“Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man.”
December 28, 2005 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm 22, female, and caucasian. I (try to) wear sunscreen every day. I use self tanner instead of tanning beds. What else do I need to be doing to keep myself looking young?

I really want to fight ageing as much as possible. I want to look like I do now in my late thirties as much as possible.

What should I be doing everyday to prevent my skin from ageing? What creams and potions are best? Should I be taking anything orally?

How do I still look 22 in 20 years?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Drink water, exercise, moisturizer + SPF (w/UVA, i.e. Cetaphil) every day, eat well. Don't smoke, lay off the alcohol. You can add any number of eye creams and that on top but those are the basics.
posted by kcm at 6:50 PM on December 28, 2005

Wear a good pair of sunglasses, and don't forget to your SPF on your body as well as your face.

And accept the fact that no matter how hard you try, someday you aren't going to look 22 anymore.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:58 PM on December 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Come to terms with the fact that no matter what you do, you won't still look 22 in 20 years.
posted by furtive at 6:58 PM on December 28, 2005

I suppose you could start doing Botox now, or very soon. I wonder if you start really young, if your face never ages? Has there been any research on this?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:01 PM on December 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yep. There is no simply no way to look 22 at 42.

Also keep in mind that there are significant tradeoffs to every choice. kcm and ThePinkSuperhero mention using sunscreen every day. That will certainly help prevent skin cancer and skin damage leading to aging. On the other hand, it may also prevent your skin from generating enough Vitamin D. And not enough Vitamin D is almost certainly associated with developing multiple sclerosis and certain other kinds of cancers.
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on December 28, 2005

Lots of water, no smoking, exercise, sunglasses, adequate sleep. Also, come to terms with the fact that at 42 you won't look 22. It sounds like you are level headed and smart, you are off to a good start.

May sound strange, but try not to furrow (sp?) your brow. I try very hard not to, and I am noticing that many people my age (41) have a permanent furrow in place.

I wouldn't do Botox, it's for people that already have problems. No need to inject something potentially dangerous before it's needed. Some people get through life looking great without it.

Oh yeah, and good genes help all of the above!
posted by 6:1 at 7:08 PM on December 28, 2005

Sunlight and vitamin D is most beneficial to prevent prostate cancer, from my experience - not an issue here. UV exposure is most linked to melanoma (the worst skin cancer) in early age, and weakly at that, but it DOES prevent wrinkles and BCC/SCC, which on the face can cause disfiguring scars to remove.

Most medical research shows that the majority of people receive enough vitamin D from normal exposure through windows while working and driving, and that 15 minutes of unscreened exposure a few times a week is more than enough. True, you will get nowhere near the same amount through supplements, but it's no license to go sunbathing for health. :)
posted by kcm at 7:10 PM on December 28, 2005

try not to furrow your brow.

Yes, indeed. Specifically, make sure you have good stress-managing techniques and resources. Look at those Buddhist monks and how baby-faced many of them seem to remain, even later in life. Try to maintain serenity in your life.
posted by Gator at 7:21 PM on December 28, 2005

moisturizer on the face and lots of water. i don't necessarily agree with the no smoking. i'm in my mid-40s and look at least 10 years younger and i smoke. maybe it's genes?
posted by brandz at 7:28 PM on December 28, 2005

I use self tanner instead of tanning beds.

I'm not sure what this means, but I'd say: stay out of the sun as much as you possibly can. I do, and most people think I'm at least five years younger than I actually am.

The sun (and, I guess, worry) is the number one aging thing we have on this planet. It turns people into leather.
posted by interrobang at 7:30 PM on December 28, 2005

Make sure you eat enough fats: avocadoes, salmon, olive oil are good. They keep your skin elastic.
posted by occhiblu at 7:35 PM on December 28, 2005

Do not, under any circumstances, smoke. If you do, make it a priority to quit. It ages so, so fast you have no idea.

