Aging is a fact of life. You can’t help but get older. But getting older doesn’t necessarily mean you have to look older. You may be taking care of your skin with a great routine, but there are things you might be forgetting that keep you from looking and feeling your best.
Check out these five things that age you and what to do about them.
You Hands Age You
Areas constantly exposed to the sun and other extrinsic aging factors, such as your hands, age at a much more rapid pace than the parts of your body that remain covered, such as your abdomen. In fact, studies (British Journal of Dermatology). While your face is subject to more rapid aging, its likely that you’ve done a better job ensuring that you slather on the sunscreen and caring for the skin on your face than the skin on your hands.
And it’s not just when your traipsing around the great outdoors. In buildings with windows that aren’t treated to filter UV-rays, in you car, and even when you spend time in fluorescent bulbs (which can add up in cumulative little bits), you’re getting UV rays (GE Lighting). That means that no matter how good you look, your hands might be giving your age away.
If your hands are still wrinkle-free, now is the time to start making sure you’re putting sunscreen on every few hours with a combination lotion-sunscreen such as Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen ($16, amazon.com). Since it’s meant for face and body, you can touch up your face and then squirt some extra on your hands.
[Read More: What Are the Best Anti-Aging Hand Creams?]
If you’re already feeling the effects of aging factors on your hands, fear not! There are a few things you can do to make your hands powdery soft and smooth once more. The first options are creams: intensive exfoliators and brighteners. You’ll want glycolid acid or retinoids, but retinoids are harder to find in hand creams. Something like MD Forte Hand and Body Cream ($30.71, amazon.com) with 20% glycolic acid is a good bet. With twice-daily application, you should start seeing wrinkles start to smooth out in three days. Another solution is a hyluronic acid treatment from your dermatologist.
If you’re looking for something to specifically treat serious hyperpipgmentation, look for something like Lumixyl Topical Brightening System ($56, amazon.com). It uses tyrosinase-inhibitor Ogliopeptide-34, which has results similar to 2% hydroquinone, but without the ochronosis (irrevisible reflexive darkening of the skin) that sometimes happens in people with darker skin.
And no matter what you do: Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Your Lips Age You
Think about it — even a woman with great skin can seem older if her lips have lost some of their fullness. Because lips don’t naturally produce sebum, they have less sun protection than the rest of the body. And, unfortunately, they’re one of the most forgotten parts for sun protection. As with every part of the body, the first line of defense against aging is to use something with SPF in it, such as Beyond Coastal Lip and Face Sunscreen ($5.08, amazon.com).
But there are extra steps you can take, both to keep your lips supple and also help to improve already existing signs of aging.
On the preventative front, something such as Derma E Lip Repair Crème ($10.15, amazon.com) has plenty of antioxidants from the inclusion of green tea, which has been shown to be photo-protective and anti-carcinogenic; as well as natural antioxidant vitamin E, which serves as a collagen protector (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Free Radical Biology and Medicine). And Shea butter not only moisturizes, but has also been shown to have anti-aging properties (British Journal of Dermatology).
[Read More: Spotlight On: Shea Butter]
For lips that already show some signs of aging, something like Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner with SPF 20 ($19.93, amazon.com) can help to smooth some of those out. It contains VolulipTM,which may increase collagen production over time. But, better yet, it has kinetin, which has been shown to have effects similar to less-concentrated 0.02% trentinoin on rough, mottled skin and fine wrinkles (Skin Med).
Your Teeth Age You
Just like everything else on the body, as we age, our teeth show the signs. A daily cup of coffee can make your teeth less white than they once were. Gum disease and dental cavities can wreak havoc on your mouth (National Institute on Aging). And, aside from those, the regular wear and tear of life can leave your teeth a bit yellower than you might like,
The best defense is the obvious. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day are the first steps to healthy teeth and gums for the long-term. Those will keep your teeth from the diseases and decay that can strike at any time.
And it will help to keep your mouth and gums from getting irritated if you skip the toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate and go for a product such as Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste ($10.12, amazon.com).
Your Hair Ages You
While gray hair is a sign of aging, it’s not necessarily the thing that makes you look older. Have you ever seen someone who’s dyed over their grays and still isn’t getting the “young” look they’re going for? That’s because it’s not necessarily your hair color so much as your hair health that makes you look older. As it turns out, the health of your hair is a more important indicator for attractiveness than the color (Journal of Experiment Psychology).
You can’t control much about your locks getting silver — most of that is genetics (MedlinePlus). But environmental stresses can do major damage to your tresses. Free radical accumulation in your hair can reduce your hair’s color, shine, and overall appearance (Trends in Genetics).
[Read More: Why Does Hair Turn Gray?]
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your locks are lovely and soft.
Antioxidants can help negate the damage that free radicals can do, keeping your hair healthier overall. Something such as Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream ($15.77-33.90, amazon.com) can help give you hair an extra boost.
And, not to sound like a broken record, but sunscreen is monumentally important. A sunhat such as Coolibar Sunhat ($35, amazon.com) or hair sunscreen such as Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($25, amazon.com) will help keep you hair soft and healthy.
[Read More: Five Ingredients for Your More Beautiful Hair]
Your Attitude Ages You
This is a tip I learned from my parents: Staying active helps to keep you feeling young. They’ve both made a point of telling me that keeping up with friends, taking on new challenges, and working on hobbies is an important way to keep yourself from growing complacent.
Feel like taking a new spin class? Get those sneakers on! Promised yourself you’d learn Spanish one day? Sign up for class and work up from “hola.”
Starting anything new or different take courage, but keeping your mind active and learning new things gives you energy and staves off the aging of the mind. In fact, both physical and mental exercise can keep your brain sharp (Journal of Applied Physiology, NIHPA)!
It’s possible to stave off much of the aging process. You hair, your hands, your lips, your hair, and even your attitude can all make you look and feel older than you are. By combating the extrinsic factors that cause aging, it’s possible to look and feel fantastic at any age.