They say aging is inevitable, but why not put it off until the last possible moment? We’ve put together our top 20 time-tested tips on how to look and feel younger starting today!
1. Stay Out of the Sun to Stay Young
Always, always, always wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating, and make sure it’s broad-spectrum (blocks both UVA and UVB rays). Doesn’t matter if the day is cloudy or bright – the UV rays are always there. And remember to reapply every few hours so it continues to protect your skin.
Damage from the sun’s UVA and UVB ultraviolet light is linked to about 90% of the visible signs of aging. UV rays break down elastin, the tissue that gives skin its elasticity, resulting in a dull, saggy appearance, and they also cause uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and age spots. The damage may not show for years, so early prevention is critical.
2. Eat A Plant-Rich Diet
Staying young and healthy is easier when you eat a healthy diet of mostly fruits and vegetables supplemented with lean protein and whole grains. These foods provide key nutrients that support healthy aging inside and out. Fruits & veggies also boost your intake of important phytonutrients that help defend against damaging free-radicals.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Want to know how to look younger naturally? Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water each day to keep skin supple and support optimum health.
Dehydration causes skin to become dry and wrinkled. Proper hydration ensures tissues and skin cells are replenished, allowing for younger, healthier-looking skin.
4. Boost Your Physical Activity
Make sure you’re active daily – recent research shows that vigorous exercise, particularly high-intensity interval training, can slow aging by almost a decade at a cellular level! Exercise also increases blood flow, moving oxygen and nutrients to working cells in the body – skin included – promoting a more youthful look.
Exercise is also linked to maintaining muscle mass and strength, maintaining more brain volume in areas that affect motor control and coordination, fewer menopause-related hot flashes, improved memory and brain function with age, and adding nearly 5 years to your lifespan!
5. Avoid Tobacco Products
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body and skin. Ditching tobacco is essential if you want to stay young looking.
Cigars and cigarettes reduce vitamin C in the body, leading to collagen breakdown and wrinkle formation. Smoking also dehydrates skin, giving smokers dry, dull complexions. And the repeated physical act of smoking leads to significantly more wrinkles around the mouth.
6. Limit Alcohol & Caffeine
Alcohol (in moderation) can have some health benefits, but too much alcohol and caffeine has a negative impact on both your health and appearance.
Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate and deplete your body of vital nutrients. Alcohol causes blood vessels in the face to dilate, and drinking too much has the potential to make these effects permanent, resulting in an unpleasant flushed appearance and red, spidery veins – never good if you want to look younger.
7. Adopt a Good Skin Care Regimen
Start your daily skin care routine with a gently exfoliating cleanser. Apply a moisturizer to hydrate the skin, allowing it to stay firm and elastic and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Ingredients like green-tea extract, vitamins A, C & E, and hyaluronic acid help protect against free-radicals, increase collagen, and retain moisture.
8. Boost With Nutritional Supplements
Aging skin results from a combination of biological and environmental factors. While the first line of defense should be a healthy diet, it’s a good idea to use anti-aging supplements and beauty supplements to help cover any nutrient gaps.
Supplements can also help you feel younger by boosting energy levels, improving mood and immune function, and fighting inflammation.
9. Go See a Pro
As we age, facial volume decreases due to loss of fat, bone density and muscle, making lines and wrinkles more obvious. Repetitive facial expressions can also cause deep frown lines (Hello, 11s and forehead lines!) that contribute to an aged or even angry appearance. In addition, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries and acne scars can become more prominent with age. A number of non-invasive professional treatments are available to address these concerns and help you stay young looking longer.
10. Consider an Aesthetic Procedure
Remember, good health inside is visible on the outside. However, some things (like genes and time) can be out of our control, despite our best efforts. Why be afraid to get a little help looking good and feeling good about it?
If you’re thinking about having “something” done but feel unsure where to start, check out the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery to find board-certified surgeons.
11. Get Plenty of Protein
Your body needs a ready supply of protein available to build new collagen and elastin. You don’t need to eat like a bodybuilder. Just aim to eat a small amount of high-quality protein at every meal, like nonfat plain Greek yogurt at breakfast, beans or peas at lunch, a whey protein shake for a mid-day boost, and lean poultry or fish at dinner.
12. Eat More Fat
Not all fat is bad – Omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds) have been associated with slowing a key biological process known as telomere shortening that results in tissue damage and visible signs of aging. And a 2007 study found an association between increased Omega-3 intake and decreased senile dryness and skin atrophy in middle-aged American women.
In addition, Omega-3s offer numerous anti-aging benefits including protecting skin from damage by increasing its resistance to UV light, protecting it from harmful free-radicals, helping block the release of enzymes that break down collagen, and reducing silent inflammation by moderating the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory chemical messengers in the body called prostaglandins.
13. Take It Easy
Staying young means stressing less. Set aside a small chunk of time every day, about 10-20 minutes, to relax, meditate, or just breathe deeply, while letting worries melt away and helping yourself look younger naturally.
A long list of studies have found that stress, including conditions such as untreated depression, social isolation, and anxiety can speed up cellular aging; stress shortens essential DNA components called telomeres which are linked to overall health, lifespan, and individual aging rate, and when they become too short, cells can no longer reproduce, causing tissues to degenerate and die.
14. Cut Calories
Eating fewer calories has been linked to longer lifespan. And other studies have shown that exercising and restricting calories lowers production of a thyroid hormone called T3, slowing metabolism and helping slow the aging process.
The Japanese have the world’s oldest population as well as the greatest proportion of centenarians (people aged 100 and over), and much of their philosophy of how to feel younger and live longer centers around diet and avoiding overeating.
15. Exercise Your Brain
“Use it or lose it” is true when it comes to brain function. In the same way that physical exercise helps brain fitness by improving both long-term and episodic memory as well as concentration, brain exercises may be able to “train” your brain and keep cognitive decline at bay even up to 10 years later.
Keep fit with puzzles, Sudoku, learning new languages or skills, or playing an instrument – whatever gets your brain going.
16. Trim Belly Fat
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to looking and feeling younger, so get rid of that fat around the middle.
Middle age spread is real – that accumulation of visceral fat is not just a sign of aging but can nearly triple the risk of developing dementia. Being overweight can also shorten lifespan by up to seven years, as well as put you at risk of developing other conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which increase mortality risk.
17. Don’t Skimp on Beauty Sleep
It’s not a myth – even science shows that you look less attractive, less healthy, and even sad when you’re sleep-deprived. Sleeping more means staying young!
Studies have shown that for both men and women, sleeping 6 hours or less on an average night causes telomeres to shorten, and “ages” you biologically by about nine years more than your real age. And not getting enough sleep promotes brain tissue loss, affecting learning and memory.
18. Sleep on Your Back
The way you sleep can affect the way wrinkles develop on your face. Just as when muscle movement against collagen, like laughing or frowning, can promote its breakdown, “sleep lines” can be formed through nightly application of pressure as we lie with our faces against the pillow. Sleeping on your back instead of on your stomach or sides alleviates pressure on the face, helping to prevent these wrinkles.
19. Keep Companionship
Having a partner in life, whether a spouse or even a companion animal, can have a positive effect on aging. Both can help lower stress, improve brain function, boost immunity and mood, and help us live longer. Consider it a testament to the power of love!
20. Don’t Act Your Age
Mind wins over matter when it comes to aging, because studies show that people who thrive in old age think younger.
In fact, having a positive self-perception of aging can mean up to an additional 7.5 years in longevity, and those over 40 who remain positive feel up to 20% younger than their than their biological age.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.