Also, flossing does wonders for later in life.

And when you're putting sunscreen on each morning, remember to put it on your hands too. Old hands are a dead giveaway to someone's age, no matter how young their face looks.
posted by Brittanie at 7:43 PM on December 28, 2005

Use moisturizer/sunscreen every day, wear sunglasses in all daylight (unless it's raining), avoid tanning/burning at all costs, and quit smoking. That's been my recipe; I'm almost 37 and don't have a single line under my eyes (and barely any lines elsewhere), and while I certainly don't look like I'm 20, I'm frequently mistaken for being in my late 20s.
posted by scody at 7:47 PM on December 28, 2005

Well, it is a family secret, and a well guarded one. Your so called "medical science" will never figure it out, but sometimes it gets lucky ;-)

Time magazine had a cover story about healthy aging. The "mountebank" has a web site that might answer some of your questions (see Q&A section). Regarding vitamin D, a new study was in the news today.

I commend your wish to set long term goals, but why stop at 42 (except for being the answer to everything)? Identify people of ages 50, 70, 90 who you like and ask them how they got there.
posted by CountOfStGermain at 7:55 PM on December 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Just like hands can tell your age if you don't moisturize them, don't forget your neck in your whole skin care regimen! It won't matter how smooth and line-free your face appears if you have a wrinkly neck!

Also, if you have skin that tends to be oily, you will probably age better. My mom's in her mid-50s and she looks at least 10 years younger because she had oily skin as a young woman. I have skin like my mother's and while it was the bane of my existence as a teenager, she would console me with the promise of aging gracefully.

I also second the call to avoid lines on your forehead by trying not to furrow your brow. It sounds silly but when you're talking to someone, make sure your head is up so that you're not looking up at the person you're addressing. My mother chastises me for that on occasion but she must be doing something right so I try not to roll my eyes with impatience when she does--just don't tell her I said that!
posted by phoenixc at 8:49 PM on December 28, 2005

I think Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey has a good take on this:

(speaking about Britney Spears on October 7th, 2000's Weekend Update)

"But I say, ladies, give it up. Britney's ass looks good. Look at that ass. That is a cherry bomb. You gotta look at that thing through a hole in a paper plate. Britney, in about five years that whole area is gonna blow, so enjoy it now. Have it photographed as much as possible. Rub it with fine oils and liniments. You will miss it when it's gone."

Remember, people age. It's part of life. There's nothing sadder than someone who won't accept reality—bald men with comb-overs or ratty ponytails, middle-aged women in pigtails or their daughters clothes—denial, clutching at straws... these are not attractive things.

That said, be nice to children and the elderly and always make a point to pet friendly dogs. These things will keep you beautiful well past one hundred.
posted by blueberry at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2005

I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.

You want to look young? Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and remove the stress from your life. Start by cutting out all worry that looking old is "bad" or undesirable. Not being so vain can only help. Stop putting creams, preservatives, and other bullshit onto your flesh (and into your body).

Be as confident and self-assured as you can be at all times.

Don't be afraid of living a full life, which involves ALL emotions including those that will wrinkle your brow. Know that experiencing as many things as you can builds character and that interesting-looking people are more attractive than bland-looking people (even young-looking, bland-looking people).

I can't believe there are people who put sunscreen on every day! What's wrong with you people?
posted by dobbs at 9:07 PM on December 28, 2005

two 4" scars on my back and bi-yearly visits to a dermatologist specializing in melanoma is what's wrong with me, personally. plus, it's in my moisturizer!
posted by kcm at 9:10 PM on December 28, 2005

Not to sound like a broken record here, but if you want to avoid premature aging, do NOT smoke cigarettes! It really, really ages people. It gives people little lines all around the lips, yellowed skin, a lowered raspy voice, and a really unattractive cough. Oh, and a stench. Blech.

