The REAL Secrets To Having Better Skin As You Age

k2Photographed by Craig Rathegeber.
“Wow! You don’t look your age!” is supposed to be a compliment, especially once you cross the 40-year-old threshold. As someone who’s 40-something and gotten that comment, I always feel stuck on how to reply until the follow-up question comes: “What’s your secret?” You sure you really want to know? Because most people don’t want to hear the truth. They want a magic pill or a product recommendation. And, we all know neither of those are it.
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While genes play a role in aging, the truth is that there are ways to look better at every age, regardless of how you've fared in the genetic lottery.You know the basics: Don’t eat processed food and excessive sugar, drink more water, wear sunscreen, etc. But, here are the truths about earning better skin as you age. Because the face you see in the mirror is the one you’ve earned, so let’s make sure you’re worthy of the one you want years from now.
Don’t Keep Secrets.
The biggest cause of stress is the mind and body suppressing real feelings. Say what you need to say or let it go, but don’t hold grudges, purposefully withhold information, or tell giant lies that keep you up at night. You’ll sleep better as a result, which is the key to your body repairing itself, the essence of healthy supple skin.
Stop Being So Fussy.
The first rule I learned is the less you do to your skin, the less you’ll ever have to do to your skin. Stop picking at your face; stop pulling and pushing and glowering at it. Throw on a little zit potion for a breakout, moisturize often, and go live your life.
Be Consistent.
Skin care is something you have to do without fail. Yes, it takes about a month or more to see if a product is going to work. No, this is not ideal. Magic-bullet products don’t exist. Putting in the time is the only thing that works. Also, moisturize every day, twice a day. Sometimes more. Just do it.
Stop Wearing So Much Makeup.
Heavy makeup suffocates the skin, and eventually oxygen-deprived skin breaks down, causing sags and bags. Also, heavy makeup is, well, heavy, and it pulls the skin down. Stop wearing so much makeup. Your skin hates it. Really.
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Don't Beat Your Face.
Your face isn’t a car or a countertop. The harder you scrub, the harder your skin has to work to repair all that pulling and tugging, which means lines and wrinkles. You’re asking for trouble if you’re trying to whip your face into submission. It will fight back, and it will win. Always use super-gentle pressure (like touching an infant) and use upward sweeping strokes with every single product.
Be Gentle With Breakouts.
Please listen to me: Your skin produces excess oil because it’s dehydrated, irritated, and/or clogged. The more you scrub, the more irritated it gets. Make your goal in life to not irritate your face. Use oil-free everything, keep your pores clean, be gentle with your touch. Discover what irritates your skin and avoid it like the plague. See also: Moisturize like it’s your job to prevent breakouts.
k1Photographed by Craig Rathegeber.
Spend Wisely.
It’s your skin, people: one per customer. Know where to spend the money. A good day and night cream with retinol is affordable, as is a good cleanser. Invest in targeted serums and eye creams; they’ll save you every time.
Naps. Take a lot of naps.
Be selfish about rest so your body can rebuild and repair itself. Go to bed a little earlier and take naps, lots and lots of naps. Vacation days are there for a reason, which is to switch locations and take naps. Don’t be a hero, 'cause no one dies with an empty inbox. Take the nap.
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Oil and water really do mix.
I don’t have to tell you to drink more water, but the other essential of good skin is plant and nut oils like olive, coconut, sweet almond, maracuja, argan, etc. They maintain the lipid balance of your skin, and good fats in the skin equals supple, baby-like resilience. Plus, if you apply oil over water on your skin and let it air dry, it locks in moisture. Ta-da! They do mix.
Your lifestyle will impact your face, eventually
I’m here to tell you that rage blackouts, hangovers, any kind of tar and nicotine, late nights, stress, and staying too late at the party eventually shows up on your face. Not right away, but decades later, every bad decision shows up. You make the call on what’s worth it for the stories you’ll tell later, but not every night is worth wrecking your face over. Use good judgment.
Don't run.
Workouts are the best thing for your body, so sweat a little every day. I’ve found that lower-impact exercise has been kind to me. It’s saved my joints and hasn’t dragged my face down. Because when your body strikes the ground, gravity does what it’s supposed to do. Try not to help it along.
People pleasing is bad for your skin.
Turning yourself inside out to please others, harboring ridiculous amounts of stress, and spending time with people who suck the life out of you are bad for your skin and your lifestyle. Plus, let’s skip the skin talk: There is no person or situation worth risking a heart attack or disease. Save your own skiniterally and get out.
Lack of fine lines Isn’t a mark of success.
I have my father’s deep forehead lines and I'm starting to get little smile lines and tiny brown dots where I skipped sunscreen as a teenager, but I feel sexier and more attractive now than I ever have. The best trick I’ve learned is that if you just take care of yourself, aging is not that big of a deal.
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