By: Grace Gold, DailyGlow.com
Your eyes, skin, hair, and teeth have something in common — all can make you look older before your time. But there's no reason to give up the fight! Here's a plan to turn back the clock by targeting each with the most efficient and effective age-defying strategies.
Eyes and hands are like truth detectors: They reveal age before other areas of the body, says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center, so you should make them the focus of your anti-aging skin care energies to achieve the greatest impact.
“Most of the signs of premature aging are sun related and can be prevented,” says Dr. Day. “The single most important thing you can do is to use sunscreen every day, all year round.” Sure, this isn’t the most groundbreaking advice, but there’s a reason you hear it over and over! Read on for other ways you can cheat your age and focus your efforts to save time — and your skin.
Here are 5 ways to cheat your age:
1. Refresh Your Eyes:The earliest wrinkles usually develop around the eyes. To prevent and treat these dreaded crow’s-feet, Day recommends starting a retinol cream as early as possible. “Retinol works on a molecular level to promote cell maturation and turnover,” she says. “It also promotes the production of collagen, which makes the skin thicker, more resilient, and less wrinkled.” Try a cream like Avéne Rétrinal + ($69). Use your ring finger to tap the cream gently on crow’s-feet and around the eye area, taking care to not go above the bony ridge under your eye — this potent anti-ager may irritate the sensitive skin around the eyes.
For a soothing eye salve, look no further than the garden. Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E and is a potent anti-inflammatory, says Day. For eyelid and under-eye puffiness, try applying Yonka Phyto-Contour Eye Firming Cream ($54), which blends rosemary with aloe vera and vitamin E for a soothing sensation. Stow the cream in your fridge to enhance its de-puffing action.
You can also reap skin benefits by flavoring grilled chicken and salmon with the herb's pine-like leaf. Says Day, “Rosemary is one of my favorite anti-aging herbs for cooking!”
2. Give Hands the White-Glove Treatment: Hands bear the brunt of daily UV exposure — think how they're exposed when you're driving — so it’s no wonder that the thin skin of the hands ages fastest by becoming mottled with spots. To the rescue is kojic acid, a mushroom extract discovered in Japan about 20 years ago. It's been shown to lighten skin by inhibiting melanin production. “Kojic acid is most effectively used in conjunction with other brightening agents,” advises Day. Try Eraclea Lite and Brite ($80), which combines kojic acid with licorice root and resveratrol. And don’t forget the backs of your hands when you apply sunscreen — keep a travel-size tube of sunscreen or a lip balm with SPF in your handbag to remind you to recoat this delicate skin throughout the day.
3. Subtract Years From Your Smile: "Yellow teeth make us look older because we associate white, bright teeth with youth," says Lana Rozenberg, DDS, a New York dentist. Eating staining foods like berries and drinking coffee and tea, along with the unkindness of aging itself, turn teeth yellow. Fibers from peelu bark, which comes from the ancient Middle Eastern tree of the same name, have long been used to whiten teeth. Today, says Rozenberg, you can find toothbrushes made of peelu -- you soften them with hot water and gently brush your teeth. Or look for toothpastes that contains peelu in health food stores; you can switch to one or alternate it with your regular toothpaste for its brightening effects.
4. Scrub Your Strands: You’ve heard of exfoliation for your face, but did you know your hair needs it, too? Styling products and impurities can build up in your hair, leading to dullness and limpness — both of which age your appearance. Once or twice a week, massage a scrub like Redken Refining Sea Polish ($19) into just-shampooed hair in circular motions to help scrub away residue and increase smoothness and shine.
Your scalp can also benefit from a scrub. “Your scalp is constantly shedding dead skin cells,” explains Jet Rhys, a San Diego, Calif., stylist and salon owner, “and buildup occurs when styling products, environmental pollutants, and chemicals from shower water settle on the scalp. It’s essential to exfoliate the scalp for healthy hair that looks youthful — you’ll get more youthful bounce from your hair too.”
Hydrate Hair: “Shiny hair is young hair,” says beauty expert Eva Scrivo, owner of two salons in New York City and the author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty. Yet years of heat styling and processing can leave strands dull and parched. Rejuvenate your hair with natural amla oil, an ayurvedic beauty secret used by Indian women for more than two thousand years, according to Scrivo. Add a few drops to the scalp before bedtime, brush gently for five minutes with a natural-bristle brush like Mason Pearson's to distribute the oil through your hair, and shampoo out the next morning. Says Scrivo, “Brushing amla oil through the hair stimulates the scalp, increases blood flow, and encourages your hair to grow thick and full.”