Look 7 Years Younger

Good Housekeeping

View gallery

.
Getty Images

Maybe this sounds familiar: You find a photo taken a decade ago at the bottom of a drawer. It shows you barefaced, grinning, while hiking with family or friends. Back then, you thought that without makeup, eye crinkles clearly visible, this photo made you look old. If only you could get that look back now! Plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and the makers of many face creams will tell you that you can, but their wares can be expensive and invasive. We asked dermatologists what affordable, at-home steps will help restore your more youthful appearance. Here are six moves that research proves can deliver; two are even free!

See More Ways to Look 7 Years Younger 

Step 1: Shun the Sun

Why this works: Repeated sun exposure eventually leads to brown spots, fine wrinkles, deeper creases, and sagging skin. If you need proof, just look at the skin on the underside of your arm where the rays are less likely to reach. Does it look smoother and less blotchy? "What the sun does is fast-forward your aging clock," says Doris Day, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. "Around age 40, you cross that line — your collagen and elastic tissue have experienced enough damage to really start showing a change. You look in the mirror, and uh-oh, you can no longer ignore it or easily cover it up." Protecting your skin year-round will help prevent you from further accelerating your age.

More from GoodHousekeeping.com

Shape Up for Summer, Fast!

Spice Up the Bedroom

40 Beauty Steals to Try Now

What to try: To start, make sure you always have broad-spectrum protection with an adequate long-wave UVA shield, says Richard Glogau, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. "Those UVA rays give you the wrinkles and the muddy skin tone that ages you," he says. Dr. Glogau recommends UVA filters like Mexoryl and Helioplex, which provide longer-lasting protection. Try Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 90+ ($9.49, drugstores) or Lancôme UV Expert 20 Sunscreen SPF 20 ($35, department stores). Also use a product — like these — with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect against burns. Get even better coverage by including antioxidants like vitamins C and E and pomegranate extract in your protection. "Antioxidants boost the benefits of sunscreen. They help neutralize the damage caused by UV light," says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a dermatologist at Boston University Medical Center. Try C.O. Bigelow All-in-One Protective Day Lotion SPF 25 ($19.50, Bath & Body Works), which contains vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidant-rich berry extracts, and UV protection. Of course, behavior counts, too: Whenever possible, avoid midday rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses (less squinting). If you want some color, try self-tanner. We like Jergens Natural Glow Health Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20 ($9, drugstores). Or go with your own glow. "It will definitely help you look younger," says Dr. Day.

Years younger: 5. Within six months, your sun-protected skin should appear smoother and more even-toned, says Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and coauthor of The Youth Equation. The catch: You have to continue protecting skin daily and avoiding the harsh rays, or you'll redo the damage.

Step 2: Smooth Lines with Retinoids

Why this works: In studies dating back over the past 20 years, they have been shown to help soften the look of fine lines and brown spots by increasing collagen production and normalizing skin-cell activity. "These vitamin A derivatives have a better-established track record than any other wrinkle-reduction creams," says Dr. Glogau. Even the milder, nonprescription-strength retinol may reduce the effects of chronological aging — albeit more gradually. When University of Michigan researchers applied a .4 percent retinol lotion to one of the study participants' upper inner arms as many as three times a week for 24 weeks, skin biopsies revealed that that arm had more of the building blocks that make skin smooth and resilient than the untreated arm.

What to try: The biggest challenge with retinoids is dealing with the potential side effects, such as redness and peeling skin. Your skin will, however, build up a tolerance, usually within six to 12 weeks. Retin-A is still the gold standard in prescription strength, though there are several less-irritating options — costing $100 per tube on average — including Retin-A Micro, Differin, Avage, and Tazorac. Researchers continue to seek ways of making retinoids more tolerable; one theory currently being tested at the University of Michigan is that using an ultra-mild facial cleanser and moisturizer will help calm the irritation. (The study findings are still a few years away.) Dermatologists also suggest you ease into using one: Apply a pea-size amount at night (sun exposure makes retinoids less effective), and try it every second or third night until your skin handles it better. If that's still too irritating, go with an over-the-counter retinol. These formulas are less potent, but are still effective. Try L'Oréal Paris Advanced Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20, drugstores) or DermaDoctor Poetry in Lotion Intensive Retinol 1.0 ($75, Sephora).

Years younger: 6-7. You should start to see an improvement in a matter of weeks with a prescription formula, but don't stop there. "Keep using it," says Dr. Dover, who claims he can always spot a woman on a prescription retinoid because her skin looks "too good" for her age. Over-the-counter retinol converts to the active form, called retinoic acid, at a lower concentration — but the benefits will start to show up after a few months if you stay with it.

