Look in the mirror ten years from now, and the reflection will appear different than it does today. But a variety of factors can shape exactly how that face staring back at you looks in a decade … or two … or three.
Although there certainly is a science to how and why we age, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling common signs of the aging process. Even so, lifestyle, supplement and natural beauty practices really can support healthy aging. According to a study from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, poor habits like too much sun exposure and smoking can significantly accelerate signs of aging. The flip side: Science also proves that positive choices, such as eating a diet rich in antioxidants, getting a boost from key supplements and applying products with research-backed botanicals, will help maintain youthful-looking skin, balanced weight and thick tresses.
By understanding what’s happening in your body and when, you can turn to these tips for a proactive approach to looking and feeling healthy. Another year? Bring it on!
You're in your 20s …
What to know: Although many signs of aging have yet to show up, forming good habits now lays the groundwork for healthier-looking skin, hair and nails in your 30s, 40s and beyond. Even if you don’t notice it on the outside, between the ages of 25 and 30, production of collagen—the main protein that keeps skin looking taut and wrinkle-free—begins to decline at a rate of about 1.5 percent each year.
What to do:
- Clean up your diet. Sugar, alcohol and fried foods contribute to inflammation and attack collagen, leading to breakouts and premature aging. Choose nutrient-dense foods that support collagen production: dark, leafy greens, red fruits and veggies, and vitamin C–rich citrus and berries. Remember, too, that water is an important building block of beautiful skin.
- Moisturize and protect your skin. Sun damage is one of the main causes of premature aging, including wrinkles and discoloration. If you’re going to choose just one antiaging product in your 20s, make it sunscreen. Second on your beauty A-list? A natural day and night cream, because keeping skin hydrated wards off environmental invaders and free radicals. You can get more bang for your buck by selecting a dual-action, UV-protective moisturizer. And remember to go natural: Synthetic chemicals can cause irritation and inflammation that may accelerate aging.
- Think beyond skin care. When it comes to antiaging, the best defense is a good offense. Start with a high-quality collagen supplement and a well-balanced multivitamin; then opt for supplements that support hydration, such as hyaluronic acid and omega-3s.
Try: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. Gently cleanse away dirt and dead skin with walnut shell, while brightening skin and promoting new cell growth with chlorella and age-defying argan stem cells.
You're in your 30s …
What to know: With more responsibility comes more stress—a major beauty villain that can contribute to premature aging. Metabolism also starts to slow in your 30s, which can lead to weight gain even for those who typically have no trouble keeping pounds in check.
What to do:
- Face fine lines head on. You’ll start to notice pesky creases on your face. In addition to maintaining your daily UV-protective and moisturizing regimen from your 20s (we know you’re still going strong!), address problem areas with targeted skin care products and supplements that contain ingredients such as coQ10, resveratrol, vitamin C, plant stem cells and collagen. Shopper’s tip: Favor companies that have clinical studies to support results or that use high concentrations of active ingredients.
- Prioritize sleep and relaxation. Stress is linked to chronic immune dysfunction, increased production of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage—all of which contribute to skin aging. Practice yoga, meditate, stay active and social, and aim for eight hours of shut-eye (if that’s not feasible, tack on an extra half-hour per week or squeeze in 20-minute naps). Without enough Z’s, cortisol (the “stress hormone”) increases and attacks collagen. During sleep, your body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which rebuilds and rejuvenates skin cells.
- Use turmeric. This Ayurvedic spice, which you can also find in supplement form (look for products containing its active antioxidant ingredient curcumin), can protect skin from free radicals and tame inflammation when applied topically and taken orally. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, turmeric not only has anti-inflammation and photo-protective qualities but it can also increase sebum production for overall skin hydration.
Try: Suki Eye Lift Renewal Eye Cream. A patented, high-performance resveratrol joins forces with caffeine (yes, that kind!) to tackle all your peepers’ woes: fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and puffiness.
You're in your 40s …
What to know: Many of the positive lifestyle changes you work so hard to maintain—eating right, sleeping tight, keeping excess weight at bay—can be threatened in the ten years leading up to menopause. That’s because as women enter their 40s, egg quality declines, estrogen diminishes a little and progesterone plummets.
What to do:
- Check the pounds. With hormonal changes can come weight gain. Stay on top of your diet by focusing on whole foods, eating seasonally and being mindful during meals. Avoid restrictive dieting, however, which can cause a yo-yoing effect and may accelerate wrinkles.
- Supplement for sleep. Perimenopausal women may have trouble falling or staying asleep, possibly due to low progesterone, high cortisol demands or a disturbance in melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Additionally, erratic estrogen levels can cause hot flashes, which aren’t conducive to peaceful rest. Melatonin is available in supplement form and can ensure you’re getting enough sleep during hormonal fluctuations.
- You may suddenly start noticing visible skin discoloration from years of sun exposure. Although the damage is done, you don’t have to despair: More and more skin care products provide skin-brightening benefits by using pigment-regulating ingredients such as red algae, kojic acid and vitamin C.
Try: HiQ Facial Serum. This ultrapotent facial serum taps research-backed concentrations of antiaging all-star coQ10 to deliver serious results.
You're 50 or above …
What to know: Wrinkles and sunspots will become more pronounced. Thinning, weakening and graying hair also will be more noticeable as you creep into your 50s.
Loss of collagen and keratin, hormonal changes and an overall moisture nosedive can contribute to hair loss and graying.
What to do:
- Care for your hair. Start by eating more fatty fish, nuts and flaxseed; then get an extra boost through keratin and biotin supplementation to support thicker, healthier hair.
- Befriend plant stem cells. There’s no definite way to undo skin damage, but research from a Swiss biochemistry lab showed that topically applying apple stem cells delayed the aging process by triggering the skin’s ability to regenerate cells and—even more impressive—also reduced existing-wrinkle depth by up to 15 percent. Bonus: Plant stem cells have also been shown to manage thinning hair by repairing aging follicles. You can find these ingredients in lotions, creams, serums shampoos and conditioners.
- Embrace aging. Unless you’re opting for invasive surgeries, you will see the signs of time. But remember: They’re beautiful! Be gentle and nurturing with yourself—and appreciate these external changes for all of the experiences and knowledge they represent.
Try: NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer. Don’t neglect your tresses! When put to the test, this product’s clinically proven keratin improved hair strength, reduced hair loss and increased shine.