Milk baths?
February 18, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Amazing skin forever? At my ritzy gym I constantly see older gentlemen with the most amazing skin quality: smooth, clear, even tone, even lightly tanned. What have they done to get/keep this peternatual skin quality and what can I do now as a younger man to get it?
posted by The Whelk to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
1. Have great genes;
2. Don't smoke;
3. Don't be an alcoholic or drug user;
4. Use suncreen;
5. Don't develop a chronic disease; and
6. Be lucky.

Numbers one and six are the most important.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

Sunblock, good genes, clean living, and a little spray tanning if you must.

Also, I'm sure some of those guys get facials and dermabrasion and other stereotypically female skin treatments, and some use makeup (beyond spray tan).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:20 AM on February 18, 2011

If they're older and at the gym, chances are they're lifelong healthy people who have been sweating, exercising, eating healthfully, staying hydrated, and taking care of themselves and their skin for decades, which lends the fresh clear look to them in their old age.

Lucky for you, you're already on the right path and are clearly conscious of the benefits that exercising and taking care of oneself provide - keep things up for the next forty or so years and some young whippersnapper will be referring to your surprising youthful good looks on metafilter, too!
posted by citystalk at 8:24 AM on February 18, 2011

My dad is in his late 50s but looks much younger. His skin (at least on his face) is pretty great. He doesn't really "care" for his skin, though.

He takes daily bubble baths (yeah) and soaks his whole head underwater for about a minute. I have no idea why. (I asked my mom once, when I was little, why he did this. She speculated it had something to do with the fact that he grew up extremely poor and never got to enjoy anything even as simple as a bath, so to let him enjoy it in peace and for christssake get out of the bathroom while your dad is taking a bath.)

He exercises a lot. Lifts weights, bikes many miles, etc. Every day. When he was in his 20s and 30s he ran and biked semi-competitively. So he's in excellent shape and pretty much always has been.

He also spends a lot of time outside. Riding his bike, working on the house/yard, and sometimes even just lying out and sunbathing. So, yeah, pretty tan.

He also had a beard constantly for about 20 years. So maybe the not agitating his face every day thing as helped, too. He shaved it off (at the suggestion of the rest of the family) when it started to get gray (his hair is still black).

I don't know if any of that is advice to follow so much as it's-just-what-he-does, but there you go.
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2011

Oh yeah, and my dad doesn't smoke or drink alcohol.
posted by phunniemee at 8:28 AM on February 18, 2011

I think you'll find that most of these guys have some sort of Mediterranean blood. My dad is half Croat and half Spanish (geographic mean: Italy!) and apart from the graying of his (otherwise bald) head, looks the same as he did fifteen years ago. I have a cousin (full-blood Croatian) who we joke has a portrait aging in a closet somewhere. Excepting putting on ten pounds, she looks late 30s at age 55.
posted by notsnot at 8:43 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Drink lots of water daily. Get vitamin D through being outdoors a lot or in supplements and food.
and everything else already said.
posted by Postroad at 8:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

phunniemee , Could it be your dad was following Paul Newman; ( and doesnt care for cold water )

"Years ago, Paul Newman said that he keeps his youthful good looks by plunging his head into a bucket of ice water every morning. This habit was no doubt adopted by many young men all over the world, although they probably did not understand why it worked. The answer is simple – cold water is a natural astringent"
posted by stuartmm at 8:48 AM on February 18, 2011

Nthing notsnot...we pinkish swedes do not age as well as beige-er or browner folks, IME.

I'd say that if you're pinkish and start getting any signs of rosacea (flushing really easily out of the blue or when you drink caffeine, super-duper flushing from cold, random itchy spots) you should go to a dermatologist. They can give you topical low-intensity antibiotics which act as an anti-imflammatory and retard the course of the disease. It's important not to wait until you have red patches or lumps...a lot of pink people get rosacea as they age, and it's...well...aging.

Plenty of vegetables and lots of laughter/destressing seem to help keep the skin clear and fend off the "face gets set into a frown" thing.
posted by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I dunno. My dad - sixtyish lifelong chain smoker, mechanic, grew up malnourished, rotgut drinker - still has the skin of a thirty year old. He is also Korean. Your choices are apparently to live super healthy, or to be Asian.

But i would guess moisturizer, sunblock, lots of water, good circulation promoted by exercise, and a diet with lots of fatty acids are good places to start.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:56 AM on February 18, 2011

My two youngest-looking older friends are both lifelong hard-drinking-chimney-smoking-sun-worshiping punk rockers. Genes seems to be the strong force there. Well, that and the healing power of punk rock.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:11 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't smoke. Sunscreen - and don't forget the back of your hands! Hands show age better than faces as we get older. Gentle exfoliation (love my Clarisonic and AHA gel) helps a lot.

Also, fish oil can help. I am lucky to have good skin genetics (I don't look 43), but once I started taking high-quality liquid fish oil, my skin got better.
posted by catlet at 9:14 AM on February 18, 2011

Stay out of the sun. A "nice healthy tan" is an indicator that your skin will turn to wrinkles when you're 60.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2011

If you're just looking at faces ... Anecdotally, these men may be life-long daily shavers that have been using shaving cream for decades. Shaving creams and after-shave treatments have moisturizers and various emollients, and shaving itself can act as an exfoliant.

They may not even realize they've been taking such great care of their facial skin along with this simple, daily task.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:24 AM on February 18, 2011

> Stay out of the sun. A "nice healthy tan" is an indicator that your skin will turn to wrinkles when you're 60.