View gallery

.
Getty Images

Step 3: Exfoliate Gently and Often

Why this works: At-home peels or even a simple face scrub can make your complexion look much more youthful and radiant and may also boost collagen production, says Leslie Baumann, M.D., director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. "It's one of the best ways to see a quick difference," she says. As you age, skin tends to be drier and dead cells cling to the surface, giving it a rougher texture. When you shed those dead cells with a scrub or peel, it enhances the functioning of your skin: Water-retaining cells come to the surface, and active ingredients in your skin care — like antioxidants and retinoids — penetrate better. "Regular exfoliating is also therapeutic if you have acne-prone skin," says Dr. Glogau. One caveat: People who have sensitive complexions or rosacea should skip this step — or at least exfoliate less often — since those dead cells actually shield skin from irritation.

What to try: The most effective, least expensive options are grainy scrubs that have small, round particles. Try St. Ives Elements Microdermabrasion ($7, drugstores) or SkinEffects Cell2Cell Anti-Aging Exfoliating Cleansing Scrub ($10, CVS). "The particles should be smooth and feel like sugar in your hand," says Dr. Baumann. If they are too big or rough, they can tear skin. At-home chemical exfoliators work more slowly and may cost more, but they too help loosen dead cells. If manual scrubs are too harsh for your skin, choose a chemical wash with glycolic acid, or try a gentler salicylic acid formula (it may also treat acne). Try Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Cleanser ($35, aveda.com). And if you're also using a retinoid, try sloughing skin twice instead of three or four times weekly.

Years younger: 2-3. There are two provisos, say experts. First, you've got to stick with it to keep seeing improvement. You'll get even better results by also doing monthly doctor's-office peels (glycolic acid or microdermabrasion), which remove the upper layer of skin and may stimulate collagen production. Second, you'll benefit the most if you combine this step with one (or more) of the others listed here.

Step 4: Add Moisture

Why this works: By menopause, the majority of women need a daily moisturizer. "It's what gives skin that smooth, radiant look," explains Dr. Glogau. In fact, most skin care that promises to improve the look of wrinkles in just a few weeks is probably doing it by moisturizing.

What to try: Effective hydrators include those, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that draw water into the skin, and others that prevent water from escaping, such as petrolatum and lanolin. Try Dove Deep Moisture Facial Lotion SPF 15 ($7.49, drugstores) with glycerin. Natural moisturizers, like olive, sunflower, and coconut oils, can also hydrate skin; skip them, though, if you're prone to acne. Try: Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer ($21, Whole Foods) with sunflower and grapeseed oils. What won't work: drinking more water. There's little evidence that staying hydrated internally can do anything to reduce wrinkles, though if you're dehydrated, water will definitely give your skin a smoother look.

Years younger: 2-3. Though they have to be reapplied in order to keep up the benefits, moisturizers can help you look a few years younger almost immediately, says Dr. Glogau.

More from GoodHousekeeping.com

Double-Duty Anti-Aging Makeup

Best Anti-Aging Foods

Limited-Time Offer — Save Up to 75% on Good Housekeeping — Subscribe Now

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Dog owner fatally mauled by Staffordshire bull terrier while he was being 'interviewed for BBC documentary'

      A dog owner mauled to death by his Staffordshire bull terrier was allegedly being interviewed by the BBC when the horrific attack took place. The man’s cause of death was recorded as hypovolemic shock and damage to the airway – with the injuries said to be consistent with a dog bite. The dog remains in secure kennels after being seized by police – who have since confirmed that the animal is not prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

      Yahoo News UK
    • Girl Savagely Edits Her Former Friend Out of Picture See the Hilarious Results

      Girl Hilariously Photoshops Friend Out of Picture

      People
    • This is how badly the Spurs want to prevent Steph Curry from shooting a 3

      You think the Spurs are paying attention to Stephen Curry at the three-point line? Let’s slow that down again. They sent THREE players to stop Curry and left Zaza Pachulia all by himself. Welcome to the new NBA. Amazingly, this happens more than you’d think. I spotlighted this video from a Warriors-Thunder game last year. And it makes sense. Allowing a two is better than allowing a three.

      SB Nation q
    • Gordon Ramsay Reveals the 1 Place You Should Never Eat

      Sure, Gordon Ramsay has high standards, but is there really anything he would never eat? Turns out it's more of a place where he would never eat rather than one specific food — and that's on a plane. In an interview with Refinery29, Gordon revealed his feelings about airplane food and why those feelings might be justified. "There's no f*cking way I eat on planes," he said. "I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food's been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board." Yikes. The man has a point — there's no denying that airplane food is not the best. So what's a traveler to do to avoid midflight hunger, according to the world-renowned chef? If you're like

      PopSugar q
    • STYLE: Trend to Try: Modern Trench Coats (12 photos)

      Best Trench Coats for Spring, Cutest New Coat Trends

      People
    • Massive Numbers of People Will Never Eat At Chipotle Again And That Should Terrify Investors

      Here's why Wall Street is too optimistic on Chipotle's stock.

      The Street q
    • 911 Call Released in 'Make My Day' Home Invasion Killings

      A harrowing ordeal played out for 911 dispatchers as a caller revealed he had shot three teens after a home invasion in Oklahoma quickly turned fatal. Police say Zach Peters, a pilot living in his folks' home, grabbed an assault rifle when he heard the trio breaking in. "I’ve been broken into," Peters says in a recently released 911 call. "Three men.

