Your Preventative Anti-Aging Guide

Anti-AgingWith a little care, you can defy early signs of aging. Experts share their clock-stopping secrets to staying beautiful in your 30s, 40s, and even 50s.

In Your 30s: Prevent fine lines from transforming into deep-set wrinkles.

Defense strategy:
Step 1: Cleanse with an alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic acid face wash to remove dead cells and keep skin radiant. Then, smooth on an antioxidant-packed lotion to protect against damaging free radicals. Look for formulas that have several antioxidants, such as vitamin C, green tea extract, and collagen-boosting peptides, says New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross.

Step 2: Before bed, apply retinol to promote production of collagen and elastin (structural fibers that keep skin firm).

Step 3: Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. It's the number one defense against premature wrinkling. Beginning to see crow's feet? Keep those pesky lines from intensifying! Pat on a hydrating treatment like Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream ($95, amazon.com) and protect your peepers with a pair of sunglasses. It shields the eye area and eliminates squinting, which can deepen fine lines.

Related: Anti-Aging Awards: Makeup

In Your 30s: Prevent age spots.

Defense strategy:
Step 1: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Skin-damaging UV rays are present 12 months a year. Sun exposure is the main culprit for dark spots, wrinkles, and grayish skin tone. Remember to slather sunblock on the backs of your hands too.

Step 2: When going out, especially during the sun's peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) throw on a wide-brimmed hat to maximize protection from intense ultraviolet rays.

In Your 30s: Prevent yellow teeth.

Defense strategy:
Step 1: Rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating and drinking to reduce staining. Dark beverages such as coffee, red wine, and cola are the most common offenders.

Step 2: Brush twice a day and floss daily. This keeps teeth white by preventing cavities and plaque buildup. The ideal time to floss is before bed. "You're getting all the debris out from the day and going to sleep with clean gums and teeth," says New York dentist Nancy Rosen, DMD (doctor of dental medicine).

Step 3: If you notice surface stains, gently brush with baking soda and water to remove discoloration.

Related: Anti-Aging Ingredients You Should Know

In Your 40s: Prevent enlarged pores.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Smooth on retinol nightly to boost cell turnover and cellular repair. "Pores expand because the collagen fibers in the walls around them are diminishing," says Gross.

Step 2: Dab on a moisturizer that has both peptides (to strengthen collagen) and UVA/UVB sun protection (to prevent early breakdown of these fibers).

Step 3: Once a week, exfoliate with a glycolic acid peel to slough off dead cells and deep clean pores.

In Your 40s: Prevent thinning lips.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Morning and night, glide on a treatment that contains peptides and hyaluronic acid to keep lips plump and smooth.

Step 2: Apply sunscreen if you want a full pout for years to come! Like the rest of your skin, sun damage speeds up collagen breakdown, making lips lose volume.

Step 3: "When choosing lipsticks, go for hydrating formulas and bright shades like pink, peach or rose," suggests New York makeup artist Keiko Hiramoto. Moisturized lips in light hues make them look fuller than dark, matte colors.

In Your 40s: Prevent brittle, frizzy hair.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Minimize heat styling and chemical processes like straightening or coloring. With age, hair becomes more delicate and the scalp becomes drier. Hormone changes can cause strands to become brittle and thin, so it's essential to limit damage.

"When you're a baby, you have approximately 1100 hair follicles," says cosmetic chemist James Grundy. "By the age of 25, you have approximately 600. As you get older, around ages 30 to 50, hair follicles decrease to 250 to 300."

Step 2: Switch to shampoos and conditioners that have amino acids, vitamins, and lipids. These ingredients help strengthen hair and maintain a healthy scalp. Try Eufora Volumizing Shampoo ($29, beautifyingelixirs.com).

Step 3: Keep up your hairstyle with regular cuts every four to six weeks, says Britney Huinker, owner of the Argyle Salon in Los Angeles, California.

Related: Makeup Mistakes That Age You

In Your 40s: Prevent sparse eyebrows.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Stop tweezing and waxing your arches. "The fuller your eyebrows, the more youthful you look so don't over pluck," says Vivian Bucay, dermatologist in San Antonio, Texas.

Step 2: Strengthen existing brows with a conditioning serum like RevitaLash RevitaBrow Advanced treatment, which has peptides and botanicals to nourish hair ($110, nordstrom.com).

In Your 50s and up: Prevent hollow eyes.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Dab on an eye treatment that contains hyaluronic acid, retinoic acid, and neuropeptides. These ingredients plump, as well as stimulate collagen and elastin production to prevent that sunken look.

Step 2: Choose skin-nourishing makeup. "Getting anti-aging benefits from your concealer or eyeshadow has become easy," says makeup artist Kerry Cole. Pick one that is infused with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamin E. Try Becca Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer ($32, amazon.com).

Step 3: Sleep with your head elevated to prevent fluids from collecting in the eyelids and causing puffiness, which can cast shadows under the eyes.

In Your 50s and up: Prevent a saggy jawline.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Exfoliate down to your chin and neck with an alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic or lactic acid. This stimulates collagen regeneration and evens out skin tone.

Step 2: Massage in a firming serum that contains retinol and peptides to strengthen collagen as well as elastin fibers. Strengthening the skin's support structure keeps skin taut, preventing jowls that result from lost volume.

Step 3: Moisturize with powerful antioxidant ingredients such as coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, and alpha lipoic acid. They fight off free radicals that break down collagen, and improve elasticity and resilience.

Step 4: Slather on sunscreen. We can't say it enough. It is the most effective way to prevent slack skin.

In Your 50s and up: Prevent a rough, blotchy complexion.

Defense strategy
Step 1: Switch to a mild, non-foaming cleanser. Since oil production slows down and skin loses moisture with age, be gentle on your complexion.

Step 2: Within three minutes of patting skin dry, lock in moisture with a rich hydrator like Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid and shea butter ($24, amazon.com).

Step 3: Apply a retinoid-based cream after moisturizing - this will help buffer skin from possible irritation. If your skin is still sensitive, limit application to two times a week and slowly build up tolerance.

How do you fight the signs of aging? Let me know in the comments section!

--By Carol Kim

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