There’s something to be said about aging gracefully: It doesn’t have to mean looking old. And while increasing numbers of men are turning to plastic surgery to keep young and beautiful, there are lots of less drastic steps you can take to keep your skin looking young and healthy.
There are hundreds of skin care products that promise more youthful looking skin, but the first steps you need to take aren’t in the skin care aisle.
HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
Your skin, like every other organ in your body, is dependent on good nutrition and hydration to stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet is the first step in keeping your skin looking young. Hydration starts from within. Using a moisturizer helps keep your skin hydrated, but start by making sure you’re drinking enough fluids. Remember, some liquids, like caffeinated drinks and alcohol actually can dehydrate you.
THE SUN IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
Ultraviolet light is the primary cause of premature skin aging. Stay out of the sun when possible. Wear a hat. Use sunscreen every day. Many facial moisturizers and now even some body lotions include sunscreen.
SMOKING AND DRINKING
You play, you pay. Smoking takes a particularly harsh toll on your skin. And drinking contributes to skin puffiness and stretching. If you are smoking, be sure your diet and skin care regimen are rich in anti-oxidants. And if you drink, try to avoid drinking in excess or within three hours of bedtime. Sex, on the other hand, is generally good for your complexion.
CLEANLINESS ISN’T NEXT TO GODLINESS
While your bathroom and carpets can never be too clean, your skin can be. Your skin has a natural protective acid mantle that can be stripped by overly frequent or aggressive washing. Use a gentle cleanser specifically formulated for your face. Avoid hot water and excessive scrubbing.
Now, you’re ready for product. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get results. But you do need to find products with proven ingredients and use them regularly. Two basic mechanisms work to make you look younger:
Products that accelerate the turn over of dead skin cells, revealing the younger looking skin beneath.
Products that stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and other building blocks of younger looking skin.
What are some of the ingredients you should look for?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Some of these, like AHA and Vitamin C, are backed by scientific research. Others, like Retinol, have anecdotal proof. Their efficacy can vary significantly depending on concentration of the active ingredient.
Results vary. Everyone’s skin is different, and no one product works well for everyone. If you’re using a specific anti-wrinkle cream or serum, use it on clean, patted-dry skin. And let it soak in for a few minutes before putting a moisturizer on top. This will ensure the best absorption. If your skin is oily, you may get enough moisturization from the base of an anti-wrinkle product without an additional moisturizer. Unless your skin is dry, stay away from oil-based moisturizers, and in either case, look for Hyaluronic Acid. It’s the gold standard of moisturization ingredients.
Don’t equate high prices with efficacy. Spend more than $40 for a skin care product, and you’re probably paying more for packaging and marketing than for product. Most importantly, find products that feel and smell good on your skin. because none of them will work if you don’t use them.
MORE DRASTIC MEASURES
While creams, lotions and clean living can help slow and even reverse the visible signs of aging, none can turn back time like a surgeon’s knife, laser or syringe. But two words of caution about those: Joan Rivers. Three more words of caution: Siegfried and Roy. A little nip and tuck can take years off your appearance, but it’s easy to cross into Frankenstein territory if you keep going back for more. That’s worse than the wrinkles, and so ungraceful.
ABOUT BILLY KOLBER-STUART
Billy Kolber-Stuart is in the top 10 percent of Avon representatives nationwide with a team of men selling skin care to men at Avonmen.com.