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What can make my hands look younger?

If age spots, wrinkly skin, or other signs of aging bother you, you can have more youthful-looking hands. Thanks to advances in dermatology, it’s possible to diminish these signs of aging safely and with little or no downtime.

Age spots

Many adults develop age spots on their hands. These spots tend to gradually increase in size with age and time spent in the sun.

Treatment: You have options. A board-certified dermatologist can effectively lighten or remove age spots on your hands with:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)

  • Laser therapy

  • Chemical peeling

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Skin-lightening creams and lotions

The creams and lotions take the longest to deliver results, but they cost less.

Skin-lightening creams: How to use them safely

Rough, scaly patches (AKs)

If you have fair skin and spent quite a bit of time in the sun without sun protection, you may notice rough patches on your skin. Rough patches frequently develop on our hands because the hands get lots of sun.

These rough patches may be actinic keratoses (AKs), which are precancerous growths. AKs usually develop in fair-skinned people who are 40 years of age or older.

AKs can develop earlier if you used tanning beds or live in a state that gets lots of sunshine, such as Florida or California.

Treatment: To find out how dermatologists diagnose and treat AKs, go to, Actinic keratoses.

Do you feel a rough patch on your hand or elsewhere on your skin? If so, see a dermatologist to find out if it’s an AK. Some AKs turn into skin cancer.

Loss of youthful fullness

When hands lose their youthful fullness, skin becomes lax and starts to develop a crepe-paper-like texture. With less fullness, the veins in your hands also become more noticeable.

Treatment: To restore lost fullness, your dermatologist can inject:

  • A filler

  • Fat from another part of your body

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one filler, calcium hydroxylapatite (hi-drox-e-lap-ah-tight), to treat the hands. With this filler, you’ll see more fullness immediately. The results last 6 months to 1 year.

Other fillers are also used to restore youthful fullness to the hands. Sometimes a person’s own fat may be the most effective option.

A board-certified dermatologist who has experience rejuvenating hands with fillers (or fat) can tell you what will work best for you.

Visible veins

While a filler or fat transfer can restore youthful fullness, some veins are just too big to hide with a filler or fat transfer.

If a large vein bothers you, a dermatologist can treat it safely.

Treatment: Laser treatment is often the go-to treatment today. During this procedure, your dermatologist inserts a laser fiber into the vein and then fires the laser. This destroys the vein, which will gradually disappear.

Sclerotherapy (sclare-oh-ther-a-pee) may be another option. During this procedure, your dermatologist injects a substance into the vein to destroy it. This causes the vein to disappear slowly.

Wrinkly skin (looks like crepe paper)

Applying sunscreen to your hands every day can prevent wrinkly skin on your hands. If you haven’t been doing this and now have wrinkly skin, treatment can help.

Treatment: Your dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Lotion containing a retinol or glycolic acid (apply before bedtime)

  • Light chemical peel, every 1 to 3 months

  • Laser treatment

When treating wrinkling, the lotion and light chemical peel are often used together.

If laser treatment is an option, it can also help diminish age spots.

Loose skin

As we age, our skin loses collagen and elastin, substances that keep our skin firm and plump.

Treatment: Radiofrequency, a procedure that sends heat deep into the skin, can tighten loose skin. Most people need only one treatment on their hands.

A filler or laser treatment can also tighten loose skin.

Roughness

As we age our skin holds less water, so our skin becomes drier. This can cause your skin to feel rough.

Treatment: To smooth rough skin on your hands, your dermatologist can apply a mild chemical peel.

To maintain the results you get from treatment, it helps to apply a moisturizer every day. Your dermatologist can recommend an effective moisturizer.

Brittle nails

About 20% of us have brittle nails. You’re more likely to have brittle nails if you are a woman over 60, but anyone can develop this condition.

If you have brittle nails, you’ll likely see lines running lengthwise on your nails (ridges), as shown in this picture. You may also notice that your nails peel or break easily.

Treatment: To treat brittle nails successfully, you must stop doing everything that could be causing your brittle nails. Spending lots of time with wet hands or using harsh chemicals without wearing protective gloves can cause brittle nails.

