Fighting age is like fighting gravity. But just as you can hop into an anti-gravity chamber to float weightlessly, you can start an anti-aging regimen to thwart fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, dark spots, and loose skin. (There’s a lot to look forward to—as early as your 20s.)
We went to the experts to learn the best ways to prevent (and reverse) these superficial signs of aging. Here’s what our group of board-certified dermatologists suggest you do routinely if you want to look as young as possible—and naturally so—for as long as possible.
Basic Daytime Skincare
1. Stay Hydrated
Use a moisturizer at least twice daily—morning and night, after cleansing—to keep your skin looking firm and smooth.
“When skin is dry, our fine lines and wrinkles are much more noticeable,” says Jennifer S. Kitchin, M.D. That’s why she recommends calming, nutrient-rich facial moisturizers like Avene’s Tolerance Extreme Emulsion and Cicalfate Post-Actate. The former absorbs quickly and soothes the skin, and the latter is great to use after shaving or exfoliating.
2. Wear Sunscreen
“The most important anti-aging tip is to use sunblock, sunblock, and sunblock,” Kitchin says. “Use SPF 30 or greater on a regular basis. Reapply every few hours when you’re outside, because, if you’re sweating or swimming, your water-resistant sunblock will only last about an hour and twenty minutes.”
Kitchin recommends an SPF-packed moisturize, like MD Solar Sciences SPF 30. The most important factor in any sunscreen is that the product has a physical blocking ingredient, like titanium or zinc.
Lauren Meshkov Bonati, M.D., of Edwards, CO, likes SPF moisturizers that can be found at almost any drugstore.
“Most of my male patients prefer an easy morning regimen, so I typically recommend Eucerin Daily Protection Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 30, CeraVe AM Facial Lotion SPF 30, or Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50,” she says. “These products are lightweight, unscented, and non-greasy so they don’t feel like makeup or traditional cosmetic products. They’re also affordable and easy to find, making them accessible to virtually everyone.”
And remember: Using sunscreen isn’t the only way to shield harmful UV rays.
“Wear SPF even when it isn’t sunny, because UV rays that cause sun damage still come through year round,” says Sonoa Au, M.D. You should also wear protective clothing, like hats, sunglasses, or long sleeves to protect the skin from direct exposure, she adds.
3. Use a Retinoid
Nearly every dermatologist will tell you to use an anti-aging retinol at bedtime. This vitamin A-derived cream is proven to smooth fine lines, even out your complexion (eradicating acne and dark spots), and shrink pores. They’re potent, so you wear them at night, then wash them away in the morning before any sun exposure.
“Men are more tolerant of retinoids than women, as their skin tends to be a little thicker,” Susan Bard, M.D., says.
4. Try Serums
Antioxidant-rich serums are also proven to brighten and smooth complexion, while acting as a natural defense against signs of aging (when combined with the rest of this regimen, especially SPF).
“I recommend ones such as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (which is rich in vitamins C and E),” says Meshkov Bonati.
Diet and Behavior
1. Eat More Antioxidants
You can boost your aging defense system with an antioxidant-rich diet.
“I recommend antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation,” says Kitchin. “When left uncontrolled, inflammation contributes to aging as well as many disease processes in the body.” She suggest eating a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables—namely berries, spinach, and kale.”
2. Kick the Habit
Want to prevent your skin from aging faster than it should? Quit smoking, advises Tina Kinsley, M.D.
“It’s not sexy, but that’s what really is going to keep men firmly in silver fox territory when that time comes.”
There’s Always Botox
Outside of a routine, you can prevent superficial wear with a tiny subcutaneous injection. Botox isn’t the hack job you think it is, especially if done in moderation.
“Botox can help reduce the deep furrows that develop in between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and around the eyes,” says Avnee Shah, M.D.
It prevents the skin from wrinkling and thus can be used as prevention against signs of aging and wear. Ask your dermatologist about the options best available and most appropriate for you, as well as the short- and long-term effects.