Most of us at some point have wished for the ability to turn back time when youthful, smooth skin required no effort at all. But let’s get one thing straight: you’re beautiful in whatever skin you’re in. The cosmetics industry puts so much pressure on us to sport the bouncy skin of an 8th grader all the way through our 60’s. The reality is—well, that’s not reality.
The more important thing to focus on is aging in a healthy way. When you put your health at the center of your health regimen, there are some ways to slow down the effects of aging brought on by the world outside our bodies. Today, we’re showing you exactly what that looks like in the mirror. Let’s explore how to prevent aging skin by adding a few healthy habits to your routine and lifestyle.
What causes aging?
Have you ever wondered what’s happening in our bodies that drives saggy skin, fine lines, and dreaded droopiness? As much as it may feel like a curse at times, aging is a completely natural process that stems from our DNA.
When we’re babies, our cells are babies, too. They’re full of new-life energy, and able to divide and regenerate with the snap of a finger. But as we age, so do our cells. The hard work of regenerating, healing, and protecting our bodies over our lifetime wears on cells and eventually slows them down.
This natural process of aging in the body is called intrinsic aging, and it’s one of two major causes of aging. The other is extrinsic, or aging influenced by external factors.
This natural process of our cells aging and slowing over time (called senescence) looks different for everyone. It happens at all different ages and stages of life. This is the part of aging that cannot be reversed or delayed.
Intrinsic aging can cause:
Skin thinning (or dermal atrophy)
Dark spots or liver spots
While intrinsic aging is a natural, graceful part of life, its effects can be heightened by the results of extrinsic aging. Extrinsic aging is where we’ll want to focus our prevention efforts—but more on that later.
Extrinsic aging is aging that is brought on by environmental aggressors that interfere with our cell’s natural restorative processes. Couple this with intrinsic cellular wear and tear, and you’ve got a major uphill battle for those meticulous mitochondria.
From the air we breathe to the stuff we consume, there’s a world of sources for extrinsic aging:
The sun is the number one culprit for propelling extrinsic aging. Let’s take a closer look at the long-term damage the sun can pose on your pores to understand how to prevent skin aging.
Sun UV rays
We love a sunkissed glow as much as the next person, but in the case of the sun, too much of a good thing can cause a good deal of damage.
The sun’s powerful rays have a huge impact on our skin and our overall health that reach far beyond cosmetic repercussions. The skin damage caused by the sun, called photoaging, is the result of two types of sunshine:
UVA rays – Responsible for skin aging and skin cancer
UVB rays – Responsible for sunburn
How to prevent aging? 10 tips to prevent aging
The not-so secret to preventing extrinsic aging is to prioritize your health. Doing things that make you feel good, like eating nourishing foods and exercising, can actually slow down the aging process.
Colorful salads, extra yoga classes, and fewer wrinkles? You really can have it all.
How to prevent skin aging begins with these top 10 tips. Incorporate as many of these lifestyle changes into your daily routine as possible to feel your best from the inside out.
#1 Use sunscreen every single day
Sun exposure is known to be a contributing factor to premature aging. In a remarkable Australian study, people who wore sunscreen every day for 4 years showed 24% less skin aging than those who didn’t wear sunscreen every day. If you don’t adopt any other tips, adopt this one. Apply broad-spectrum SPF every day, rain or shine, to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even if you’re looking for options on how to treat hyperpigmentation on the face, sunscreen can go beyond just preventing aging.
Protects against sun spots
Pro tip: To protect your face, find a moisturizer and a foundation (if you wear one) rich with SPF to work sunscreen into your already existing routine so it won’t feel like extra work.
#2 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water is pretty much the ultimate health hero. It proves its pertinence in age prevention, too. When you drink water, it sends refreshing H2O to every single cell in your body. Those cells can regenerate faster and easier, adding to overall skin elasticity and function.