Your dermatologist can help you figure out what’s causing your brittle nails.

After you stop doing what’s causing your brittle nails, you’ll want to rehydrate your nails, cuticles, and the surrounding skin. Your dermatologist will recommend a moisturizer, such as urea cream or mineral oil.

Most people apply the moisturizer before bedtime. After moisturizing, you may need to wear a light cotton glove. This helps your skin and nails absorb the moisturizer. You’ll wear this while you sleep.

For many patients, the above helps diminish brittle nails. Some patients need more help, such as using a special nail enamel. Your dermatologist can tell you what can help treat your brittle nails.

Making your results from hand rejuvenation last

While you cannot stop aging, there are things you can do to make your results last longer. Here’s what dermatologists recommend:

  1. Protect your hands from the sun. This is essential if you want to maintain the results you see after treatment. Many dermatologists also recommend wearing a thin, sun-protective glove while driving.

  2. Wear gloves while cleaning and gardening. Hot water, detergents, and yard work can dry your skin, which can age your hands.

  3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Applying a lotion or cream after washing your hands and bathing helps to trap water in your skin, which can plump up your skin.

  4. Keep appointments for maintenance treatments. If your dermatologist treated you in the office, getting follow-up treatments as recommended can help you maintain your results. For example, if you had a filler, you may need another injection in 8 to 12 months.

To protect your hands from the sun, apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to your hands every day before going outdoors.

Why see a dermatologist

Your results depend largely on the skill and experience of the person performing your treatment, so it’s important to see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have the expertise and training necessary to perform these treatments safely. They can also tell you whether a treatment will deliver the results you seek, given the condition of your skin, your age, and your health.

Related AAD resources

  • Ask a dermatologist: How can I keep hands looking youthful?

Images
1,2,9: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54:S262-71.

  • J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013;68:S2-9.

  • J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;57:31-6.

4: Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

3,5,6,7,8,10: Getty Images

American Academy of Dermatology, “Dermatologists have firm grip on new treatments for the aging hand.” News release issued August 4, 2011. Last accessed November 10, 2017.

Ortonne, JP, Pandya AG, et al. “Treatment of solar lentigines.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;54:S262-71.

Rosen T, Lebwohl MG. “Prevalence and awareness of actinic keratosis: Barriers and opportunities.” J Am Acad Dermatol2013;68:S2-9.

Stern DK, Diamantis S, et al. “Water content and other aspects of brittle versus normal fingernails.” J Am Acad Dermatol2007;57:31-6.

10 All-Natural Ways to Stay Young

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61

Certain celebs (we see you, Jennifer Lopez!) somehow seem to age in reverse. Besides skipping sugar-because really, who would want to do that for a lifetime?!-are there secrets to beat the constantly-ticking aging clock? Absolutely, experts say. (And no, you don’t need an array of crazy pills and potions.) Try these 10 smart strategies that are natural age-erasers.

1. Give yourself a break

Recent studies show that stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. Surges of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. These days, when our stressors seem unrelenting (a steady stream of job pressures, traffic jams, money problems), chronic doses of adrenaline and cortisol take a heavy toll on our physical and emotional health. “Sixty to 90 percent of all doctors’ visits each year are related to anxiety, depression, obsessive anger and hostility, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart attacks-all problems caused by stress,” says Herbert Benson, M.D., author of The Relaxation Response and a founder and director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Boston.

The most effective way to halt this destructive chain of events is to meditate, using what Dr. Benson calls “the relaxation response.” The technique involves repeating a mantra-a word, sound, phrase, or prayer-for as little as 10 minutes a day.

Try it! Once or twice daily, for 10 to 20 minutes, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, roll your head, neck, and shoulders, and breathe deeply. On each exhale, repeat your mantra (here are 10 possibilities to inspire yours). If other thoughts try to invade, says Dr. Benson, tell yourself, “Oh, well,” and return to your word or phrase. When you’re done, keep your eyes closed for an extra minute; slowly allow everyday thoughts to flow back into your mind. Still not into the idea of meditation? Do yoga, or something active and repetitive, like mindful running, instead. Focus on your breathing and how your feet land with each stride. Get your to-do list out of your head, says Dr. Benson.

