t love them. This time, I got ones I loved even though they were more expensive.
10. Wear UV-protective clothes in the summer
While we are on the topic of the sun, I highly recommend getting some sun gear. It is annoying to continuously wear sunblock. When you aren’t feeling in the mood to continuously reapply, wear lightweight clothing that cover and protect your skin. I own a few UV protecting shirts in addition to a swim shirt. I like to wear those at the beach or working out. I also own a few hats from Sunday afternoons. Again, I shopped until I found things I actually liked and would wear all the time.
11. Always be kind to the delicate areas under eyes
The skin under your eyes is very fragile. Never under any circumstances use acne products, harsh soaps or astringents there. When in doubt, avoid this area. To prevent damage to this area, wear sunglasses, avoid rubbing your eyes, and moisturize. Since the area under your eyes is so delicate, it will show signs of wear and tear early on. Any money you spend on eye specific creams are well worth it.
12. Be conscious of your facial expressions
While repeated facial expressions aren’t the only reason behind lines, it is well worth it to rein in some expressions. For example, start to notice how much you are squinting from either the sun or screens. When you catch yourself doing this, fix it. Put on those sunglasses. I have also started to check in with myself while working or on my phone. I didn’t realize that I furrow my eyebrows while I work continuously. I also do the same thing while reading on my phone. That adds up to a lot of hours!
To make myself conscious of doing this, I actually set alarms on my phone throughout the day for a week. When one would go off, I would give myself a minute to relax my expression and bring it to my attention. It also made me more aware of my mood.
I made a deliberate effort to be more calm and less frustrated. I started doing 10 minutes of yoga every morning. It changed my mood for the day and helped me combat aging. In addition to making less worried and angry expressions, stress can cause acne, wrinkles and hair loss. If yoga isn’t your thing, then start your mornings with a run. You pick what helps you.
13. Find a workout you enjoy
In addition to lowering your stress, working out is a must for healthy skin. The increased blood flow will nourish your skin cells with oxygen and nutrients. Blood also removes waste from cells such as damaging free radicals. Now that you know just how wonderful breaking a sweat every day is, how are you going to do that?
I am a full believer in only doing what you love. If you don’t like running, then don’t do it. You need to find a workout you like. I really like dancing or working out with a friend. I have zero desire to go to the gym and just work out. I signed up for Zumba and Jazzercize and love them. I don’t think of it as a workout at all. Instead it feels like an hour to dance and move.
Additionally, I love to hang out at the gym with a friend. We can go on machines and chat. I can easily spend an hour on the ellipticals with a friend. I am also less likely to skip because someone else is counting on me.
So find what gets you to the gym and stick with it.
14. Increase water
Drink more water. I know you have all heard drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. However, I just can not drink that much water without variation. So to help me reach this goal daily, I have added water into my daily habits. Once it’s a habit, anything becomes so much easier to accomplish and stick to it.
For example, I now have a hot cup of bedtime tea with honey. Since I have it every night and it’s part of my routine I am more likely to do it. After starting I also just love sipping tea in my cozy pajamas at night.
Another drink that I really like is seltzer. I add a lemon and have it with my lunch every day. I also try to always include water-rich food in my lunch such as cucumber, tomatoes and watermelon.
I have also tried to remove barriers from drinking water. While I hate carrying a water bottle with me because it’s heavy, I fill one up before driving anywhere. I always find that I am thirsty on my way home. If I don’t have the water bottle in the car, then I usually don’t drink water.
I also always fill one up and keep one at my bedside. I try to drink it in the morning or at least have some. Again, once it becomes habit to drink water in the morning, you will crave it.
15. Decrease sugar
If you were looking for a reason to ditch the sweets, besides your waistline, then you just found it. Sugar ages you because it starts a natural process called glycation. Basically, the sugar binds to proteins (collagen and elastin) in your bloodstream and damages them.
It gets worse. Sugar also affects your body’s ability to protect itself from free radicals caused by the environment such as pollution, and UV rays.
So if you haven’t already, start reducing sugar in your diet. First, remove high fructose corn syrup. I would also recommend starting a sugar journal to see just how much sugar you intake and what are your major culprits.
16. Go to bed every night at the same time
If you go to bed at the same time every night, then you are going to fall asleep faster and get more sleep in general. One way I help myself fall asleep even faster is to have a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve screens. I put my phone away an hour before bed.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have as much time to repair itself. A very important function when it comes to aging. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to excess cortisol and will age your skin faster. Bad sleep can also affect your metabolism and your mood.
17. Use a satin pillow
While on the topic of sleep, consider your pillow and how it might be affecting wrinkles. There are a lot of pillows that are anti-aging. Personally, I would avoid cotton and stick to satin. I have no idea how well these truly help but I have found that my skin seems happier when I use a satin pillowcase. You sleep for so many hours a night so to me it was worth investing in a fabric that would be best for my skin.
18. Lose weight slowly
When I get motivated and want to lose weight, I want to lose it all that day. I never want to plan on taking months to reach my goal weight. However, if you want your skin to look good when you do reach your goal, you have to kick yo-yo dieting out.
Losing weight fast is really hard on your body and skin. It will result in a lot more sagging. Work towards your goal weight slowly and once there, try really hard to stay at your goal weight. Your skin will thank you.
Ironically, once I took an approach to losing weight that was focused more on a new lifestyle instead of on weight loss, I finally lost weight and kept it off.
19. Eat superfoods instead of applying them to your skin
The best thing I ever learned from a dermatologist is that while superfoods have all of these great properties, they are never on your skin long enough to make a difference. You might get some benefit if they are in a lotion that is on your skin all night. You get absolutely no benefit from botanicals in your face wash. The ingredients simply aren’t on your skin long enough.
So, now I can stop wasting money on products and instead spend it at the supermarket. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is fantastic for your skin. They will prevent the damage sugar can do to your skin because they contain high levels of antioxidants. Feed your skin.
20. Butt exercises
As you age, your muscles don’t stay in shape especially if you aren’t hitting the gym. If you are also sitting at a desk all day at work, then you might start getting a lazy butt. You can actually get gluteal amnesia, which simply means you don’t use your glutes so they forget to even engage when they should. This can cause a whole lot of back and hip problems.
Having a good shape is another way you can stay healthy and look young. I do 20 donkey kicks on each side every day. I also try to take the stairs every chance I get.
21. Keep your nails from yellowing
As you age, your nails will start to turn yellow become much thicker. Keeping your hands well manicured isn’t just for fashion but it can make you look younger. If you don’t want to wear polish be sure to clean your nails with whitening toothpaste or do a hydrogen peroxide soak once in a while. If you use toothpaste, just scrub them for a few minutes with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure the toothpaste is a “whitening” one.
If you try the hydrogen peroxide soak, add 3 TBSP of hydrogen peroxide to ½ cup warm water. Soak your nails for a few minutes and then clean them with a toothbrush. Rinse and coat your hands with lotion.
Pursue an anti-aging habit Today
There is no time like the present!
Adding any of these habits to your daily routine right now will not only help give you that beautiful skin but also keep it. Self-care is important. How I look affects my self-confidence and happiness. Everyone deserves to look and feel their best no matter their age.
Start today by treating yourself to a self-care shopping spree or a new haircut to kick off your motivation.
And remember, taking care of your skin is a critical component to anti-aging so protect it from the sun, nourish it healthy foods, amply sleep, and plenty of water.
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