Anti-aging products are a big business, with everyone from drugstores to cosmetics counters to high-end spas touting the latest breakthrough. Often, these remedies are pricey and ineffective, leaving you with a medicine cabinet full of potions and stubborn crow's feet persisting at the edges of your eyes. Is it really necessary to spend lots of money trying to find the miracle cure? Is Botox your only option? Fortunately, the answer is no.
Of course, it's easier to fight the telltale signs of aging before they occur rather than trying to remedy them after the fact. Good genetics is partially responsible for how quickly wrinkles begin to show, but lifestyle changes give your genes a helping hand. This brings us to the number-one beauty secret for keeping your skin wrinkle-free: avoid direct sun exposure and always use sunscreen when you're outdoors. Even on overcast days, the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays can penetrate and damage your skin, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
If you find yourself slacking when it comes to slathering on sunscreen, try a convenient spray-on aerosol brand such as Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock Spray ($9.49 at Neutrogena.com) or Aveeno Hydrosport Sunblock Spray ($9.49 at Target.com). For facial moisturizing and UV protection, try Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer ($11.99 at Drugstore.com) or Origins A Perfect World SPF 35 UV Face Protector with White Tea ($27.50 at Macys.com). When applying sunscreen to your face, be sure to rub it onto your neck and décolletage as well.
The second anti-aging secret that really works is to give up cigarettes and alcohol, if you partake. After sun damage, smoking is the second biggest cause of premature wrinkle development. You may have noticed that people who have smoked for many years are especially prone to wrinkles around their lips. This is because cigarette smoke interferes with your body's natural skin-renewal process, in which old skin cells are broken down and replaced with new ones.
As for alcohol, it deprives your skin of moisture and leaves you dehydrated, which destroys your youthful glow. Moisture is essential for keeping skin cells plump and healthy-looking. While having an occasional glass of wine with dinner won't age you prematurely, regular heavy drinking will. If you find that smoking and drinking help you to relax, try replacing them with daily exercise -- not only will your body look better, your skin will too. Exercise improves your circulation, which in turn improves your complexion. Head out for a walk or a yoga class when you're tempted to reach for a cigarette or a drink.
As for the third secret, it's what's on your plate. Changing your diet to include plenty of antioxidant-rich foods can make a tremendous difference in your skin's appearance. Limit refined sugar intake and opt instead for fresh fruit, berries and red and green vegetables. Drizzle a leafy green salad with extra-virgin olive oil and enjoy it with a large glass of green tea or fresh water. These simple dietary changes help to combat the environmental free radicals that can age your skin, leaving you energized, healthy and wrinkle-free.