Other than that, drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet (and do remember those "good" fats, as occhiblu said, or else you get dry skin and dull hair, the former of which may wrinkle more), take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement every day, get a little exercise, and get lots of sleep.

Basically, just live a healthy lifestyle and you should look healthy and be healthy. That's the best that any of us can hope for.

(But a little moisturizer doesn't hurt either.)
posted by Asparagirl at 9:52 PM on December 28, 2005

I think ageing gracefully is better than trying to fight it. There's something quite sad about an old man with a comb-over, or a middle-aged woman with ink-black hair straight from a bottle. And if this woman eventually decides to "let herself go", the sudden change from jet black to gray is far more jarring than the gradual change over the years.

As far as caring for your skin, it sounds like you're being pretty reasonable. Personally, I think wrinkles are part of ageing gracefully and they're what gives a face its character. (I think Abraham Lincoln said something like "After age 40, every man is responsible for his face" - i.e., laugh lines and worry frowns are a product of one's personality.) It would be awful to look like Barbie forever! But melanoma is a valid concern and moisturizer keeps skin feeling better, especially in dry winter weather.

I'm 45 and I've never been a beauty, nor do I do anything special for my skin or hair, but I'm starting to think I'm looking better than many of my peers. I simply don't worry about aging, while many women my age fight it with everything they've got. Sadly, it usually shows, and they just look like they're desperate. I have some gray hair and my share of wrinkles, but that's fine - I've "earned" my face.

And as many have commented up-thread, the serenity that comes from not worrying about ageing can ironically keep you looking younger than fighting it! Be sensible, live a healthy life, and be a good person. The rest will take care of itself.
posted by Quietgal at 9:58 PM on December 28, 2005

You also probably want your body to stay nice, too right? Exercise a lot and keep off the body fat. Eat healthy. Look at Madonna, she's like 48 or something and her body is like a rock (still, she doesn’t look 'young' but not 'old' either. It's kind of weird).
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on December 28, 2005

I am one of those people who looks young. I get carded very regularly despite the fact that I'm, uh, not in my 20s anymore. My advice: be aware that aging is inevitable; sunscreen and moisturizer everyday; NO TANNING AT ALL EVEN OUT OF A BOTTLE; do all the general good for body stuff like work out, eat right, don't smoke; don't worry about botox until you have something to botox, and then be really picky who you let inject toxins into your face; regular exfoliation is a good thing, but don't get more complicated than a washcloth without professional advice.
posted by ilsa at 10:20 PM on December 28, 2005

Quit anything to which you're addicted, including vanity.
posted by raider at 10:23 PM on December 28, 2005

I can't believe there are people who put sunscreen on every day! What's wrong with you people?

I live in L.A. (it's sunny here rather a lot of the time) and I am extremely fair-skinned (think Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam: "I don't burn, I stroke.") If I didn't put on sunscreen every day, I'd be a melanoma magnet. Not sure how that means there's anything "wrong" with me, though one can certainly quibble at times about the wisdom of living in SoCal.
posted by scody at 10:42 PM on December 28, 2005

Also, the sunscreen that I'm talking about is SPF 15, and it comes already in my moisturizer. It's not like I'm slathering zinc oxide onto my nose and shoulders before I go to my office job.
posted by scody at 10:44 PM on December 28, 2005

Smile as much as you possibly can, but don't fake smile, only smile because you're actually happy (or thinking happy thoughts maybe?). Over time the muscles in your face will look more and more like you're smiling, even when you're not. If you've been happy enough throughout your life, by the time you reach forty, you will be gorgeous. People that look happy are much more attractive, and approachable, and having an eternal smile is beautiful (although there are certainly other types of aging that are beautiful too, but this is the easiest.) This is what I have gathered from watching sciency TV shows all my life, and certainly goes with what Quietgal said Abraham Lincoln said.
posted by JackarypQQ at 11:39 PM on December 28, 2005

I'm also 22 and have recently noticed that I have two fine lines under each eye. They are small and I can only see them if I look really close, but I am pissed off because I do everything I'm supposed to do - I drink 2L of water every day, I have never smoked, I'm extremely pale so I never, ever tan, I do a reasonable amount of exercise. The only "bad" things are that I don't sleep very well and I will sometimes squint when I don't have my contacts in (which I'm trying to stop doing).

