One day, you look into the rearview mirror, and it’s like a stranger is looking back. Deep lines etch your once smooth forehead. The grooves made from a big smile don’t disappear once your mouth returns to neutral. Suddenly, you’re replaying all of the foolish and even dangerous choices you made in your youth at your skin’s expense.
Settling into your new, more worn look certainly is an option and one you can choose with confidence. But if the early signs of aging and evidence of skin damage are things you’d rather see change, read on. There are choices you can make to undo the skin damage done and slow down the future impact of time.
1. Boost Your Skin’s Ability to Repair Itself
Generally, your skin is much better at repairing itself during your younger years. Just think — a toddler can slam their face into a corner and, in a few days, their complexion is perfect. Cell turnover and repair slows as you age, meaning the older you get, the quicker damage shows.
Fortunately, highly-trusted formulas available with a prescription can boost your skin’s ability to repair damage. Tretinoin or Retin-A decreases the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. Used topically, the concentration of vitamin A can differ based on your needs and your provider’s recommendation.
The power behind the medication is its ability to increase collagen production. Collagen is a protein that is naturally produced in the body and is essential for skin structure, bone strength, and overall elasticity. As you age, this protein’s production slows, so using Tretinoin can help repair old damage and while managing the new.
2. Adopt an Exfoliation Routine
Regular exfoliation is a must-do for anyone with skin, even if a youthful look isn’t a priority. Your skin cells expire daily and often need a little help on their exit plan. Establishing an exfoliation routine for your entire body is an excellent way to encourage a bright complexion and reduce breakouts.
If you want to keep it simple, use a washcloth, soft-bristled brush, or silicone scrubber to cleanse your body and face. Have separate tools for your body and face for sanitary reasons, and wash them regularly. Scrub in a circular motion and the light texture of the device will encourage dead cells to lift off. Afterward, moisturize based on your skin type to nourish your new, brighter complexion.
Consider using a chemical exfoliant weekly like salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy acid. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, as overuse can cause drying or irritation. These chemicals are gentle to most skin and can surpass the effectiveness of manual exfoliants. Choose a sugar scrub in a favorite scent for body exfoliation, paying special attention to acne-prone areas. Remember, the condition of your chest, shoulders, and back play into your appearance, so don’t skip this step.
3. Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out
Aside from all the good you can do on the outside for your skin, there’s a world of opportunity within. If your teacher or parent told you, “you are what you eat,” then this is when you see the proof. Your dietary choices can either support your body in its endeavors, or they can be a hindrance. Enhance your diet to include skin-loving and anti-aging nutrients that are deliciously effective.
Omega-fatty acids from fish like salmon and tuna are easily accessible and can be incorporated into a modern diet. The good fats within the fish are filling and help improve collagen production. Include them in your diet, and you may see improvements in skin condition, hair and nail growth, and mental stamina.
Polyphenols found in coffee, green tea, grapes, and dark chocolate make for more than a great snack. These antioxidant-rich foods help improve skin texture and condition from the inside out. Choose options that are caffeine-free, so as not to disrupt your sleep, which can hinder your skin-loving efforts. Also, stick with cacao that’s 60% or higher for the most powerful antioxidant benefits and less sugar.
4. Upgrade Your Lifestyle Habits
Beyond the extremely beneficial rewards of topical and ingested improvements you can make for your skin, your habits need attention. One of the most challenging shifts to make, lifestyle habits can make or break your anti-aging and skin-loving efforts. However, when you understand the impact positive changes can have on your skin, they may be easier to stick with.
Modern life can lead to overall stagnation throughout your body, putting your joints and posture at risk. Add a controlled articular rotation routine to your morning to deliver much-needed range of motion and fluid to your joints. Also known as CARs, this intentional movement protocol can improve mobility and blood flow that can improve your health. Doing so can also correct longtime posture issues and “tech neck,” which can incite premature aging and wrinkles.
In the evening, encourage lymph flow through facial massage, gua sha, or face brushing. A lesser-known suite of techniques, these practices aim to release stagnant fluid and improve overall appearance. Longtime commitment to the practice can decrease puffiness and eliminate toxins and fluid that can be held in the face. Facial exercises can also build muscle where you want or need it, based on your goals and preference. As you age, volume in the face decreases, and building up facial muscles can help retain a youthful look.
Prevent Future Damage Every Day
Now that you’ve course-corrected your skin damage, it’s important to take long-term prevention seriously. Assess your habits and adjust them with anti-aging in mind. Apply sunscreen daily, even when you don’t plan on being outdoors for long. Sun exposure is cumulative and is the top culprit for both skin damage and premature aging.
Implement changes that easily integrate into your life, making their long-term adoption more likely. Replace your moisturizer and makeup with formulas with SPF of at least 30 to provide a layer of protection. Have fun choosing stylish hats for any occasion for a doubly beneficial accessory. Wear your look with pride knowing that you’ve taken steps to correct skin damage and prevent it in the future.