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The #1 Fastest Way to Look Younger, Says Science

No Botox required.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

All the cosmetic surgery in the world can't undo the damage of an unhealthy lifestyle, but adapting just a few health habits can turn back the clock—both on the outside and the inside. Here are five things that will make you look younger, 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.


Sun Protection

woman applying sunscreen lotion standing outdoors at the urban location during the sunny weather

Protecting your skin from the sun can take years off your face, experts say. "Sun exposure depletes collagen, which keeps the skin smooth and firm," says dermatologist E. Victor Ross, MD. "It can dilate blood vessels to give skin a red tone. And it causes the brown pigment in the skin to be more pronounced, which can make the skin look blotchy. It also creates something called elastotic material, which creates a cobblestone appearance in the skin."


Manage Stress

Stressed woman pulling her hair

Managing stress in a healthy manner not only helps you look younger, it can prevent premature aging on a cellular level. "While stressful, a moment of stress here and there isn't problematic. It's the chronic, long-term stress that can wear our bodies down and lead to premature aging," says Mona Brownfield, MD. "Research has found the hormones produced with chronic stress can age our brain and immune systems. Those who are constantly stressed have higher instances of dementia and memory loss, as well as more damaged cells within their immune systems. Stress also lends itself to high blood pressure, making you more susceptible to heart disease and other conditions typically found in older populations."



women take workout selfie in mirror

Not only does exercise give your skin an incredible youthful glow, it encourages anti-aging on a cellular level. "Running allows your muscles to behave like much more youthful muscles," says Justus Ortega, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology and the director of the Biomechanics Lab at Humboldt State University. "It's this crazy trickle-down effect. If you're able to keep your mitochondria in a more healthy state through running, that allows you to be more active in all the other aspects of your life, and that can help to stave off all the things that we typically see with aging–heart disease, diabetes, obesity, bone loss."


Stop Smoking

Hand stubbed out cigarette in a transparent ashtray on wooden table

Smoking is terrible for your health, and terrible for your skin. "Smoking can speed up the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles and other changes to the appearance of your face," says J. Taylor Hays, M.D. "These changes include crow's-feet, pronounced lines between the eyebrows, uneven skin complexion, a grayish tone on lighter skin, deep creases and puffiness below the eyes, wrinkles around the mouth, and thinner lips… The damage to your skin from smoking can't be reversed. But if you quit smoking now, you will no longer accelerate the problem and may prevent worsening of the damage."


Sleep Is the Fastest Way To Look Younger

older couple sleeping peacefully

It's called "beauty sleep" for a reason—getting enough sleep can take years off your appearance. "Human growth hormone (HGH) has its highest production during slow-wave sleep," says Shelby Freedman Harris, Psy.D. "HGH is a key player in keeping us looking young even after we've finished growing. HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and is in high levels during childhood and adolescence. After we've grown, HGH levels drop off and stay at low, steady levels during adulthood. Deficiencies in HGH can lead to reduced muscle mass, slower metabolism, more belly fat and sagging skin. Sleep more, and you'll likely increase your HGH levels."

Ferozan Mast
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 about Ferozan
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