How to get younger skin at any age

Real Simple

Dermatologists offer advice on how to keep skin beautiful, smooth and healthy.

Photo: Robyn Lehr

Growing old gracefully isn't a lost art―it's just a forgotten one. For all those women who think the scalpel or the syringe is the only way to stay "young," here's a news flash: "About 80 percent of aging is caused by environmental factors, things you have control over," says Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist and the director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Center, in Florida.

Real Simple went to eight female dermatologists to find out their own at-home anti-aging routines. They all offer a sensible approach: Protect your skin, use the right skin-care ingredients, and get on with your life.

More from
Real Simple:

10 Makeup Mistakes That Can Age You

Keep Your Mind and Body in Top Condition

Affordable, Effective Skin-Care Routines

Twelve Ways to Delay Aging

To help minimize damage and wrinkles, stay out of the sun and follow these tips:

• Wear sunscreen every day.
You've heard it before: Sun exposure is the number one cause of premature aging. Ultraviolet light from the sun―or a tanning bed―breaks down collagen and elastin, the substances that keep skin smooth and firm.

Apply sunscreen liberally. A too-thin layer of SPF (sun protection factor) 15 is equal to only about SPF 7. Use a shot glass-size amount to cover your body and a teaspoonful to cover your face.

Don't forget your legs. "We find more cases of malignant melanomas on women's legs than on their faces," says Heidi Waldorf, director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York City.

Don't rely on SPF-enhanced makeup. Chances are you don't wear enough of it to defend your skin.

Choose sunglasses with UV protection. Good sunglasses help prevent cataracts, and they also keep you from squinting, which can, over time, break down the collagen around your eyes and cause crow's-feet.

Avoid smoky situations. If you smoke, quit. And nonsmokers should be aware that chronic exposure to secondhand smoke can damage skin. According to Karyn Grossman, a Santa Monica-based dermatologist, smoke, like the sun, bombards you with free radicals that make skin sallow, break down its collagen, and slow its ability to heal. To fend off damage, Grossman suggests products containing antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals. Her favorite antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea. "The studies back up their efficacy the most," she says.

Be conscious of repetitive movements. Between smiling, frowning, and talking, your face makes thousands of movements a day. Over time, these repetitive motions lead to deeper lines. It would be unrealistic (not to mention Stepford-like) to stop showing your emotions, but some habits can be curbed. "We're not saying, 'Don't live; don't move,'" says Debra Jaliman, a New York City dermatologist. "But if you're constantly drinking through a straw, chewing gum, or smoking, you're breaking down the collagen around your mouth. And the wrinkles will come earlier."

Stop picking! It's hard to resist the urge to do a little at-home surgery on a pimple, but the mark it might leave is the most persuasive reason not to. "As you age, acne scars often end up looking more like wrinkles," says Grossman. "If you have a pimple on your cheek near where a wrinkle forms, it will make the wrinkle deeper."

Cleanse with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). They help remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal a fresh layer underneath. "Alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid) unclog pores and help your skin look smoother," says Alyson C. Penstein, a dermatologist in New York City. Note: If you have oily or acne-prone skin, try a cleanser with a beta hydroxy acid (BHA).

Use an anti-aging cream at night. New anti-aging creams arrive on cosmetics counters all the time―with bigger claims and heftier price tags. But good old retinoids, which contain a vitamin A derivative, are still the gold standard. "Many studies support retinoids, and they have withstood the test of time," says Marianne O'Donoghue, an associate professor of dermatology at the Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. Retinoids encourage the skin to renew itself, smoothing fine lines and helping to repair sun damage. They are found in prescription creams, such as Renova and Retin-A, and in lower concentrations in over-the-counter retinol creams. Note: Retinoids can be irritating at first, so apply sparingly. They also leave skin vulnerable to sunburn. If your skin is extra-sensitive, try a milder cream containing kinetin, an ingredient found in plants that has been shown to smooth lines.

Try a weekly exfoliation treatment. Most professional antiaging treatments―including chemical peels and microdermabrasion―shed skin to clear up uneven pigmentation and encourage collagen growth. Now there are effective treatments that are gentle enough to use at home. Robin Ashinoff, director of cosmetic dermatology at the Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey, suggests using a chemical exfoliator. There are also polishing creams that aim to achieve results similar to those of professional microdermabrasion, which manually sloughs off skin with superfine particles. Over time, your skin should respond by thickening slightly. "Thickening is good," explains Mary Ellen Brademas, a New York City dermatologist. "Thicker skin shows fewer wrinkles."

Remember the rest of your body. "Everything you do for your face, you should also do for your neck, chest, and hands," says Baumann. "Those are the primary spots that show aging." At the very least, moisturize: Hydrated skin looks plumper and smoother.

