While plastic surgery is more popular than ever, going under the knife comes with considerable risks (and a hefty price tag) that make it undesirable for some. Luckily, it is possible to restore a youthful glow without surgery.
According to The Allure Aging Survey, 56 percent of women are worried about the physical signs of aging. Fine lines, dark circles, age spots, dry skin, and thinning hair are just a few of the unavoidable aspects of getting older that keep us up at night. While plastic surgery is more popular than ever, going under the knife comes with considerable risks (and a hefty price tag) that make it undesirable for some. Luckily, it is possible to restore a youthful glow without surgery.
What makes us look older?
If you hold two pictures of yourself side by side, taken five years apart, it is indisputable that you look older. However, the changes are so subtle and gradual that you cannot put your finger on exactly why you appear more mature looking. What are these changes?
Often, it is the loss of fat in the face. The full, soft look we associate with youth is lost as bone structure changes and facial fat fades away and, as a result, you are left with loose, sagging skin.
Youthful skin also has elasticity. As we age, the fibers responsible for giving our complexions a firm, smooth appearance become weak. Sun damage is another big factor that contributes to an older look. Years of baking in tanning beds and unprotected sun exposure show up on our faces as fine lines, wrinkles, pigmented areas, and rough patches. To make matters worse, the tiny oil glands that keep our skin soft and supple decrease in number and contribute to dry skin as we age.
Qualities that make us appear younger
In a study of Danish and British females between the ages of 45 and 81, researchers found that women who look young for their age have a few things in common. They have large lips, avoid sun exposure, and were blessed with vibrant hair and fewer wrinkles. The study also demonstrated that perceived age is a better indicator of skin, hair, and facial aging than chronological age. In other words, age is nothing but a number.
No matter how many candles are on your birthday cake this year, there are many ways you can reverse the signs of aging for a more youthful, vibrant look. The best part? You do not even need to go under the knife. Here are nine ways to look younger without surgery.
1. Vitamin C
Beauty bloggers and dermatologists are raving about vitamin C for anti-aging. It can improve the appearance and texture of your skin for a more youthful look. Vitamin C is one of three antioxidants proven to decrease the sun’s harmful effect on the skin and prevent future damage. It also encourages collagen production to promote skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. What’s more, this miracle antioxidant targets stubborn skin discoloration and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, redness, and undereye circles.
One of the best ways to add vitamin C to your skincare routine is with a serum. After cleansing and toning, spread a pea-sized amount of vitamin C serum on your face and allow it to absorb for a few minutes before following up with moisturizer and makeup.
2. Dermal fillers
These anti-aging injectables fill in wrinkles and depressions, replenishing lost volume to smooth your skin and promote an even complexion. Dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm® use hyaluronic acid, a sugar naturally found in the body, to soften facial wrinkles and restore volume.
“As a general rule, I favor hyaluronic acid fillers because they look the most natural and give me the greatest ability to contour a patient’s face,” says Dr. Davis Nguyen, a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
When injected into the skin, the hyaluronic acid swells and causes a smoothing, filling effect where lost volume needs to be restored. The effects of hyaluronic acid last between six and 12 months. It is important to find an experienced injector who understands facial anatomy and can give you the natural results you want. When you start to notice the anti-aging effect wearing off, it is time to schedule a touchup treatment.
As the name suggests, microneedling involves pricking the skin with tiny needles to make the skin look more youthful. The purpose of microneedling is to create microscopic channels for anti-aging products, like hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, to seep through and penetrate the deep layers of the skin.
When performed in a dermatologist’s office, the doctor will apply serum to your face and chest before moving a needling device over the treatment area, allowing for deep penetration. Even if no serum is used, the tiny injuries caused by the needles promote collagen production and builds new elastin.
The anti-aging results of microneedling are most apparent after four to five treatments. The treatment is especially effective at treating large pores, acne scars, neck lines, and wrinkles around the mouth.
4. Laser resurfacing
Laser resurfacing uses short, concentrated beams of light to remove layers of the skin for improved texture. Facial flaws like age spots, acne scars, blood vessels, wrinkles, and sun damage respond well to laser resurfacing as it smoothes out your skin for a complexion that not only looks younger, but actually is younger.
