Aging is a fact of life, but signs of it don’t have to be. All it takes is a quality skincare routine and a little perseverance to keep your skin looking young, no matter how old you are.
Understanding and caring for your skin can stave off wrinkles, sagging, thinning, discoloration and other signs of aging.
And you don’t have to do it alone! With these 13 dermatologist-approved anti-aging tips, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive skincare regimen that will keep your skin healthy and bright for many years to come.
The 13 Best Dermatologist-Approved Anti-Aging Tips
1. Hydrate Your Skin from the Inside and the Outside
When you’re dehydrated, your body, mind and skin all suffer. Without water, your skin cells can’t operate properly, so they’re unable to heal from damage and cope with stress.
And if your skin is dehydrated, a regular moisturizer won’t help. Moisturizers prevent water from evaporating out of your skin, but they don’t replenish your skin’s water reserves.
If your skin is parched, soothe it with a hydrating product that contains hyaluronic acid, aloe or alpha hydroxy acids (like lactic or citric acid).
But don’t neglect the rest of your body either — chances are if your skin is dehydrated, the rest of you is, too. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and eat plenty of water-rich foods like fresh fruits and veggies.
2. Switch to a Gentle Facial Cleanser
Even if you don’t think you have sensitive skin, dermatologists agree that using a gentle facial cleanser can make a huge difference in your skin’s youthfulness.
Typical cleansers contain harsh ingredients that throw off your skin’s pH and strip it of its natural oils. Many also contain chemicals that can interact with your other products and cause unpleasant reactions.
Gentle cleansers, on the other hand, cleanse your skin while providing hydration to reduce irritation and damage. Some even contain prebiotics to innoculate your skin with beneficial bacteria that keep it balanced and healthy.
3. Incorporate Retinoids into Your Skincare Routine
Retinoids are the foundation of anti-aging skincare and for good reason. They’re proven to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, boost collagen production, treat acne, even out discoloration, and renew skin cells.
You’ll see retinoids on ingredients lists under several different names: retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl lineolate and retinoic acid. All of these retinoids are derived from vitamin A and all of them work wonders on aging skin.
Weaker retinoids, like retinol, are available over-the-counter in many different products, including serums, creams and gels. Stronger ones, like retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin) are prescription-only, so you’ll need to see a dermatologist to get them.
4. Take Sun Protection More Seriously
We all know that it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen every day, but few people actually follow through with it.
If you need some motivation, consider this: sun damage is one of the leading causes of aging. It’s responsible for wrinkles, fine lines and loss of elasticity, not to mention skin cancer.
Sun protection is an absolute necessity if you want to combat aging. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (30 for lighter skin), apply it every morning and reapply it every 2 hours throughout the day, even if you’re not spending much time outside.
5. Pamper Your Skin with a Silk Pillowcase
Believe it or not, your pillowcase may be accelerating the process of aging.
Cotton pillowcases absorb a lot of moisture, which can dry your skin out overnight. And the next time your face hits the pillow, it’ll come into contact with all of that previously-absorbed moisture and grease.
Additionally, cotton pillowcases cause friction, which stretches your skin and causes wrinkles in the long run.
Many dermatologists recommend switching to silk pillowcases instead. Not only do they feel luxurious, they’re also less absorbent than cotton, and they’re so smooth that you’ll experience barely any friction during your beauty rest.
6. Stop Touching Your Face
It’s easier said than done, but if you want to keep your skin smooth and firm, keep your hands off your face.
Your hands pick up a lot of dirt, debris, grime and bacteria throughout the day, and when you touch your face, all of that nastiness gets left behind on it. Additionally, your skin stretches when you pull, prod or tug at your face.
The result: irritation, inflammation, infection and dull, loose, exhausted skin.
So do your best not to touch your face unless your hands are clean — and even then, keep it to a minimum.
