Your New Anti-Aging Arsenal: 11 Beauty Tricks to Look Younger
More Skin Wreckers
Lack of Sleep. In a recent Estee Lauder study, researchers found that women between ages 30 and 60 who were poor sleepers showed more signs of aging and recovered slower from environmental assaults than those who snoozed soundly. "Lack of sleep may age us because it physically stresses our bodies and doesn't allow our cells time to repair themselves, or because we have more wrinkle-forming muscle tension in our faces when we're tired," says Neal Schultz, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and a FITNESS advisory board member. Try these techniques:
- Call for backup. If you're not getting enough shut-eye, your cells are missing out on prime repair time. Warding off the daily onslaught of damage will make their job a little easier come nighttime. Reach for antioxidants, says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas, who recommends applying a treatment that contains resveratrol, a potent plant-based one, before bed and in the morning. "Research shows that resveratrol increases cell survival," she says. Find it in Environ AVST 1 Moisturizer ($66, dermaconcepts.com for locations).
- Fake it. Just as the caffeine in coffee can power you through a groggy workout, applying it topically can help skin recover from a sleepless night. In an eye cream, caffeine can constrict blood vessels, lessening dark circles and puffiness, Dr. Schultz says. We like La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes ($47, drugstores) and Arbonne RE9 Advanced Corrective Eye Creme ($55, arbonne.com).
Genetics. According to a recent Elizabeth Arden survey, nearly half of women under age 40 are more worried about aging gracefully than saving for their retirement. Here's the thing: When it comes to aging, genetics rule, according to Dr. Schultz. "If your parents had beautiful skin when they got older, you're more likely to have it too, provided you always wear sunscreen and don't smoke," he says. And "if your parents looked much older than their age, there's a chance you will too, despite doing everything right." But it's not all doom and gloom. There are new ways to beat your genes and head off aging:
- Guard your DNA. The latest beauty buzzword is telomeres; these structures, located at the ends of our chromosomes, help our bodies to keep producing healthy cells. As we get older, our telomeres shorten, and wrinkles and other signs of aging appear. New topical products, such as Dr. Brandt Do Not Age (DNA) Time Reversing Cream ($130, sephora.com) and Kate Somerville Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($90, katesomerville.com), are claimed to help protect telomeres, slowing those visible signs of aging. As of yet, there are no studies showing that any cream can work directly on telomeres, but "these products do contain enzymes that are known to help repair DNA," Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas says.
- Firm things up. Genetic aging tends to show up as lax or sagging skin, Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas says. Seek out peptides that boost collagen and elastin production, tightening up skin from within. Try G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide 5 Concentrate ($112, skin1.com).
Sugar. Some not-so-sweet news: Your 3:00 p.m. vending machine habit can make you look old. The culprit is glycation, a process in which glucose, aka sugar, binds to tissue in our bodies and produces substances that turn the collagen and elastin in our skin stiff and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. To add insult to injury, eating sugar can also generate free radicals. To curb your sweet tooth and save your skin, try these tips:
- Eat smarter. "It would be impossible to completely eliminate sugar from your diet," Dr. Callahan says. So cut back: Swap processed, refined foods for whole grains, fruits, and veggies. And switch up your cooking style. "Grilling, toasting, and frying alter the proteins in food and produce glucose," Dr. Taylor says. Instead, use healthier methods whenever you can, such as steaming, poaching, and boiling.
- Consider a topical approach. New creams are said to stop the glycation process and the wrinkles it causes. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of such formulas; according to Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas, more research is needed in this area. If you would like to give an antiglycation cream a try, GlyTerra-gL ($135, glyterra.com) has demonstrated line-softening results in studies by the manufacturer, and Lumene Complete Rewind Recovery Night Cream ($30, cvs.com) contains wrinkle-fighting peptides and Arctic Sea buckthorn, an antioxidant-rich botanical that has been shown to protect against the free radicals that are created when we eat sugar.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2014.
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