Surprising Anti-Aging Secrets From a Top Dermatologist

woman looking at mirror
There are some simple ways to prolong youthful skin. | shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you have mature skin and are looking to reduce the look of wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging, or you’re trying to prolong youthful skin, everyone can benefit from an anti-aging skin care routine. That said, it’s not always the products that help reverse some of these repercussions — it’s your lifestyle choices, too.

From how you wash your face to what you should (and shouldn’t) eat, we share one top dermatologist’s must-try anti-aging secrets, ahead.

1. Exfoliate with a washcloth

When it comes to aging skin, exfoliation is key, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. That said, Dr. Jaliman suggests exfoliating the skin with a washcloth in gently rubbing motions (don’t scrub!). That way, you get the benefits of skin exfoliation without irritating or damaging your complexion.

2. Cleanse your skin

woman washing her face
Get all the dirt off. |

Another important anti-aging secret everyone should follow? Cleansing. “It’s important to wash well when we come from outside to remove any dirt of pollution from the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Jaliman.

Pollution is full of skin-aging free radicals, so cleansing the skin is an absolute must.

3. Say yes to a broad-spectrum sunscreen

Woman wearing hat applying sunscreen
Protect your skin from UV rays. | LiudmylaSupynska/iStock/Getty Images

The most important anti-aging skin care product? Sunscreen. Specifically, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that “protects against both UVA rays that penetrate deeply into the skin, as well as UVB rays, which are the burning rays,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Sun damage is cumulative — even ten minutes of exposure a day over the course of a lifetime is enough to cause major problems,” she adds.

4. Exercise

happy people doing lunge exercise in gym
Exercise is good for you, inside and out. |

When it comes to your health, exercise is key. And same goes for the skin. “Research shows that when you exercise, it makes your skin look younger,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It stimulates substances called myokines — specifically I L-15 — [that] increase the thickness of the deeper layers of the skin and decrease the thickness of the outer layers of the skin,” she adds.

5. Consume antioxidants

fruit salad with mint leaves
Berries are a good source of antioxidants. | iStock/Getty Images

In addition to applying antioxidant-rich skin care products to your complexion, consuming antioxidants by way of your daily diet is also key. “Antioxidants boost the immune system,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Eat lots of fruit and vegetables [and] pick the more colorful varieties, as they are usually more beneficial,” she adds. “Some foods high in antioxidants are goji berries, cranberries, blueberries, red beans, and artichoke hearts.”

6. Say no to sugar and processed foods

Granulated sugar in spoon and sugar pile on wooden
Sugar ages your skin. |

In addition to eating your antioxidants, eating well plays a huge part in anti-aging. “Avoid sugar and processed foods,” says Dr. Jaliman. It is important to have a healthy diet and to limit the amount of sugar that you eat,” she adds. “Processed sugar glycates the collagen, which stiffens and ages it.”

7. Get enough sleep

young woman enjoying sunny morning
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. |

When it comes to anti-aging skin care, sleep is at the top of Dr. Jaliman’s list. “I recommend that my patients sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.”

8. Silk pillowcase

Bed sheet and pillow on mattress
Silk helps to prevent sleep lines. | iStock/Getty Images

In addition to getting enough rest, Dr. Jaliman recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase — such as, the Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase — “so that the skin doesn’t crunch and sleep lines don’t form.”

9. No smoking

Woman smoker smoking
Smoking causes wrinkles. | Terroa/iStock/Getty Images

Lastly, like other doctors and dermatologists, Dr. Jaliman says to avoid smoking. “Cigarette smoke decreases the blood supply to the skin and causes unnecessary wrinkles on the face in general.”

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