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

    • Foreclosed mall once valued at $190M is auctioned for $100

      TARENTUM, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania mall that was foreclosed on after its owners failed to repay $143 million has been auctioned off for $100.

      Associated Press
    • One by one, 3 utility workers descended into a manhole. One by one, they died.

      When a utility worker in Key Largo, Fla., noticed that a section of a paved street was not settling properly, he decided to remove a manhole cover and descend into the earth. Moments later on Monday morning, the 15-foot-deep hole went silent. Sensing the man was trapped, a fellow utility worker climbed into the drainage hole to rescue him. When he, too, stopped responding, a third worker entered the same hole. All three men died, overcome by poisonous fumes underground, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. A Key Largo firefighter who made a desperate attempt to save the men also became unconscious within seconds. The firefighter, Leonardo Moreno, an eight-year veteran of the

      Washington Post q
    • Ex-president George H.W. Bush moved to intensive care; wife hospitalized

      Bush, who at 92 is the nation's oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, family spokesman Jim McGrath said on Wednesday. Since then, Bush experienced an "acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia" and was sedated for the unspecified procedure, his office said.

      Reuters
    • ‘Monster Mom’ Sentenced to 43 Years in Prison for Killing Her 11-Year-Old Daughter

      On Tuesday, an Illinois judge dubbed a 35-year-old woman a “monster mom” before sentencing her to 43 years in prison for the 2014 murder of her 11-year-old daughter, PEOPLE confirms. Addressing the courtroom, 19th Circuit Court Judge James Booras questioned how anyone could treat their child the way Nicholette Lawrence did. “Who would lock a child up in a closet furnished only with a sink and feed the child only a bowl of cereal a day?” Booras asked aloud, according to a court transcript obtained by PEOPLE.

      People
    • Fox News' Tucker Carlson perfectly exposed a guest trying to spread a hoax on air

      Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his interview Tuesday night with an unusual demand: "Tell me what your real name is." While the man Carlson was talking to claimed to be Dom Tullipso, director of operations for a business called Demand Protest, Carlson said a "law enforcement-level background check" revealed that name "does not exist" — and Carlson wasn't convinced Tullipso's business did either. The man never exactly admitted that the whole business is, in fact, a hoax, but he does give a pretty good display of what Carlson dubs "performance art." At one point, Tullipso (if that's really his name) claims his support for "national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning." Yes, football-playing, Super Bowl-winning Peyton Manning.

      The Week q
    • Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi

      Haven't shopped at an Aldi supermarket yet? After steadily expanding its footprint in the eastern part of the country over the past 40 years - the first U.S. store opened in Iowa in 1976 - Aldi is now adding locations in Southern California. There are few shelves, few employees and none of the amenities you've come to expect from the likes of Wegmans or Whole Foods.

      Kiplinger
    • Forever stamps will cost more starting Sunday

      It might be called a "Forever" stamp, but not when it comes to the price of buying one. The cost of mailing a one-ounce first-class letter will return to being 49 cents, up from 47 cents, where it had been since April. The last increase came in January 2014, according to the U.S. Postal Service, when it went from 47 cents to 49 cents. Then last April, the Postal Regulatory Commission ordered the USPS to drop its prices for the first time in 97 years. Postmaster General Megan Brennan protested, saying, "given our precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs, the price reduction required by the PRC exacerbates our losses." So now the price is going to back up again. Postcards, letters

      USA Today q
    • Giant Alligator Draws Crowds of Visitors to Florida Nature Reserve, Raises Concerns About Safety

      Crowds of visitors have been flocking to Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland, Florida, in the hopes of spotting "Humpback," a massive alligator that made international headlines earlier this week after a video of him went viral. Though officials for the county's natural resources division said they appreciate the newfound attention on the nature reserve, they are also concerned about the safety of visitors and wildlife.

      Good Morning America
    • Shopping mall sells for just $100

      The retail industry’s struggles just hit a new low. One of the largest malls in...

      Business Insider
    • TheStreet.com q
    • Bella WARNED The Weeknd About Selena- Louis Tomlinson ALMOST Quit Music (DHR)

      Did Bella warn The Weeknd about Selena? Was Louis going to quit music? All this & more on today’s DHR.

