Fifty is by no means old—but it’s certainly the right time to start being proactive about looking your best as you age. Certain lifestyle factors and daily habits can take years off your appearance and help support your overall health. “No matter your age, it’s never too late to make your health the number one priority in your life,” says Katherine Zaccheo, APRN. “You will reap the benefits in a relatively short time and improve your ability to age gracefully!” Here are five ways not to look older after 50, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Too much sun exposure can lead to premature aging and skin damage, experts warn. “The #1 cause of premature skin aging is sun exposure,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Tracy Pfeifer, MD, FACS. “This is why one of the most important things women and men can do to slow down premature skin aging is to diligently protect their skin from the sun. I spend time with each and every patient who comes into my office—offering advice and administering treatments to reverse the effects of aging, but without daily sun protection, the signs of aging will continue to appear—and reappear.”
Drinking too much alcohol not only dehydrates your skin, but can have a knock-on effect on your appetite and subsequently your waistline. “Drinking can decrease your blood sugar levels temporarily, and overnight, after drinking, your body tries to compensate and readjust your blood glucose levels,” says Jennifer Wider, MD “As a result, you feel hunger pangs.”
A quick internet search on how smoking impacts appearance should have you stubbing out that cigarette and throwing the rest in the trash. Smoking is terrible for your health—and will wreak havoc on your face. “Every time you smoke, you are exposing your skin to over 4000 harsh chemicals that result in long-term skin disorders and early onset aging symptoms like lines and wrinkles,” says board certified dermatologist Donna Hart, MD. “While the damage smoking does to the skin is starting, even more remarkable is the skin’s ability to repair itself after a person quits smoking. Waiting too long to quit, however, can limit the skin’s ability to recover and make the damage irreversible.”
Let’s face it (no pun intended)—regular exercise is key to a youthful appearance at any age. “Exercise has many positive benefits for both the body and mind,” says Zaccheo. “If you haven’t been physically active, gradually build up to at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week. To reap the greatest benefit – and to keep it fun and interesting – change up your weekly routine by incorporating aerobics, weight bearing exercise and balance training. Schedule time to exercise and set goals to challenge yourself. If you make physical activity a priority, it can become as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth!”
Chronic lack of sleep will age on the inside—and the outside. “Poor sleep results in premature aging. This is because there are three key times that our body releases growth hormone,” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. “Also known as the ‘Fountain of Youth’ hormone, optimizing growth hormone keeps us young. It keeps our muscles toned, and our skin at its full thickness. Think of it as a healthy facelift for your entire body, including face, breasts and abdominals. [also] plays a critical role in our production of two key hormones that regulate appetite and weight gain. These are leptin and ghrelin. Numerous studies have shown that inadequate sleep results in an average 6 ½ pound weight gain and a 30 to 55 percent higher risk of obesity.”
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more