2. Consume more fat

The healthy kind, that is. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, and seeds) help stabilize your mood, maintain bone strength, and help prevent visible signs of aging by reducing inflammation in the body, explains Nicholas Perricone, M.D., a leading anti-aging expert and author of 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity. “Omega-3s also boost the ability of the body’s enzymes to pull fat out of storage-from your hips, say-and use it as energy,” he says. “Omega-3s keep you healthy and your skin radiant.”

Try it! “Virtually every expert agrees that you need two grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day,” says Michael Roizen, M.D., chair of the division of anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and coauthor of You on a Diet. Eat plenty of fatty fish such as wild salmon (a 3-ounce serving has 6.9 grams), as well as walnuts (one-half ounce has 9.2 grams), says Dr. Roizen. If you aren’t getting enough omega-3s from your diet, consider taking fish-oil supplements. (Related: Vegetarian Foods That Offer a Healthy Dose of Omega-3 Fatty Acids)

3. Get off the couch

Not only does regular exercise help you lose weight, tone muscles, build healthier bones, and boost mood, it can also help you think clearly. Studies cited by the National Institute on Aging demonstrate a connection between physical exercise and better brain power. “Walking for just 10 minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s by 40 percent,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Center on Aging and coauthor of The Healthy Brain Kit. “Physical conditioning reduces stress and anxiety, which wipe out your memory bank.”

Try it! Make time for three 20-minute workouts a week, like this 20-minute routine from celebrity trainer Lacey Stone. You can also run, bike, swim, dance-simply do whatever you enjoy most.

4. Feel the love

Anyone who’s ever fallen head over heels or discovered an activity that makes them eager to jump out of bed in the morning knows that passion is a powerful drug. “It’s the central motivation of all human activity,” says Gail Sheehy in her book, Sex and the Seasoned Woman. The ability to embrace life boosts self-esteem, fuels the immune system, and improves cardiovascular health. Passion in bed can be particularly beneficial: “Loving touches release hormones, including oxytocin, that reduce stress and anxiety,” says Mehmet Oz, M.D., professor of surgery and vice chairman of cardiovascular services at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University, as well as the coauthor of You on a Diet. “If sex is a purely hedonistic process, it won’t have the same results.”

Try it! Banish boredom and isolation at all costs. Rekindle the flames with your partner. Or discover a new love in the form of a mental or physical pursuit: Take up painting, join a book club, start a running program. Do whatever it is that makes you feel energized and alive.

5. Drink red wine

A groundbreaking study showed that mice on a high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of grapes, had longer average lifespans than those not given the resveratrol. According to the study’s co-lead researcher Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging, resveratrol clearly reduced the risk of diabetes and liver problems in mice, leading to a significant decline in obesity-related deaths. But here’s the catch: “You’d have to drink 180 bottles of red wine a day to get the same benefits,” says Dr. Roizen.

Researchers are working now to improve the potency of resveratrol in order to develop a pill that contains the optimum amount of the substance. In the meantime, there’s plenty of evidence that a little red wine can offset a host of health problems. An animal study from Johns Hopkins University suggested that red wine can diminish brain damage caused by stroke by as much as 40 percent. And research released last year showed that grape-seed procyanidins, found in red wine, helps reduce arterial clogging, resulting in lower blood-cholesterol levels and a reduction in deaths from heart disease.