Since it seems that lines under/around the eyes are the first signs of ageing, is there anything that can get rid of them or at least stop anymore from appearing for awhile? I can't possibly have wrinkles at 22!
posted by speranza at 3:14 AM on December 29, 2005

Start saving now for surgery and therapy.
posted by filmgeek at 5:12 AM on December 29, 2005

That was helpful...
posted by speranza at 5:23 AM on December 29, 2005

I suspect, but can't know for sure, that the fact that I never had children is one of the reasons I look young for my age (early 40s, and still carded about once a year). I didn't not have them for that reason, but there's an idea for you anyway.

The thing is, when you get to your 40s, be prepared to have people not take you very seriously because they're always underestimating your age and your life experience. I was a member of a couple of local boards for a while, and finally gave up trying to get the other only-half-a-generation-older members to understand that I was not a sweet young thing just starting out in life.
posted by JanetLand at 5:28 AM on December 29, 2005

Don't forget that your lip gloss/ lipstick should have also provide sun protection.
posted by TheLibrarian at 5:52 AM on December 29, 2005

Avoid binge drinking. I know beautiful girls who went to college, partied hard, and came out the other side looking like they were rode hard and hung up wet. Alcohol is dehydrating, and those calories go to the neck and jowls just as fast as the thighs and hips. Tara Reid is a case study in what not to do.
posted by junkbox at 6:19 AM on December 29, 2005

Really, a lot of it is genetic. I look young for my age, as does my mom, as did my grandmother and her mother. Other than that, the biggest thing that makes some look younger than other women my age (30s) is the effects of continued sun damage. You're already hitting the sunscreen, so you'll be fine.

You're not going to look 22 at 42, though. Your boobs will be lower.
posted by desuetude at 6:29 AM on December 29, 2005

In addition to the "don't binge drink" advice above, don't smoke. Smoking really ages a person.
posted by cass at 9:26 AM on December 29, 2005

I know advice that starts with "I read an article once..." isn't the most helpful, but the article in question did concern 20-somethings who begin Botox injections now to prevent aging. The verdict was that Botox doesn't work forever-there's a limit to how many times it'll work for you, and it's silly to use those times up before you even have any wrinkles.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:02 AM on December 29, 2005

Don't smoke. I didn't look old at 40+, but at kissing 60 on the cheek, it'll show, big time.

I knew a hairdresser who said take care of your neck, it goes first, and she seems to be right.

Good genetics help. But the most important thing it to lower your standards. Not to sound like I know everything, but some of us show our age earlier than others, and outside of avoiding UV exposure and other bad habits, there's not a lot to stave it off. The best thing is to look at folks your age and figure you look better than they do. Some will, some won't.

The most important thing seems to be attitude. I look every day of my age (I think) but I still have the same opinions and attitudes I did at 30, and folks I know well still think I'm a lot younger than I am, just because "people as old as that act different than you."
posted by deep_cover at 3:34 PM on December 29, 2005

posted by deep_cover at 3:36 PM on December 29, 2005

I always notice folks who haven't had children look younger, I think it's because they don't have as much to worry about, but that's just my opinion. You may wish to bear that in mind when comparing yourself to others.
posted by deep_cover at 4:11 PM on December 29, 2005

yoga every day is a really good habit to develop, it help with flexibility, stress, overall health & well being, plus keeps you toned & fit. There are even some exercises that supposedly help keep your face healthy & offset wrinkles(Viparita Karani?).
posted by octavia at 11:20 AM on December 30, 2005

« Older What laptop should I buy?   |   How do I sell a beanie? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.