5 Things You can Do Today to Look Younger Tomorrow

As we age, we gain wisdom, patience, and insight – not to mention wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin. If you're not keen on looking your age, there are some practical ways to fight Father Time, at least when it comes to your skin. While many drugstore and beauty counter creams make big anti-aging claims, often the results are modest at best. These are 5 steps that actually work to keep the signs of age at bay.

1: Protect your face from the UVA and UVB rays.

Sunscreen should be part of everyone's daily skin regimen. There are three types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun: UVA, UVB, and UVC. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA radiation makes up 95% of the sun's rays and is the primary cause of sun-caused wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, called photoaging. Protecting your skin from UVA rays will help prevent these signs of premature aging. UVB radiation, in comparison, is the primary cause of sunburns and skin cancer. Unlike UVA and UVB, UVC is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and not a concern.

While most sunscreens in the US are rated to protect against UVA, you need to make sure that your sunscreen of choice also protects against the cancer-causing effects of UVB. Look for sunscreens containing UVB-blocking ingredients such as zinc oxide, octisalate, and octocrylene. Protecting your skin from the sun will help prevent wrinkles and brown spots while reducing your risk of skin cancer.

2: Eat right for skin health.

Your hair, nail, and skin quality are all strongly influenced by having a balanced diet rich in certain nutrients. Trace minerals, such as copper, zinc, and manganese, are important for building the protein-containing structures of your skin that help keep it firm, such as collagen and elastin.

Free radicals can also contribute to premature aging and are produced by sun exposure, contact with certain chemicals, and some normal biological processes. Fortunately, free radicals are combatted by antioxidants found in nuts and colorful fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and dark leafy greens.

3: Drink Plenty of Water

Many are confused about how much water a person should drink per day, especially when you consider that the recommendation of 8 cups of water per day is not based on scientific research, and is largely backed by special interest groups. That doesn't necessarily mean you are drinking enough, though! There have been several women coming forward sharing their stories of how increasing their fluid intake dramatically improved their skin. Dehydration can make your face appear more lined and deflated, which is why some people see such dramatic results from increasing their daily water intake. Proper hydration also helps with cell turnover and keeping pores clear, so drink up!

4: Stop Smoking

Smoking has been associated with premature aging since the 1970's. The Mayo Clinic states that the nicotine in tobacco products narrows the blood vessels, impeding blood flow to your skin. Since blood is the carrier of valuable nutrients and skin building blocks, reduced blood flow to your skin means that it won't be properly nourished. Without the proper nutrients, your skin is unable to self-repair and prevent damage, resulting in wrinkles. Many smokers end up developing vertical lines around their lips called smoker's lines. While never picking up the habit is best, giving up nicotine-containing products will help ensure your skin is receiving the nutrients it needs to stay resilient and healthy.

5: Get help from a cosmetic professional.

Sometimes choosing a cosmetic procedure may be your best bet. Many men and women spot treat certain areas of their faces with injectables, such as BOTOX® or fillers. Depending on what treatment you choose, you can experience plumper, smoother skin for 3 months to more than a year.

For people who want long-term correction of sagging and wrinkling, the gold standard is a facelift. According to the website of Azul Cosmetic Surgery in Naples, Florida, a full facelift involves sculpting the underlying fatty tissues, tightening saggy skin, and removing any excess fatty tissues and skin. A properly performed facelift will tighten, tone, and reshape your face without giving you the appearance of being "worked on."