Try it! Until an optimally potent resveratrol pill is available, enjoy red wine, but it’s best to follow the latest alcohol guidelines from the American Medical Association and drink no more than one glass (4 ounces) a day for your health. (Related: How to Buy an Awesome Bottle of Wine Every Time)

6. Do yoga

More energy, better posture, greater flexibility, improved mood, and less stress are just some of the rewards of this mind-body workout. “Yoga means ‘union’ in Sanskrit,” says Cyndi Lee, founder of New York City’s Om Yoga. “Through conscious yoga breathing, you become aware of the connection between mind and body.” That translates into major anti-aging advantages. Yogic breathing has been shown to oxygenate the cells, ridding them of toxins, helping prevent illness, and making skin radiant. Unlike other exercises, says Lee, yoga poses are designed to work the inside of your body as well as the outside, which helps rejuvenate the digestive system, the reproductive system, even the immune system. “Yoga is like wringing your body out like a washcloth,” she says. “It’s one of the best ways to keep things moving.”

Try it! Practice yoga or other mind-body activities at least twice a week, says Lee, to give yourself an energy boost, help build bone mass, and de-stress.

7. Bite into a superfruit

There’s a good reason we’re hearing so much about pomegranates these days. “Current studies show that they are more beneficial than other fruits,” says Dr. Oz. Pomegranate juice has been found to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, possibly delay the onset of atherosclerosis, and potentially help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease; researchers believe it may also help prevent some forms of cancer from starting or progressing. Pomegranates can also protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays.

Another promising anti-ager is the goji berry, a fruit native to Tibet that boasts 500 times more vitamin C by weight than an orange and is considered to be the most abundant source of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, on earth. This little nutritional powerhouse-which tastes like a denser, sweeter cranberry-also contains more iron than spinach, 18 amino acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E, according to Dr. Perricone. The goji berry stimulates the release of human growth hormone, a natural substance in the body that improves our ability to sleep, helps us look younger, reduces fat, improves memory, boosts libido, and enhances the immune system, he says.

Try it! Snack on a handful of dried goji berries throughout the day. Be sure to buy ones from Tibet, because they have high serum levels, advises Dr. Perricone. In addition, drink pomegranate juice. Not a fan of the flavor? Buy it in concentrate and add a tablespoonful daily to kefir (or plain yogurt), suggests Dr. Perricone.

8. Sip green tea

The health buzz about this brew keeps getting stronger: Green tea has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer and prevent remissions, and now it’s being tested as a way to help prevent bladder, colorectal, and lung cancer recurrence. “Green tea is an amazing compound in terms of blocking the signaling network that is linked with the progression of cancer,” says Amy Yee, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at Tufts University and principal investigator of the cancer study. It’s also an effective weight-management agent because it appears to rev up metabolism, says Dr. Roizen. Preliminary research indicates that green tea may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A Japanese study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking at least one cup a day can help keep your brain sharp as you get older.

Try it! Sip two or three cups daily for the ultimate health benefits, says Yee.

9. Slather your skin with supplements

Our body’s largest organ-skin-shows the signs of aging more than any other body part.

“The most important preventive measure you can take against the sun is to build up your antioxidant levels and maintain adequate levels of vitamins A, C, D and E,” says Jennifer Landa, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD. “Eating lots of brightly colored organic fruits and vegetables also boosts levels of these vitamins. These powerful vitamins work liked natural sunscreen for the body, aiding in the prevention of skin aging and skin cancer.”

Retinol, a type of vitamin A (and a nonprescription, weaker-strength relative of Retin-A), is considered the most effective over-the-counter treatment to smooth the skin and prevent wrinkles, says David Colbert, M.D., founder of the New York Dermatology Group in New York City. Retinols cause the skin to gently peel, revealing a silkier, rosier, and more supple layer. Dr. Perricone touts the benefits of alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant that naturally occurs in the body. “Alpha lipoic acid is a wonderful anti-aging mechanism,” he says. It has been shown to reduce fine lines, improve skin texture, tighten pores, and give skin a general radiance.

Another powerful age-defying ingredient is madecassol, or madecassoside, an Asian plant extract that helps plump the skin, minimize fine lines, and restore a youthful glow, says Dr. Colbert. Madecassol has been used in France for decades to help heal scars and wounds. European studies have also found that it helps diminish wrinkles, restores firmness to skin, and hydrates skin cells.

