Growing older and, yes, looking older isn't a choice; it's simply a reality. But what actually causes visible signs of aging—and, if you know the triggers, can you slow the process?
"When you are young, you have plenty of skin cells growing and regeneratinga ll the time," says New York dermatologist Ariel Ostad, MD. "The problem is that skin cells can only divide a certain number of times." That means that as you age, the regenerative process decelerates. The result: Collagen and elastin, compounds that keep skin looking lump and firm, start to break down; that's when you start to notice wrinkles, sagging, discoloration, and a change in skin texture.
Although there's no perfect formula, "a healthy skin care product regimen, diet, and lifestyle work in unison to minimize the existing signs of aging, while preventing future lines, wrinkles,a nd sagging skin," says Ostad.
Use this list of dos and don'ts as your skin's greatest ally for the long haul.