There may not be a fountain of youth, but the food we eat and how we treat ourselves can prevent or even reverse aging. Your body needs the right nutrients to fight off damage, and your skin is no different. Nutrients help the cells replicate and have more energy. Processed foods, stress, toxins and low-nutrient diets will accelerate aging. Protecting yourself from harmful chemicals while getting enough sleep, relaxation and exercise will all help you maintain a healthy glow.
Great skin year after year
Your skin can reveal the stories of your life, from the fabled glow of pregnancy to the less-welcome spots that surface from sun damage. You hear a lot about how to protect your skin from the sun’s rays, but there are many other simple health moves that can keep your exterior in fabulous shape, decade after decade.
1. Drink plenty of water.
Even with a small amount of dehydration, your body functions in a less optimal way. The instant you’re dehydrated, it will take a toll on your skin, causing it to look dull, flaky, saggy and loose.
2. Eat foods with antioxidants.
Antioxidantsare the best resources your body has to fight disease and aging by reducing damage and inflammation. Inflammation is a leading cause of wrinkle formation. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include:
Dark chocolate (70% or higher of cocoa content)
Organic green tea
3. Have a rainbow-colored plate of food.
Free radicals form in our bodies and cause major damage to our cell structures. The different nutrient-rich foods we eat neutralize them. You need to consume the widest variety of antioxidants you can to fight off the different kinds of free radicals. Think about what colors you’ve missed throughout the day, and try to incorporate them into your next meal.
4. Eat organic foods.
This curtails consumption of aging toxins.
5. Limit your sun exposure.
Small amounts of daily sun produce vitamin D and are beneficial, but too much sun will damage your skin. Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses, and use zinc or titanium dioxide sunscreen. We know, we know—you’ve heard it a million times, but wearing sunscreen is the single easiest way to prolong healthy, glowing skin and look younger for life. “Ninety percent of wrinkles are from sun exposure,” says Day. “It’s so much easier to prevent the damage than it is to fix it afterwards.” That means no slacking during winter months either, when rays are just as strong and can reflect off of buildings and sidewalks. Look for a formula that offers broad-spectrum protection to guard against UVA rays (the ones that cause premature aging) and UVB rays (one of the main causes of skin cancer).
Beauty sleep is real: Unless you have a team of makeup artists waiting in your bathroom every morning, it’s hard to look gorgeous and youthful when you’re skimping on Zzs. If you’ve ever woken up with dark circles under your eyes, you already know what research has shown—that a lack of sleep can contribute to periorbital hyperpigmentation, a.k.a. “raccoon eyes.” And a 2010 study from researchers in Sweden showed that a group of participants were rated as more attractive after eight hours of shut-eye compared to when they were sleep deprived.
A study found that 72% of women never wash their brushes or sponges, even though they collect dirt and bacteria which can cause breakouts – not what you want when you’re trying to get better skin. “You should wash loose powder brushes every two to three weeks, and those used to apply foundation once a week,” says Jessica Wu, an LA-based dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face. Mix a couple of drops of gentle facial cleanser or shampoo and lukewarm water in a cup, swish your brushes around, rinse with lukewarm water, pat dry, and lay flat to air dry.
According to a Stanford University study, that iPhone you can’t keep your hands off of can get more germ-infested than a toilet in a public toilet. In fact, the glass touchscreens on mobile devices are so good at spreading viruses that sharing them may be almost as bad as sneezing in someone’s face. Here’s a scary thought: All those germs land right on your cheek and jawline every time you chat away, causing spots and irritation. To keep your phone (and face) bacteria-free, wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes a few times a day for healthy skin.