Try it! Look for skin creams containing retinols. (Not sure where to start? The Best Retinol Products for Every Skin Type, According to Top Derms) Another good way to ensure cell turnover, protect your skin against free radicals, and stimulate collagen growth is to apply vitamin C serum under your moisturizer and makeup, says Dr. Colbert. Some expert-approved choices this way: The Best Vitamin C Skin-Care Products for Brighter, Younger-Looking Skin.

Finally, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunblock every day to protect against UVA and UVB rays, which cause aging and skin cancer.

10. Do mental aerobics

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that brain exercises can prevent cognitive decline, and the benefits can last for as many as five years. In his own research, Dr. Small has found that a two-week program of mental training can actually rewire the brain. “We’ve seen evidence on brain scans that memory improves,” he says. (Related: 5 Tricks to Improve Memory Immediately)

Try it! Strengthen your mind every day by doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku on paper or via a smartphone app.

  • By By Marisa Fox and Jené Luciani

They say aging is inevitable, but why not put it off until the last possible moment? We’ve put together our top 20 time-tested tips on how to look and feel younger starting today!

1. Stay Out of the Sun to Stay Young

Always, always, always wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating, and make sure it’s broad-spectrum (blocks both UVA and UVB rays). Doesn’t matter if the day is cloudy or bright – the UV rays are always there. And remember to reapply every few hours so it continues to protect your skin.

Damage from the sun’s UVA and UVB ultraviolet light is linked to about 90% of the visible signs of aging. UV rays break down elastin, the tissue that gives skin its elasticity, resulting in a dull, saggy appearance, and they also cause uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and age spots. The damage may not show for years, so early prevention is critical.

2. Eat A Plant-Rich Diet

Staying young and healthy is easier when you eat a healthy diet of mostly fruits and vegetables supplemented with lean protein and whole grains. These foods provide key nutrients that support healthy aging inside and out. Fruits & veggies also boost your intake of important phytonutrients that help defend against damaging free-radicals.

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Want to know how to look younger naturally? Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water each day to keep skin supple and support optimum health.

Dehydration causes skin to become dry and wrinkled. Proper hydration ensures tissues and skin cells are replenished, allowing for younger, healthier-looking skin.

4. Boost Your Physical Activity

Make sure you’re active daily – recent research shows that vigorous exercise, particularly high-intensity interval training, can slow aging by almost a decade at a cellular level! Exercise also increases blood flow, moving oxygen and nutrients to working cells in the body – skin included – promoting a more youthful look.

Exercise is also linked to maintaining muscle mass and strength, maintaining more brain volume in areas that affect motor control and coordination, fewer menopause-related hot flashes, improved memory and brain function with age, and adding nearly 5 years to your lifespan!

5. Avoid Tobacco Products

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body and skin. Ditching tobacco is essential if you want to stay young looking.

Cigars and cigarettes reduce vitamin C in the body, leading to collagen breakdown and wrinkle formation. Smoking also dehydrates skin, giving smokers dry, dull complexions. And the repeated physical act of smoking leads to significantly more wrinkles around the mouth.

6. Limit Alcohol & Caffeine

Alcohol (in moderation) can have some health benefits, but too much alcohol and caffeine has a negative impact on both your health and appearance.

Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate and deplete your body of vital nutrients. Alcohol causes blood vessels in the face to dilate, and drinking too much has the potential to make these effects permanent, resulting in an unpleasant flushed appearance and red, spidery veins – never good if you want to look younger.

7. Adopt a Good Skin Care Regimen

Start your daily skin care routine with a gently exfoliating cleanser. Apply a moisturizer to hydrate the skin, allowing it to stay firm and elastic and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Ingredients like green-tea extract, vitamins A, C & E, and hyaluronic acid help protect against free-radicals, increase collagen, and retain moisture.

8. Boost With Nutritional Supplements

Aging skin results from a combination of biological and environmental factors. While the first line of defense should be a healthy diet, it’s a good idea to use anti-aging supplements and beauty supplements to help cover any nutrient gaps.

Supplements can also help you feel younger by boosting energy levels, improving mood and immune function, and fighting inflammation.