      Inside Edition
    • Michelle Kwan's Husband Files for Divorce

      1 3/29/2017 10:35 AM PDT Michelle Kwan's marriage is on ice, because her husband has just filed for divorce. According to legal docs, Clay Pell cites irreconcilable differences for the breakdown of his marriage to the 36-year-old, 5-time world champion figure skater and 2-time Olympic medalist.   Clay is mum on spousal support but he does want her to foot the bills from his lawyer. The couple married in January 2013. 35-year-old Clay was a White House National Security staffer under President Obama. He also ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Rhode Island. They have no kids so if there's legal beef, it will be over property.

      TMZ q
    • Wal-Mart Has a Unique Way to Cut Down on Shoplifting -- The Motley Fool

      The company has a program that avoids calling the police.

      The Motley Fool q
    • How a Body Positive Blogger Stopped Trolls in Their Tracks With 1 Bikini Pic

      Body positivity blogger Ana Carolina Rojas has nothing to hide, not even the hate she receives from trolls. Rojas was minding her own business, enjoying a beautiful, warm day of sunbathing and sharing it with her followers when a troll attacked.

      Yahoo Style
    • Tim Anderson bought his mom the best gift after record extension with White Sox

      The Chicago White Sox made Tim Anderson a very happy man last week when they finalized a new six-year, $25M extension. Now the White Sox shortstop of the present, and future, is spreading that joy around, beginning with a very expensive and generous gift that he purchased and presented to his mother on Wednesday. According to MLB.com’s Scott Merkins, Anderson mentioned that his decision was in part motivated by providing financial security for his wife and daughter.

      Big League Stew
    • We tested 4 boxed brownie mixes and figured out the only brand worth buying

      The INSIDER Summary: We tested four national brands of boxed brownie mixes. The options were Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, Ghirardelli, and Betty Crocker. Betty Crocker's brownies tasted the best and closest to homemade. Ghirardelli's came in last due to a cakier texture and slightly bland flavor. Baking brownies from scratch is an art form and our previous experiments with recipes proves it. So sometimes a boxed mix will be easiest — but which type should you choose? As part of an ongoing INSIDER taste test series — check out our chocolate cake taste test and pancake mix comparisons — we compared brownie mix brands to see which is worth your money. We bought four different plain fudge brownie mixes:

      Business Insider q
    • Bush: Trump’s ominous inaugural speech ‘was some weird sh-t’

      Former president George W. Bush reportedly said Donald Trump’s inaugural speech was “some weird sh-t.” Bush made the comments after the January inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by Presidents Obama, Carter and Clinton, according to New York Magazine. “That was some weird sh-t,” Bush said before departing the dais, where he infamously struggled to wrangle a poncho in the day’s downpour. Trump delivered an ominous and dire address to the country out the Capital Building on January 20. The 45th President said that America had fallen into “disrepair and decay,” cited “American carnage” and claimed the country’s best days had “disappeared over the horizon.” He promised to grab power from

      New York Post q
    • Body of missing Indonesian man found inside giant python

      Villagers on the island of West Sulawesi had the horrific task of cutting open the giant snake's stomach to retrieve the body. Local media reports suggested that Akbar's boots were clearly visible in the python's stomach.

      International Business Times
    • Investor burned by Bernie Madoff jumps to death from Manhattan hotel

      Charles Murphy's Fairfield Greenwich fund had invested more than $7 billion with Madoff before it became known that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.

      CNBC.com q
    • Guilty German Shepherd can't hide shame

      You be the judge: Is Shadow the German Shepherd guilty or not? The evidence is a bit overwhelming...

      Rumble
    • War Machine hopes Christy Mack will forgive him after conviction on 29 charges

      Jonathan Koppenhaver, who changed his name legally to War Machine, was convicted last week in Las Vegas on 29 counts for the 2014 crimes stemming from the brutal assault of his ex-girlfriend Christy Mack. After starting the post off by quoting a lyric from Johnny Cash’s “Folsom County Blues,” War Machine proceeded to explain how he was at peace with the verdict, his renewed faith in God and his hope that one day Christy Mack will forgive him for his heinous acts.

      Cagewriter
    • When it's finally time to retire but you can't spend your savings

      I'm retired, have a good pension and no debt. I also have about $350,000 in an IRA account that I may never need, but the saver in me won't allow me to spend. Any suggestions? And how should I invest my IRA money to earn a low-risk modest rate of return --Jim Let's start with what I consider the more challenging of the issues you're grappling with: finding a way for you to enjoy some of that IRA money you seem unable to spend. If it's any consolation, you're not the only person who suffers from "spendadphobia." Okay, I confess I made up that term. But the phenomenon is real. Lots of retirees have a hard time making the transition from saving to spending. In a study examining spending in retirement

      CNN Money q