As the years pass, it’s natural to want to defy the aging process and to discover how not to look older than you are. Some turn to the promise of the surgical blade, injections, hyped elixers, a slew of natural supplements, or some combination thereof. The truth, however, it that most of us have habits that contribute to premature aging, and changing those habits can make a significant impact on how old we look.
What are some men willing to do to help prevent premature aging?
Perhaps you are already among the men who received any of the more than 160,000 botulinum toxin (Botox) procedures in 2017. That same year, more than 31,000 skin rejuvenations procedures were performed in men and another nearly 120,000 surgical procedures were done to tuck, nip, suck, or otherwise make cosmetic improvements.
You can avoid these expensive, risky procedures and make sensible, everyday changes in habits that can help prevent premature aging. An added bonus: these suggestions are great for your overall health as well!
How not to look older than you are
Limit alcohol intake. Yes, there are many reasons to curtail your intake of beer, wine, and liquor, and not wanting to look older is among them. Imbibing can reduce antioxidant levels in your skin, contribute to dehydration, and make you look older. Excessive drinking also increases your risk for health problems associated with aging, such as heart disease, some cancers, and liver disease. You can still have a few drinks, however: two per day is the recommended limit.
Drink more water. If you dehydrate your body, your skin suffers by becoming dry, wrinkled, and less elastic. The amount of water needed to maintain healthy hydration depends on the individual, but a general rule is to consume half your weight in ounces daily. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, that equals 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups.
Wear sunscreen. One of the main culprits in aging is the free-radical. These molecules damage all types of cells, including skin cells, and are a major contributor to the development of wrinkles, liver spots, sagging skin, and skin cancer. Invest in and use a natural sunscreen with an SPF of 30. This is the factor that can help protect against ultraviolet light exposure, which causes free radical damage to elastin and collagen, which are proteins responsible for strong, resilient skin.
Get 8 hours of sleep. Sufficient sleep is necessary for so many health-related issues, and premature aging is one of them. Your skin cells spring into repair mode when you sleep, so when you don’t get enough shut-eye, repairs shut down. Another tactic is to apply moisturizer over your entire body before you go to sleep to help prevent dehydration, which promotes aging.
Eat more produce. The vast majority of Americans fail to eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. Since these foods are a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support and promote skin health. Nutrients in fruits and vegetables considered to be the best for skin health include vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral zinc. Include lots of dark leafy greens, oranges, cantaloupe, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, red peppers, strawberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, peaches, and olives in your diet.
Skip sugar. Consuming too much added sugar can result in glycation, a process that can make collagen inflexible and damage elastin, which in turn can increase sagging skin and the development of premature lines and wrinkles. High sugar consumption also can be associated with diabetes, a chronic condition that accelerates aging.
Don’t smoke. Smoking damages your body inside and out. Inside, it constricts your blood vessels, which limits blood flow and thus delivery of essential oxygen and nutrients to your skin and other body tissues. One result it wrinkling of the face and other parts of the body. Tobacco contains substances that damage elastin and collagen as well as contribute to tooth loss.
Manage stress. Research has shown that chronic stress causes the telomeres (ends of your chromosomes) to shorten. This action has been associated with aging. Long-term stress makes telomeres to become shorter prematurely, which causes your body to age more quickly. Therefore, it’s highly recommended you practice stress reduction techniques daily, such as deep breathing, meditation, enjoyable physical activity (e.g., dancing, yoga, tai chi, or any activity you find pleasure in), visualization, or progressive relaxation techniques. Practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime also can help with any sleep issues you may have.
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2017 Gender Distribution for Cosmetic Procedures, Nonsurgical. Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics, 2017.