9. Go See a Pro

As we age, facial volume decreases due to loss of fat, bone density and muscle, making lines and wrinkles more obvious. Repetitive facial expressions can also cause deep frown lines (Hello, 11s and forehead lines!) that contribute to an aged or even angry appearance. In addition, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries and acne scars can become more prominent with age. A number of non-invasive professional treatments are available to address these concerns and help you stay young looking longer.

10. Consider an Aesthetic Procedure

Remember, good health inside is visible on the outside. However, some things (like genes and time) can be out of our control, despite our best efforts. Why be afraid to get a little help looking good and feeling good about it?

If you’re thinking about having “something” done but feel unsure where to start, check out the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery to find board-certified surgeons.

11. Get Plenty of Protein

Your body needs a ready supply of protein available to build new collagen and elastin. You don’t need to eat like a bodybuilder. Just aim to eat a small amount of high-quality protein at every meal, like nonfat plain Greek yogurt at breakfast, beans or peas at lunch, a whey protein shake for a mid-day boost, and lean poultry or fish at dinner.

12. Eat More Fat

Not all fat is bad – Omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds) have been associated with slowing a key biological process known as telomere shortening that results in tissue damage and visible signs of aging. And a 2007 study found an association between increased Omega-3 intake and decreased senile dryness and skin atrophy in middle-aged American women.

In addition, Omega-3s offer numerous anti-aging benefits including protecting skin from damage by increasing its resistance to UV light, protecting it from harmful free-radicals, helping block the release of enzymes that break down collagen, and reducing silent inflammation by moderating the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory chemical messengers in the body called prostaglandins.

13. Take It Easy

Staying young means stressing less. Set aside a small chunk of time every day, about 10-20 minutes, to relax, meditate, or just breathe deeply, while letting worries melt away and helping yourself look younger naturally.

A long list of studies have found that stress, including conditions such as untreated depression, social isolation, and anxiety can speed up cellular aging; stress shortens essential DNA components called telomeres which are linked to overall health, lifespan, and individual aging rate, and when they become too short, cells can no longer reproduce, causing tissues to degenerate and die.

14. Cut Calories

Eating fewer calories has been linked to longer lifespan. And other studies have shown that exercising and restricting calories lowers production of a thyroid hormone called T3, slowing metabolism and helping slow the aging process.

The Japanese have the world’s oldest population as well as the greatest proportion of centenarians (people aged 100 and over), and much of their philosophy of how to feel younger and live longer centers around diet and avoiding overeating.

15. Exercise Your Brain

“Use it or lose it” is true when it comes to brain function. In the same way that physical exercise helps brain fitness by improving both long-term and episodic memory as well as concentration, brain exercises may be able to “train” your brain and keep cognitive decline at bay even up to 10 years later.

Keep fit with puzzles, Sudoku, learning new languages or skills, or playing an instrument – whatever gets your brain going.

16. Trim Belly Fat

Maintaining a healthy weight is key to looking and feeling younger, so get rid of that fat around the middle.

Middle age spread is real – that accumulation of visceral fat is not just a sign of aging but can nearly triple the risk of developing dementia. Being overweight can also shorten lifespan by up to seven years, as well as put you at risk of developing other conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which increase mortality risk.

17. Don’t Skimp on Beauty Sleep

It’s not a myth – even science shows that you look less attractive, less healthy, and even sad when you’re sleep-deprived. Sleeping more means staying young!

Studies have shown that for both men and women, sleeping 6 hours or less on an average night causes telomeres to shorten, and “ages” you biologically by about nine years more than your real age. And not getting enough sleep promotes brain tissue loss, affecting learning and memory.

18. Sleep on Your Back

The way you sleep can affect the way wrinkles develop on your face. Just as when muscle movement against collagen, like laughing or frowning, can promote its breakdown, “sleep lines” can be formed through nightly application of pressure as we lie with our faces against the pillow. Sleeping on your back instead of on your stomach or sides alleviates pressure on the face, helping to prevent these wrinkles.

