Crow’s feet, laugh lines, age spots and a blotchy, uneven skin tone”if you’re under 40, these are probably the last things on your mind. After all, you’re way too young to even start thinking about wrinkles, right? Wrong. You may not have to stock up on pricey anti-aging creams just yet, but experts agree that looking old has a lot less to do with your birthday and a lot more to do with how well you treat your skin. So unless you’re okay with looking like a vintage handbag, you’d better start taking care of yourself now. Here are some simple tips to help keep that youthful glow going well past its expiration date:
Make sunscreen a daily thing
We can’t stress this enough: when it comes to preventing premature aging (and not to mention, skin cancer), that big burning ball of gas in the sky is without a doubt your biggest enemy. Applying sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection (that blocks both UVA and UVB rays) daily is the absolute best defense you have against the skin-scorching sun. No matter the weather, never skip this step and make applying it as common practice as brushing your teeth. Cover any exposed skin, especially your face, neck and hands and make sure the SPF is at least 15. For your face, try: Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, $10.99
Drop unhealthy habits
Too many late nights spent sipping on martinis and inhaling nicotine can have you looking haggard fast (just look to Hollywood for the evidence). So cut back on the alcohol and say goodbye to bad habits like smoking if you want to stay looking fresh (and your age).
Get your beauty rest
Getting enough sleep is crucial when it comes to looking your best. The reason? While you snooze, your skin is busy at work repairing itself. So, in short, sleep deprivation = unhealthy skin, and unhealthy skin is far more prone to the signs of aging than well-rested, happy skin. So do your face a favour and get to bed at a reasonable time.
Invest in a good eye cream or gel
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your entire body, so it’s no surprise that it’s also the first place you’ll start seeing wrinkles. To cut down on any future crow’s feet, keep the delicate area well moisturized and protected with an eye cream or gel like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $11.99
Put your moisturizer to work
By using a facial moisturizer or serum armed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, you can limit the damage caused by the sun, pollution and everyday stress. Ingredients like green tea, vitamins E & C, niacinamide and alpha lipoic acid help shield skin against both environmental and life-related stressors. Try: Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer, $45
Don’t neglect your diet
Lastly, when trying to stop time in its tracks, you should also pay attention to what you put into your body. It’s not just about your waistline; diet choices can also show in your face. To keep your complexion vibrant and strong, load up on healthy foods like fresh fruits, fish and hearty grains and limit sugary, high fat, over processed snacks, which can leave skin dull and tired-looking.