“I’m a big proponent of laser resurfacing as it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, builds a patient’s own collagen, and can, in some instances, tighten the skin,” says Dr. Nguyen. “This is achieved by harnessing the natural power of the patient’s healing process that generates younger, healthier looking skin.”
In some cases, a single treatment will improve the texture of your skin. However, most lasers require a series of treatments for the best and long-lasting results.
5. Vitamin A (Retinol)
The wrinkles and freckles we associate with aging appear most prominently on skin that has been exposed to the sun. Vitamin A, which you might also see labeled as retinol, helps fade these dark spots and stimulates the production of new skin cells. And these are just the creams and serums you can get over-the-counter.
Prescription strength retinoids can actually renew the skin by treating acne, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and evening out your skin tone. Not only can retinol boost collagen production and treat the signs of aging that are already there but also it can potentially prevent future sun damage.
Experts recommend applying retinol as part of your nightly skincare routine. Be sure to apply retinol to your eye area, which is often the first to show signs of aging. It takes an average of 12 weeks for retinol to produce noticeable anti-aging benefits, so keep it in your skincare routine for at least that long to see results.
Among the millions of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed each year, BOTOX® is one of the most popular – and for a good reason. BOTOX® is used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles in the face by paralyzing the underlying muscles. When the muscles cannot move, the overlying skin does not crease, which creates a smooth, younger-looking appearance.
BOTOX® is most often used to treat wrinkles on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eyes), and frown lines. The anti-aging effects of BOTOX® last between three and six months, depending on the area treated. It is important to note that BOTOX® will not treat wrinkles caused by sun damage. But, when paired with another treatment like microneedling, BOTOX® can produce fantastic anti-aging results.
7. Radiofrequency skin tightening
This quick and comfortable anti-aging treatment has zero downtime and leaves no scars, making it a popular way to get younger-looking skin without surgery. A radiofrequency (RF) treatment involves heating the deepest layers of the skin to encourage new collagen production and cell turnover to help the skin become firmer, thicker, and younger-looking.
While lasers work to improve the skin’s surface, radiofrequency treatments use a lower frequency to safely penetrate to a deeper level. This helps improve skin tone and structure, and it can even lift tissue. Radiofrequency treatments can be performed in tandem with injectables, microneedling, and other minimally invasive treatments to achieve complete facial rejuvenation.
The least invasive option on our list is something you may already have in your cosmetic bag. When applied with technique, makeup can transform your appearance and minimize the physical signs of aging. To create a smooth complexion, start with primer.
It helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and large pores by filling them in before you put on the rest of your makeup. Follow up with tinted moisturizer or foundation using a light touch and a sponge. Be sure to blend along your jaw to avoid an obvious line. To fake full lips, find a lip liner that matches your natural lip tone and lightly draw over the border of your lips for a fuller pout. Top with a sheer gloss for a finished look.
Bold and defined eyebrows can also make you look younger. Look for a brow pencil that is a cross between a pencil and a powder to fill in any gaps and create the illusion of fuller brows. To enhance your eyes, use a cream shadow in a neutral shade and apply powder illuminator to the inner corner of your eyes. Cream and silicone-based cosmetics work best for aging complexions because they “melt” into the skin and offer a flawless, natural-looking finish. Avoid powder, which settles into fine lines and can actually make the signs of aging more apparent.
Just as your hair thins with age, your eyebrows may start to look sparse as you get older. Microblading is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that can give you the appearance of thick, lush brows to lift your face and make you look younger. The technique involves using a hand-controlleddevice with ultrafine needles to make microscopic strokes in the skin. The strokes are filled in with semi-permanent pigment that resemble your natural eyebrow hair to create a defined shape and fuller look. About four to six weeks after your initial microblading appointment, you will need to see your technician for a touchup. Other than that, maintenance is minimal. The results of microblading last between one and three years, depending on your skin type. To keep your brows looking fresh and full, experts recommend a touch up every 12 to 18 months.