We can't stop aging completely, but we can make these changes.
There are certain universal truths in life, the most obvious of which are: the sun rises from the east, humans don't deserve dogs, and everyone ages except for Jennifer Lopez. I have nothing else to say about those first two, but I do have some tips pertaining to the third. There's no way to get around the fact that you have to get older, but the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a group of over 20,000 board-certified dermatologists, has insight into how you can prevent some of the noticeable the signs of aging, and they boil down to simple lifestyle changes.
The AAD explains there are two types of aging, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic is the aging your genes dictate, while extrinsic is the type of premature aging caused by lifestyle and environmental factors, which we have a hand in.
First and foremost, you should be wearing sunscreen every single day. Even on cloudy days and while sitting on airplanes, you're susceptible to harmful rays that can lead to wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer. Your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum to protect against both UVA and UVB rays as well as SPF 30 or higher and water resistant. If you don't have a daily sunscreen, Consumer Reports just put out its list of the best sunscreens of 2018.
This should be intuitive, but if getting tanned or burned by the sun quickens the aging process, so does tanning in artificial beds or by using other similar technology. If you're still hell-bent on getting a tan and bronzer won't cut it, try lotions like Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($9; target.com) or spray tans.
In addition to protecting your skin from the sun every day (can't stress "every" enough), here are nine more simple lifestyle changes you can make to prevent premature wrinkles and aging.
1. Do You Smoke? Stop
A lot of the lifestyle changes that benefit your overall health also benefit your skin. As you know, smoking is linked to a slew of health issues, and the AAD also says it causes wrinkles and "a dull, sallow complexion." Case in point.
2. Eat Well
A diet full of refined carbs and sugar can actually accelerate aging. Yikes. Don't forget to drink a lot of water, too.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercising, another lifestyle habit connected to positive benefits ranging from mental to physical, can improve your body's circulation and immune system, which can lead to looking younger.
4. Drink Less Alcohol
Alcohol is a diuretic, which is why you have to go to the bathroom way more often when you're out drinking than on a sober night at home. Even if you opt out of sugary cocktails, alcohol dehydrates you, which can make your skin look rougher, splotchier, and older.
5. Along With Sunscreen, Use Moisturizer Every Day
As the AAD explains, "Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance."
6. Wash Your Face at Least Twice a Day
Cleanse morning and night, minimum, and after you sweat so the perspiration doesn't sit on your skin causing irritation. (And did you know, you should always blot, not wipe, sweat?)
7. Don't Keep Using Products That Irritate Your Skin
"Building up tolerance" to certain skin treatments isn't really a thing. If a product is burning or hurting your skin, it's also probably making it look older from irritation. Unless a product that stings is prescribed by a dermatologist, it's probably not right for you. Look out for common skin irritants on product labels, like fragrance and propylene glycol.
8. Try Not to Make the Same Facial Expressions Over and Over
Smile lines are signs of a happy life, but maybe it's time to cut out that unapproachable scowl you make on your morning commute, and instead of squinting at your computer screen, could it be time for glasses?
9. Be Gentle With Your Face
Getting a day's worth of makeup and grime off your face does not mandate a harsh cleansing routine. If you have trouble getting everything off with your current products, try a double-cleanse process. Start with either an oil cleanser or micellar water before using your regular face wash because, once again, irritating your skin will most likely just make it look older (and be uncomfortable).