Drinking water is incredible to help prevent the effects of aging skin:
Helps maintain skin elasticity
Helps skin carry out normal functions
#3 Moisturize your skin
When it comes to anti-aging, understanding how to repair your skin barrier is a crucial step in protecting the skin, in addition to moisturizing it. Similar to hydrating, but upping the ante even further. Using a moisturizer on your skin both provides and seals in hydration. It acts as a barrier between your skin and outdoor pollutants to protect it. There are also many benefits of hyaluronic acid, that can help to retain moisture in your skin. Although moisturizer alone cannot rid your face of wrinkles entirely, it can help protect your skin to slow down their development.
Lather these moisturizing benefits into your skin twice a day:
Help slow the formation of wrinkles
#4 Enjoy healthy foods
The foods we eat are the primary energy source for our cells. Feed them well, and they’ll thank you for it. Healthy fruits and vegetables can help slow and even repair the skin from oxidation, a process that speeds skin aging.
Look for foods with these powerful age-fighting nutrients:
Antioxidants –An important component for how to prevent aging and fighting off harmful free radicals. Find these in green tea, broccoli, almonds, and citrus fruits.
Anti-inflammatory –Every time your cells have to fight inflammation, it wears them down, which can speed up aging. Combat this with anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, leafy greens, and legumes.
Omega-3 –Polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s help restore the protective skin’s barrier, fight inflammation, and reduce oxidative stress on the skin.
#5 Don’t feed into stress
While you’re feeding your body delicious fruits and veggies, what you don’t want to feed into is stress. Stress in your life is also felt at the cellular level, causing oxidative stress, which is linked to inflammation, cellular damage, and skin cancer.
Practicing stress-relieving activities in your daily life can help:
Decrease your risk of cancer and other diseases
#6 Get a good night’s sleep
If you’ve ever felt like your skin looks especially youthful after one or a couple good nights of rest, it might not be a coincidence. Lack of sleep can actually influence cellular damage that makes them more vulnerable to senescence. Just one night of unrest can trigger the domino effect.
Tuck in early and snooze your way to these health benefits:
Rejuvenating cell processes
Slow down biological aging
Decrease risk of chronic disease
#7 Move your body daily
Move your body in whatever way you please, as often as you can. Research shows that moving your body for just 15 minutes a day can add 3 years to your life. Exercise helps restore aging cells and offers a ton of other advantages.
Jog through a field of puppies towards these skin benefits:
Improve cellular function
Slow the effects of senescence
#8 Kick the smoking habit
Not only does smoking cause premature skin aging, but it also makes you appear older than you really are. Smoking causes depletion of collagen production in your skin, resulting in thinner, less elastic, less youthful-looking skin.
Toss your last pack down the toilet, prevent premature skin aging, and promote these results:
Mitigate skin sag and sallowness
#9 Swap sugars for fruits
This can be a difficult one for our fellow sweet teeth out there. Sugar is fine in moderation, (don’t force your mom to rescind her offer to make your favorite strawberry shortcake for your birthday next month), but be mindful: sugar can also lead to decreased collagen production and skin elasticity.
Cutting down on sugar has its sweet rewards, like:
#10 Apply retinoids
Retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A, are being looked upon in the skincare industry as a leader in topical collagen rejuvenation. Retinoids can boost collagen numbers your skin loses over time, as well as promote cellular reproduction to reduce dark spots and damaged skin.
More youthful-looking skin
Promote skin cell restoration
Pro tip: If using retinoids for the first time, start with every couple of days to avoid drying or irritating your skin, and use it at night instead of in the morning, as it can make your skin sensitive to the sun.
Healthy skin with The Pill Club
We know, we can’t believe it either—youthful skin is really all about healthy skin and a healthy lifestyle. Healthy daily habits go deep, assisting and restoring your hard-working cells so that you can age as gracefully as fine wine.
At The Pill Club, we’re helping an entire community of women and people who menstruate live healthy lives defined by them. We’re here to give you all of the information to empower the choices that are best for you, from skincare, to reproductive health, and beyond.
Join our community and get access to healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and our care team to help personalize a healthcare plan fit for you.
At The Pill Club, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Articles are written by experienced contributors; they are grounded in research and evidence-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and extensively reviewed by our team of experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.