7. Start Using a Richer Face Cream
No, we don’t mean more expensive. A rich face cream contains more hydrating and moisturizing ingredients than a regular face cream, which is a huge boon if you’re trying to combat aging.
As skin ages, it loses its moisture retention abilities, becoming dry and dehydrated much easier. This accelerates damage, creating a cycle of aging that’s hard to break out of.
But a thick, rich face cream can help immensely. Look for ingredients like glycerin or shea butter that boost hydration and shield your skin from the elements.
8. Opt for Skincare Products that Contain Vitamins
You don’t need to wander down the supplement aisle to get the vitamins your skin needs. Many products now contain vitamins that nourish your skin and strengthen your cells.
Vitamin C, for instance, is essential for collagen production and is now found in many different creams and serums. If your skin is dry, products containing vitamin E help to balance out your natural lack of sebum.
And vitamin K plays a big role in your skin’s ability to heal itself, so much so that it’s often prescribed as an ointment to treat post-surgery bruising and swelling. But you can easily find it in the skincare aisle as a cream or gel.
9. Soothe Your Skin with LED Light
It sounds far-fetched, but certain colors of LED light have been shown to have incredible benefits for the skin. In fact, LED light therapy is so safe and effective that dermatologists worldwide now recommend it for everything from acne to aging.
LED light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to penetrate your skin, stimulate your cells and boost the production of compounds like collagen and elastin. It can smooth wrinkles, correct discoloration, heal acne and restore elasticity — and all you have to do is let the light shine on your face.
You can get LED light therapy from a professional or do it yourself at home with a special device. Either way, the treatment is simple and painless and the benefits are astounding.
10. Nourish Yourself with a Healthy Diet
Your skin gets its energy from the foods you eat, so if you have a poor diet, you’ll have poor skin, too.
Fatty, greasy, low-vitamin foods simply don’t deliver the necessary nutrients to your skin. If your diet is heavy in these foods, you likely suffer from breakouts, discoloration, dark circles and inflammation.
On the other hand, if you eat lots of fresh produce, lean proteins and whole grains, you’re providing your skin with a well-rounded supply of vitamins, minerals and energy. Your skin will be able to heal itself from damage and keep producing new skin cells.
11. Control Your Bad Habits and Vices
We all have our bad habits, but some are worse for your skin than others.
Smoking and drinking are two of the biggest culprits of aging skin, causing dryness, wrinkles, dullness and sagging. If you don’t get these habits under control, the toxins they produce will build up in your skin, and once they’re there, it takes a lot to get rid of them.
That’s why dermatologists (and doctors in general) recommend cutting back on cigarettes and alcohol — or, better yet, quitting altogether.
12. Don’t Fall for Phony Diet and Supplement Claims
Every diet and supplement out there claims to be a miracle cure for all sorts of afflictions, including aging skin. But how much of this is true and how much is just marketing?
The answer: diets and supplements are almost never as effective as they claim to be.
Many of these are nothing more than snake oil, bolstered by unscientific claims and designed first and foremost to make a profit. And while you may see skin improvements after starting them, chances are they’re due to vitamins or minerals that are much easier (and cheaper) to obtain elsewhere.
You’re much better off ignoring the fad diets and sketchy supplements. Instead, try following healthy eating guidelines and taking a physician-approved multivitamin — your skin and your wallet will be much happier.
13. Get Your Stress Levels Under Control
Nothing breaks a body down like stress. Your heart, your lungs, your mind, and your skin all suffer when you’re stressed out, thanks to a hormone called cortisol that’s produced during stressful times.
Cortisol kicks your skin’s sebum glands into high gear, causing an excess of oil that in turn causes breakouts, thinning skin, and lowered immune responses. It’s a recipe for rapid aging, and the only cure is less stress.
It’s easier said than done, but making time to relax and free your mind every day will slow aging, reduce flare-ups and make your whole body happier. A warm bath, a quiet walk or a meditation session during high-stress scenarios will keep your cortisol down and keep your skin healthy.