Very true. But that's if it actually is a tan. Some people of course just have naturally olive skin, even if they get no sun at all. Curse them.

All I'm saying is: we have less control over how our skin ages than we imagine: we can take care of ourselves and try not to fuck it up too much, but much of it is pre-determined. Stay healthy, don't get sunburnt, and try not to worry about it too much.

Oh, and bathe in the blood of virgins. Twice a month ought to do it.
posted by hot soup girl at 9:32 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

My ex is 50 and he has amazing skin. He's a light skinned redhead who loves the sun, doesn't exercise much, rarely drinks water and eats lots of junk.

What he does do is get facials twice a month and exfoliates each morning in the shower.
posted by jacindahb at 10:10 AM on February 18, 2011

I don't think people are talking about the importance of beauty products here enough! (Yes, very good sunscreen is a good start.)

Clarins and Kiehls facial products--the appropriate moisturizers for your skin type--and twice-daily slatherings of aloe vera (the real stuff! With no alcohol in it!) are a good start. Never "rub" your face with a towel after showering; you pat dry.

Also using excellent shave cream and a good razor are important too.

Rich people use these sorts of products INCESSANTLY. Believe me. :)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:15 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yes, what RJ Reynolds said. Older guys who are going to the gym are likely to be older guys who are actively engaged in self-care, both at the health level and at the grooming level.

Also, genetic luck is key. I have amazing skin, which I get from my mum's family of amazing-skinned people. The Brother has difficult skin (adolescent acne, adult rosacea, wrinkles), which he gets from my dad's family of people who look more or less like the English royal family. I think he does better at caring for his skin than I do, but nonetheless I look many years younger because genes.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:20 AM on February 18, 2011

My dad both smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish, and the only exercise he got was running to cash in his Daily Double ticket at Bay Meadows, yet he continued to look like a fucking movie star until shortly before his death (from stomach cancer).

Another vote for pure luck and genetics.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:42 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ironically, my boyfriend was just making fun of me last night for my dedication to skin care. I'm going to answer this anyways.

A) Everybody has already stated the importance of good genes. Good genes will keep your skin from sagging off your bones and maybe prevent some roughness/wrinkling. However,

B) Most skin aging is caused by the sun (about 80-90%). Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every single day.

C) Some more skin aging is caused by stress. Exercise, saunas, and showers all reduce stress hormones. Guess what the gym has? All three.

D) Get a prescription for tretinoin. It has been proven to reduce signs of sun damage on the skin. Additionally, topical green tea, B3, vitamin C, bladderwrack, and turmeric extract will also improve the condition of your skin and protect it from oxidative damage. There have been studies on all of these things.

E) Eat lots of vegetables, fruit (both fresh and preserved), fish, poultry, eggs, and low-fat milk products. Studies have shown that older people who have included those things in their diet have lower incidences of wrinkling. Just to be safe, you could take vitamins too. I know I do!

F) Wash your face with a gentle cleanser every night to remove nasty stuff. This is more important if you wear makeup.

G) Don't smoke! Get lots of sleep! Be happy! Surround yourself with loved ones who make you laugh! You know this already.
posted by 200burritos at 1:18 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh! There was a study done recently that showed that people who ate more fruit and vegetables got a lovely glow that was deemed more attractive than a tan. Perhaps the slightly tanned older gentlemen are just eating very well?
posted by 200burritos at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2011

Rule # 1. ASK. Go up to one of the older guys with good skin and politely say something like "Excuse me. I'm not trying to hit on you, but I really like your great complexion and I'd like to know how to keep mine that way."

Rule # 2. Watch professional athletes in interviews. Every one of them has a smooth, healthy glow. It comes from being in top condition.
posted by KRS at 1:40 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Non-invasive things you can do, other than using moisturizer, sunblock, and a gentle ph-balanced cleanser:

1. Topical Vitamin C: This is unstable in the cheaper formulations, but one of the better brands is Skinceuticals.

2. Tretinoin: Has its detractors, but if you use it carefully and follow directions (such as "more is not better" and "apply at night only"), it is amazing after the first few weeks of mild flaking. You need a prescription for this. More details here. Here is a list of various clinically-proven topical treatments.
posted by prenominal at 2:36 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

They might just be relaxed (since exercise is a stress-reliever). When I'm getting outside, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, eating home made things - I'm so relaxed. And my skin looks great. So, do whatever relaxes you.
posted by shinyshiny at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I will add to the chorus of "good genes." My parents both look younger than 70, and my sister and I both look younger than 40.

However, we all take great care of our skin, too. We avoid excessive sun, we're a non-smoking family, and the women of our family are not big users of cosmetics. I think my mom has never worn foundation. My guess is that men, because they use makeup much less frequently than women, haven't chemically damaged their skin like a lot of women have.

Also, my family loves red wine, and I hear that has anti-aging properties.
posted by xenophile at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think a lot of guys who are older now probably had a beard for a great deal of their life (and maybe shaved it off relatively recently). I certainly know a few people in that age bracket who did this. The facial hair will have protected that part of their skin from the sun. The best way to mimic this without growing the facial hair yourself would be daily sunscreen.
posted by lollusc at 4:34 PM on February 18, 2011

Avoid things that promote inflammation; so much of aging's effects are caused by the cumulative damage of inflammation. Foods like wheat, fructose, and vegetable oils are hugely imflammatory, for example.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 4:50 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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