10 Surefire Ways to Reduce Wrinkles
Lines and furrows are to some extent inevitable as time goes by. That's because Boomer skin is thinner, less elastic, and not as good at retaining moisture as it once was. The good news, though, is that you can do plenty of damage control in order to minimize the telltale wrinkles that give away your age – or worse, make you look older than you really are!
Here are ten proven tips for achieving a noticeably smoother, more youthful appearance.
Slather On The Sunscreen The official name for sun damage to your skin is "photoaging." Nothing etches your face -- and any exposed areas of your body -- more deeply and certainly that those devilish UV rays you soak up. If you grew up as an adherent of the baby-oil-and-bake school of tanning, you've no doubt already got the creases to prove it. But take heart! Your skin continually renews and repairs itself throughout your lifetime. Old cells slough off and fresh, unfried ones come to the surface. They may not be quite as resilient as the ones you had in your youth, but they'll definitely respond well to preventive and protective measures.
Chief among those strategies is using sunscreen religiously, even when skies are overcast. Clouds are no barrier to the sun's power. Don't forget to reapply your sunscreen after a sweaty workout or a swim. Go for at least 30 SPF, and higher if you're very fair skinned. Yes, you need some sun in order to make your own Vitamin D, but you get plenty in just 5 to 15 minutes a day about 3 times a week. The rest of the time, sunscreen is your friend!
Sport Stylish Sunglasses Jackie O knew what she was doing when she famously (and pretty much constantly) wore those big, round, shades! The skin around the eyes is the most delicate of all. Not even sunscreen does enough to ward off crow's feet and undereye wrinkles. Bonus: Sunglasses also protect the eyes themselves, and that's especially important if yours are blue or green.
Ray-Ban has paid homage to the former First Lady with two lines of sunglasses: "Jackie O" and "Jackie Ohhh II." Get them in a variety of colors at about $139 a pair. Or if that's too steep for your budget, opt for affordable knock-offs such as Edge I-Wear styles starting as low as $4.99. Just be sure the lenses are labeled 100% UV absorbing.
A final note: If you wear prescription glasses, get a pair of prescription sunglasses or buy clip-ons to fit over your regular pair.
Wear A Wide-Brimmed Hat Dermatologists recommend choosing a hat with a 10" brim for the greatest amount of protection. Even a 4" brim will do a lot of good, though, especially if you're already following our advice about sunscreen and sunglasses.
Also, don't think of hats as being just for beachwear or gardening. Britain's royals wear them for formal occasions as well as simply when they're out and about. Easter bonnets inspired a line in Irving Berlin's lyrics for "Easter Parade" and the Kentucky Derby wouldn't be the same without the ladies' sometimes outlandish, always charming hats. So amass a year-round collection including packable versions and those with built-in UV protection such as the styles offered by Coolibar and PhysicainEndosed.com.
Kick The Nicotine Habit What happens when smoke literally gets in your eyes? You squint and crinkle up your nose. And that, when done repeatedly, creates wrinkles. As for what happens to your health in general, you already know how risky those drags on your favorite cigarettes are. President Barack Obama is in one of the most high-pressure jobs on the planet, yet he managed to quit. You can, too! If going cold turkey doesn't work for you, why not join a cessation support group or try OTC products to help you become smoke-free?
Also, ask you doctor about one of the newer therapies, nicotine sampling. Preliminary reports show that for people who truly want to kick the habit, this method can be a big help.
Go Easy On The Moisturizer Bet you didn't see that one coming! All these years, you've been told that lots of moisturizer – morning, noon, and night – is good for your skin. Not so, according to one of ThirdAge's favorite experts, Beverly Hills dermatologist Zein Obaji, M.D. He maintains that overdoing the creams and lotions "puts your skin to sleep" and convinces it not to do whatever it can on its own to generate moisture.
That said, you do need to help your skin out to some extent, especially as the years pass. Find a happy medium by using a modest amounts of your favorite products rather than gobs and gobs. Also, there's no need to spring for wildly expensive potions and lotions. Those with Retin-A may be effective, but old standbys such as Pond's and Nivea are very good as well.
Get Your Daily Dose of Omega3s Fish such as salmon, smelt, shad, scallops, and sardines are sources of abundant Omega3 fatty acids that can help your skin stay well-nourished and as youthful as possible. Plan to include these nutritional powerhouses, which also really do qualify as "brain food," in your diet several times a week.
Other sources of Omega3s include flax seeds, walnuts, cloves, mustard seeds, and soybeans.
Also, consider taking fish oil supplements. Two or three tablets a day can boost your skin's staying power
Eat Plenty Of Fruits And Veggies You've heard the virtues of fruits and veggies extolled many times, probably starting with your mother's admonition to "eat your vegetables." Still, a little reminder can't hurt. These plant foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. That's a pretty impressive list and your skin will take on a definite glow if you up our intake of everything from apples, blueberries, and bananas to broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
Eaten raw, fruits and vegetables are very good for you but cooking actually breaks down and releases nutrients. A final note: Don't fall into the trap of smothering your veggies in high-calorie sauces or baking your fruit into sugary treats. You can indulge every now and then, such as during the holidays or on your birthday, but most of the time you're better off developing a taste for the plain and simple.
Enjoy Some Chocolate We'd love to tell you that popping bon bons will have an anti-aging effect on your skin. But the truth is that you'd have to eat so many Godiva goodies to get the benefit of the cacao that you'd surely end up gaining weight and skipping other important food groups.
Still, cocoa really is good for you and for your skin. The solution is to nibble an ounce or two of dark chocolate on occasion and possibly take cocoa supplements as well. The jury is out on their benefit, but many experts say they do work.
Don't Be Heavy-Handed With Makeup Caking on foundation and using too much eye shadow will do more to emphasize wrinkles than conceal them. However, creamy foundations – especially those with SPF15 or higher – can camouflage flaws while adding moisture and sun protection.
Finish your look with pale, pretty shades for eyes and cheeks plus a flick of mascara -- and as a final fillip, go for bright red lipstick. It's high style this season and it will draw attention away from your skin and to your winning smile!
Have A Little Something Done If you've taken the best possible care of your skin (and yourself) but you still aren't satisfied with the results, you may decide to discuss options with your dermatologist. Botox has been a top choice for a long time now, and the newer injectable fillers are big favorites as well. The procedures are not cheap, but the effects last for a long time and you won't be out of the action during a lengthy recovery period.
Beyond that, of course, you might eventually want to have at least an eye tuck or a neck lift if not a total facelift. Vanity alone may not be your driving force. Recent studies have shown that our society still values a woman's looks when it comes to judging her performance at work. Celebrities whose faces are their fortunes have long resorted to plastic surgery to keep them in the game. You may feel that even in a less visible profession, cosmetic surgery is job insurance. Or maybe you simply want to be the most dewy-skinned of grandmothers! Whatever your reason, we don't have to tell you to do your research and choose the most reputable board-certified surgeon you can find.