A youthful appearance comes from two things: smooth, firm skin, and a bright, even-toned complexion," says dermatologist Howard Sobel, MD, director of the New York Institute of Aesthetic Dermatology and Laser Surgery. So anything that helps you achieve those goals should be at the top of your list. To help you find the moves with the biggest beauty payoff, we went to the experts.
Here, they suggest lifestyle changes, over-the-counter products, and in-office fixes that help you look younger. Plus, we'll tell you how many years each trick can take off!
Smooth, Firm Skin
The Lifestyle Fix
"Wrinkles, fine lines, saggingthey're all the result of collagen loss and the fact that skin loses the ability to hydrate itself effectively as we age," says Steven Dayan, MD, a Chicago-based facial plastic surgeon.
But the good news is that tweaking your diet can slow the aging process. "Women with nutrient-rich diets tend to have firmer skin," explains Dr. Dayan, who recommends eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as foods with vitamins E and C, which "help to promote the production of collagen."
Knowing what not to eat and drink is important, too. Atop the don't list? Alcohol, which dehydrates skin. "As skin becomes drier and less elastic, it looks less supple," Dr. Sobel notes.
And don't underestimate the power of a good (and long!) night's sleep. "When you don't get enough sleep, the body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells," Dr. Sobel says. Getting plenty of rest helps your body "produce more human growth hormone, which helps skin remain supple and elastic so it's less likely to wrinkle prematurely."
Results: Improve your diet, cut back on alcohol, and increase sleep, and you can look two to three years younger in about four to six weeks, experts say.