If you glance in the mirror and don't like what you see, it's easy to quickly become hopeless. And hopeless people are much more vulnerable to marketing materials that tell them a “miracle product” will cure everything. If you're ready to fight back against sun-related skin damage, though, now's the time to become a critical consumer of skincare products. To get products that pack a powerful punch – rather than just putting a hole in your wallet – keep the following in mind.
Is It Possible to Reverse Damage?
You can reverse the damage the sun has done to your skin, but the process isn't easy, and you'll need to have reasonable expectations. No cream is going to completely eliminate wrinkles or turn aged, saggy skin into dewy, youthful flesh. Instead, skincare products offer modest changes, in addition to the chance to forestall future damage. If you want dramatic results, you may need to go under the knife or laser.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Don't believe what cosmetic companies tell you. Instead, do your own research. There's no single list of “right” ingredients. Instead, the correct formulation depends on your goals. Some helpful ingredients to look for:
- Retinol – This antioxidant can do it all, from improving skin tightness to reducing wrinkles and even fighting acne.
- Hyaluronic acid – If your skin looks parched and saggy, meet your new best friend.
- Niacinamide – If you're struggling with dark circles or age spots, this is one of the few chemicals that can reduce their appearance.
- Antioxidants – Other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, combat free radicals – the pesky molecules that lead to skin aging.
Beauty From the Inside Out
Age-defying beauty doesn't begin and end with a skin cream. For the best results, you'll need to renovate your entire lifestyle. Healthy bodies produce healthy skin, so to reduce skin aging – and even reverse some of its effects – try the following:
- Drink eight glasses of water every day – no excuses, no exceptions. Not only will this hydrate your skin; it will also help your body to more effectively combat aging and fight off infections.
- Try healthy fats, such as those found in avocados and coconut oil.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Learn to control your stress. Stress powers free radicals, which help to age your skin.
Preventing Future Damage
Don't fixate solely on reversing the damage that's already occurred. If you want to get the most out of your beauty routine, it's time to start planning for the future with these indispensable strategies:
- Wear sunscreen every day, even when it's cloudy. Eighty to 90% of skin aging is due to the sun's rays.
- Keep your eyes covered in direct sunlight, and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing during the brightest parts of the day.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, steering clear of packaged foods and empty calories.
- Quit smoking, and steer clear of tobacco smoke. Smoke can destroy your skin, hair, and nails, leading to rapid and premature aging.