Wrinkles are a natural part of aging, like it or not. And while a face lift can hide what Mother Nature has ravaged, the best defense is to do all you can to prevent those laugh lines and crow's feet from forming for as long as possible.
There is a proven bag of tricks to make you look younger--but you have to start early for these to work.
To that end, dermatologists attending the American Academy of Dermatology's SKIN academy offered five tips to prevent wrinkles:
1. Use soap only on select areas of your body to avoid dryness.
"Unless you have really oily skin because you are a teenager or work with oils or gases, you do not need soap to get yourself clean. Pure water does the job to get you clean," advises Dr. Brian B. Adams, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati. "However, you do need to use soap on your face, under your arms and in the groin area. As you get older, the use of soap on the rest of your body can unnecessarily dry your skin."
2. Don't smoke.
"Quit smoking or, better yet, don't even start! More and more young people are smoking and doing so to relieve stress, but it's bad for your skin and causes wrinkles," warns Dr. Flor A. Mayoral, a clinical instructor in the departments of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. "Deep-set wrinkles will appear around your mouth from puckering, your skin will be dehydrated and dull, and you may experience premature aging."
3. Use sunscreen.
"Use sunscreen every day, preferably one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays," recommends Dr. Sandra I. Read, an instructor of dermatology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. "Today, many skin care products contain sunscreen and are multifunctional, which allow you to get many skin benefits from one application. This saves time and money. For example, to protect and maintain healthy skin, use a daily facial moisturizer containing sunscreen. You also can find body lotions that contain sunscreen. These products can help hydrate and protect your skin, especially areas of your body that are sun-exposed throughout the day--like your hands."
4. Eat a healthy diet.
"What you apply to your skin helps give it a healthy, radiant glow, but remember what you put into your body is just as important. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can make a real difference in the appearance of your skin," says Dr. Susan C. Taylor, who is on the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University in New York City and the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
5. When all else fails, consider a non-surgical facelift.
Dermatologists can help you turn back the hands of time with a non-surgical facelift. "For many people in their 40s, 50s and even 60s, combining laser and other light-energy treatments with botulinum toxin and fillers can take years off their appearance while maintaining a natural, youthful look using non-invasive procedures," advises Dr. Arielle N.B. Kauvar, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine. "Some procedures, such as photodynamic therapy, can even remove pre-cancerous growths, improving the health of the skin."
--From the Editors at Netscape