Sleep, diet, exercise, and good skin care can trim years off your appearance. Follow these simple anti-aging tips for a young looking, healthier you.
By Beth W. Orenstein | Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
Everyone wants to look and feel younger. Currently, the anti-aging industry in the United States is an $80 billion business — and research suggests it’s only going to get bigger. By 2015, it could amount to as much as $114 billion. This growth, experts say, is due largely to the population of aging baby boomers, but also to an increasing interest from men looking for ways to hold on to their youth.
According to recent research by L’Oreal, the number of men visiting hair salons to have their hair dyed grew 50 percent between 2008 and 2010. Male plastic surgery also increased last year from 2009: Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed a two percent uptick overall, a 14 percent increase in facelifts, and a nine percent increase in Botox.
But you don’t have to go under the knife to slash away the years. Simple steps at home can keep the annoying effects of aging at bay and help you look as young as you feel.
Start With Skin Care
The first thing people notice is your skin. According to one recent study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, men’s attractiveness and youth are judged largely on the tone and evenness of their complexion. Take years off your face by following these anti-aging skin-care rules:
- Stay out of the sun. “The sun just beats the daylights out of your skin,” says Francis Salerno, MD, of the Center for Healthy Aging in Allentown, Pa. If you are going to be in the sun, wear sunscreen, Dr. Salerno adds. Over-exposure to the sun can cause wrinkles and age spots that surely will make you look older.
- Moisturize. “Using moisturizer and a gentle cleanser every day will help you look younger,” says Frank Shipman, owner of the TC Salon Spa in Allentown. “Dryness exaggerates signs of aging in the face and the body. Moisturizer will help.”
- Drink lots of water. Six to eight cups of water a day will help keep your skin hydrated, giving skin better tone and a more youthful looking appearance. “Maintaining adequate fluid intake is very, very important,” says Salerno, author of the book Basic Prevention: A Guide to Healthy Aging.
Maintaining your overall health can make you look and feel younger. These lifestyle choices promote wellness:
- Sleep well. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. “Getting appropriate sleep is very important for how you look,” Salerno says. Not enough sleep can result in bags under your eyes and other health consequences that may make you appear older. One study from the psychiatry department at Penn State College of Medicine found that sleep deprivation affected men’s mental acuity more than women’s. And another study from the University of California, San Diego, found that more men needed naps to reinforce learning. Men also wake up more often and have less slow-wave sleep, which is crucial for memory formation.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can make you look old by creating wrinkles and lines around your mouth and eyes, dulling your skin, and staining your teeth. It also can cause a host of health problems that will age you quickly, Salerno says.
- Eat healthy. “Eating appropriate amounts of a Mediterranean-type diet — chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables with a moderate amount of carbs — will keep you healthy as well as looking young and fit,” Salerno says.
- Exercise. “Exercise will help you to maintain your tone and your flexibility,” Shipman explains. Aerobic exercises are good for your heart and, Salerno says, “whatever you do for your heart is also good for your brain.” Men who are fit and trim will look younger and feel younger than those who are fat and flabby. “It’s amazing how putting on those extra pounds can age someone greatly,” Shipman adds.
Dress Your Age
Age is about appearance. You can take years off your appearance if you follow this simple anti- aging dress code:
- Avoid clothing trends. When dressing, go with updated classics. Says Shipman, “If you are middle-aged and go with a trend that is for 18-year-olds, it will not look right.” And don’t dwell on trends from your past. “If you wore the look before, don’t do it again. For example, bell-bottom trousers from the ’60s will make you look dated — or like you never left that era,” Shipman warns.
- All that glitters is old. “Less is best when it comes to jewelry as we age,” says Frank J. Buongiorno, a stylist at The London Shop, a men’s specialty shop in Easton, Pa. “We don’t want to get too carried away with rings and ID bracelets, and huge, oversized watches.” Toning down the jewelry as a man gets older is more age appropriate.
- “Raze” an eyebrow. As men age, their eyebrows often get long and unruly. “You don’t get character — you look crazy,” Shipman says. “When you get your haircut, have your stylist trim your eyebrows at the same time.” Buongiorno suggests that you keep a regular schedule of haircuts: “As a man grows older, he should keep his hair on the short side rather than in a ponytail.”
- Trim unwanted body hair. As men age they tend to get hair in unwanted places, such as the ears and nose. Keep this growth trimmed and you’ll look younger — and if you look younger, you’ll feel younger, Buongiorno says. Also, if your body hair is turning gray, the shorter you keep it, the less noticeable the gray will be, Shipman says. That’s true of beards and chest hair.
- Grow a beard. If you have a sagging neckline, sometimes a close cropped beard can be a great way of concealing it, Shipman says.
Following this anti-aging advice can make you look younger and feel younger, no matter what the calendar says. Staying fit and trim also will help prevent illnesses and chronic conditions that can age you prematurely as well.