      Clevver News
    • The internet roasts a photo of Donald Trump writing his inauguration speech

      When times get tough, at least you can still meme. President-elect Donald Trump is slated to deliver his inauguration address on Friday, so he teased his Twitter followers with a little behind-the-scenes photo of himself writing a speech at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. SEE ALSO: Don's Johns: Port-a-potties get censored for Trump’s inauguration Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago. Looking forward to Friday. #Inauguration pic.twitter.com/S701FdTCQu — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017 The staged photo and Trump's cold, dead gaze sent the internet straight into "meme mode alpha," where it was pointed out that Trump was actually holding Sharpie marker, which may or may not actually be closed. @realDonaldTrump that is a blank piece of paper and you're holding a closed sharpie pic.twitter.com/ekCcH8eTXe — Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) January 18, 2017 @cajunmonkey439 @realDonaldTrump It is *obviously* a sharpie. pic.twitter.com/gdD2AUhBKX — Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) January 18, 2017 .@realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/8CSroNshBR — XpeK (@peKofX) January 18, 2017 Surprised that you didn't just use this photo as your epic, bigly speech pic.twitter.com/SezwzToFg4 — Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) January 18, 2017 good job @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/Ioj869Tfy3 — uhhh (@_uhhhhhhh) January 18, 2017 pic.twitter.com/pAKcXAEAkD — Sam Grittner (@SamGrittner) January 18, 2017 @realDonaldTrump #NotMyPresident #TheResistance #conflict #Putin #Inauguration In house security cam Mar a Lago pic.twitter.com/diwnpjAS3F — Beo Bachter (@kaysintBB) January 18, 2017 Early draft of Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. #TrumpSpeech #MyFirstWordsAsPresident #MAGA pic.twitter.com/qgo1glv5cG — Tom ❄️ (@TommieWho) January 18, 2017 Exclusive sneak peek at Trump's inauguration speech! pic.twitter.com/6W6ex0Ks3z — Kara Calavera (@KaraCalavera) January 18, 2017 Exclusive: #Trump's Inauguration speech leaked! #TrumpInaugural #trumpgrammar pic.twitter.com/XzrXXpnjxD — Gerry Stergiopoulos (@GerryGreek) January 18, 2017 Trump's speech draft. #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/gZ0Lp8dsjC — Thinker (@SmellTheTea) January 18, 2017 According to CNN, Trump did write his inauguration speech himself. BONUS: NBD, just a massive alligator out for a stroll

      Mashable
    • American Airlines Unveils a Cheaper Ticket with a Big Catch: Here’s What You Need to Know

      American Airlines is offering you a cheaper ticket, but it’ll cost you. The airline announced today that it is introducing a Basic Economy fare in ten markets starting in February that will be similar to the one that United Airlines recently unveiled. While this lower price ticket offers the same in-flight services, there’s one benefit that’s notably missing: access to the overhead bin.

      People
    • Kate Gosselin's Strict Demands: Pats Down Her Kids After They Visit Jon Gosselin (EXCLUSIVE)

      In the new issue of In Touch, sources reveal shocking new claims about how Kate Gosselin treats her eight kids. While the kids seem to be living it up during their TLC show Kate Plus 8, when the cameras aren’t rolling the fun stops. From constant surveillance and endless chores to regular pat-downs and strict edicts about what they can and can’t wear while visiting their dad, Jon Gosselin, the Gosselin children, claims an insider, “are prisoners in their own home.” (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Kate is especially unyielding when it comes to the kids visiting their father. “Kate says no clothing or belongings can be brought from her house to Jon’s house, so the kids arrive for visitation [at Jon’s]

      In Touch Weekly q
    • Philip Rivers Doubles Down on Move to Los Angeles

      When the announcement was made that the Los Angeles Chargers would become a reality, focus shifted immediately toward Philip Rivers, the franchise quarterback of 13 seasons. Faced with a similar situation prior to last season Rivers addressed his unwillingness to join in a franchise relocating outside of San Diego. Rivers addressed his displeasure toward a move […] The post Philip Rivers Doubles Down on Move to Los Angeles appeared first on Cover32.

      Cover32
    • 20 Beautiful Living Rooms You Need To See (21 photos)

      Get one-of-a-kind inspiration from these fashionable rooms around the world. From Veranda

      Veranda
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Teacher Pregnant by Student Gets 10 Years in Jail

      Alexandria Vera, 24, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was hoping to avoid prison and just get probation.

      Cosmopolitan
    • Teen abducted as newborn still loves only mom she's known

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An 18-year-old woman abducted as a newborn from a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, says she still loves the only mother she has known.

      Associated Press
    • How Long-Simmering Tensions Between Aaron Rodgers and His Brother Jordan Ended in a ‘Blow-Up’ Fight and a Family Torn Apart

      Like many brothers, Aaron and Jordan Rodgers have had a lifelong rivalry. “ have always been competitive, and they’re always trying to one-up each other,” says a source close to the Green Bay Packers quarterback. While competing on JoJo Fletcher‘s season of The Bachelorette, Jordan, 28, revealed that Aaron, 33, is estranged from the family.

      People