Though aging is a normal part of life, it's always been something the human race has tried to avoid (or at least postpone). From lengthy missions set out to discover the elusive fountain of youth to bizarre rituals performed in hopes of maintaining a youthful appearance, people will do almost anything to retain their baby face.
Though I can't point you in the direction of that mysterious fountain, I can provide a little info and insight into which anti-aging products are worth your money and what you should be using according to your age.
Even if you've never found a wrinkle or gray hair on your body -- or you have so many you feel overwhelmed and hopeless -- it may do you some good to at least skim the information below.
Teens & 20s
Believe it or not, you have a lot of control over how you age. Men and women who take care of their bodies often look 10, 15 and even 20 years younger than their true age as they approach retirement age.
The key, of course, is to start taking care of your body beginning in your teen years and 20s. It's important to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise frequently and avoid excess sun exposure. Doing so prolongs skin's elasticity, postpones wrinkles and fine lines and keeps bones, muscles and your internal body in ship-shape condition.
Wear an SPF of at least 15+ on a daily basis -- even in the winter months. Make sure to cover any skin that's exposed to the sun's UV rays, including your face, hands and lips.
Cosmetics that incorporate an SPF into their recipe are always a great buy. Try Marie Veronique Organic's Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 with Light Tint
($50), which provides essential everyday UVA/UVB protection and defends against premature aging.
Allover sunscreens are also a must to protect arms, legs, neck and hands. Try TOCCA's Stella SPF 30+ Sunscreen Towelettes
($12 - $14), Origin's Outsmart Daily SPF 25 Sunscreen
($22) or Solar Sense's Clear Zinc Advanced Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sunscreen SPF 50
As for that dreaded fitness routine. I know the pain, sweat and tears that go into maintaining a regular workout regimen. The key to staying strong -- literally -- is to switch up your routine often. This prevents boredom and helps avoid overworking the same muscles.
Try a fun program, such as the celebrity-adored Zumba Exhilarate 7-DVD Set
($89.95). Zumba is a Latin dance and workout fusion that's just as fun as it is good for you. Basically, it doesn't feel like you're working out, but you burn a megaton of calories.
You can also incorporate various workout equipment into your workout routine to keep things exciting. Try free weights
, jump rope, exercise balls
or workout equipment. The CoreBody Reformer by Nautilus
($279) is an excellent option. It provides an intense, yet easy, workout that targets your abdominal region.
30s & 40s
Those in their 30s and 40s certainly qualify as a young'n, but you can never start an anti-aging routine too early. Doing so prevents and delays crepey skin, fine lines and deep wrinkles that occur on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth.
By the time you reach your 30s, you should already have a consistent skincare routine. If postponing signs of age is important to you, that skincare routine should incorporate products with anti-aging properties.
Every basic skincare routine should consist of a cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer and an anti-wrinkle serum. Though it's best to buy and use products from the same line, you can always pick and choose various products that seem to work best for your skin.
Joanna Vargas' skincare line
is a great place to start. Though a little pricey, her four product line utilizes natural ingredients that've proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture. The line includes everything you need -- a Vitamin C Face Wash
($65), Daily Serum
($85), Rejuvenating Serum
($100) and Exfoliating Mask
As for buying products individually, it's a matter of testing and sampling until you find something that works for you. Anti-wrinkle cleansers with high marks include Olay Regenerist's Daily Regenerating Cleanser
($6) -- which doubles as an exfoliator -- and Phytomer's Ogenage Toning Cleansing Emulsion
($39), with combats and delays the first signs of aging.
As for moisturizers, try Philosophy's Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer
($90), Murad's Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 20
($46) or L'Oreal's Skin Expertise Collagen Moisture Filler Day/Night Cream
($11.50). For serums, consider Alterna's Caviar Anti-Aging Polishing Serum
($26) or Bioelements Probiotic Anti Aging Serum
Fabulous femmes in their 50s and beyond often deal with aging issues such as dry skin and hair, worry lines and a loss of skin elasticity.
If your goal is to blast away fine lines, you'll want to invest in an intensive wrinkle cream that targets specific problem areas. Areas most prone to deep wrinkles are around the eyes and mouth, forehead and neck.
One well-received product that targets eyes is NEOCUTIS's Lumiere Riche Bio-Restorative Eye Balm
($80). Winner of InStyle's 2011 Pick for Best Beauty Buy, Lumiere reduces fine lines and revitalizes the delicate area around the eyes. It does so with the help of PSP, the most complete protein blend of Human Growth Factors, Cytokines and Interleukins available on the market.
Another favorite is Phytomer's Expert Youth Wrinkle Correction Cream
($99.50), an expert formula that contains high-tech ingredients designed to reactivate the natural function of the cells for smooth, replenished looking skin.
Dry skin and reduced collagen levels are another aging woe. You'll want a heavy duty moisturizer or serum to combat this issue. Choose one that rejuvenates the skin and stimulates collagen production for best results. Ingredients that do that include peptides, retinol and collagen itself. Try Murad's Hormonal Aging Resurgence Age-Difference Serum
($72) and H20 Plus's Aquafirm Micro-Collagen Moisturizer
As for dry hair, many anti-aging and rejuvenation hair products
are available for purchase. Such products deeply hydrate dried out locks, restore shine and strength to the hair shaft for a younger looking mane and stimulate hair growth. G Mele's Anti-Aging Hair System
($39.95) has been well received and is inexpensive, as well. The products contain antioxidants, natural sugars, proteins and lipids for hair that look younger and more vibrant, and is softer, shinier and more manageable in as little as two weeks. Also consider JOICO's K-Pak Intense Hydrator Treatment for Dry, Damaged Hair
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