19. Keep Companionship

Having a partner in life, whether a spouse or even a companion animal, can have a positive effect on aging. Both can help lower stress, improve brain function, boost immunity and mood, and help us live longer. Consider it a testament to the power of love!

20. Don’t Act Your Age

Mind wins over matter when it comes to aging, because studies show that people who thrive in old age think younger.

In fact, having a positive self-perception of aging can mean up to an additional 7.5 years in longevity, and those over 40 who remain positive feel up to 20% younger than their than their biological age.

David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.

24 Simple Tips To Get Younger Looking Skin Ramona Sinha Hyderabd040-395603080 January 30, 2020

All of us dream of aging like fine wine. But, how many of us work toward that dream? If you think that your aging will slow down automatically, you are wrong. Aging is accelerated by your lifestyle, certain environmental factors, and the amount of attention you pay to it – things that you can control. So, the sensible approach to get younger-looking skin and age gracefully is by taking care of your skin and taking a balanced approach in your life. In this article, we have compiled some easy-to-follow tips that can help you look and stay younger.

How To Get Younger Looking Skin: 25 Simple Tips

Table Of Contents

  • Skin Care Tips
  • Hair Tips
  • Makeup Tips
  • Nutrition Tips
  • Lifestyle And Health Tips

I. Skin Care Tips To Look Younger

1. Follow A CTM Routine

Never forget the three most important steps of skincare – cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Whether you are just starting your day or going to bed, always follow a proper CTM routine. Cleanse your skin thoroughly at the beginning of the day and prep it with a good-quality toner and moisturizer before you put on makeup. Don’t forget to remove the makeup, sebum, and dirt built up on your face and tone and moisturize it at night. This helps reduce breakouts and dullness.

Also, use a separate eye cream to keep the under-eye area moisturized and prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Puffy eyes and dark circles can make you appear older.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Constant exposure to UV rays speeds up the skin-aging process and cause dark spots, freckles, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles. So, apply sunscreen every time you step out during the day, even if it’s cloudy! Pick a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 and PA+ (or higher) rating because SPF only protects your skin from UVB rays. Sunscreens with PA+ ratings protect you from UVA rays as well.

3. Get Products With Anti-Aging Ingredients

Retinoids and collagen-based skincare products are your secret weapon to keeping your skin looking young. Retinoid (or retinol) is a derivative of vitamin A that has anti-aging properties. It helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles and boosts collagen production (1). While retinol creams are easily available over the counter, you need a doctor’s prescription for retinoid-based products as they are a bit stronger. You can also invest in a collagen-boosting cream or serum or take collagen supplements. However, consult the doctor before taking any supplements.

Note: Never forget your neck. Apply all your skincare (except for spot treatments) all the way down to your neck.

4. Do Not Forget Your Hands And Legs

The skin on the back of your hands is much thinner than on the rest of your body. So, even if your face looks young, your hands can give away your age! Apply sunscreen on your hands and legs as well before stepping out. To prevent dry skin on your hands, massage them with hand cream regularly. This also keeps your nails and cuticles nourished. At night, apply generous amounts of moisturizer to your hands and legs. Use body scrub once a week to remove dead skin cells.

5. Do Not Forget Your Lips

Chapped and dry lips can make you look dull. Moreover, because the skin on your lips is much thinner, it ages more quickly when not cared for. So, before hitting the bed, moisturize your lips with a good-quality lip balm. Wear a lip balm with SPF during the day. Always moisturize your lips before applying lipstick. This will protect them from any damage caused by the chemicals in the lipsticks.

6. Exfoliate Your Skin

Your skin needs to shed the dead cells in order to breathe easier and look fresh, and exfoliation helps in that process. You may use a scrub once or twice a week or go for chemical peels. Most skin clinics offer chemical peel services (containing AHA and BHAs) that you can go for as per your dermatologist’s recommendation to boost your skin radiance.

II. Hair Tips To Look Younger Than Your Age

7. Avoid Over Styling You Hair

You may love straightening or curling your hair or using too many products. But at a certain age, you need to stop doing it as it can damage the cuticles and make your hair appear dull and more prone to breakage. Also, avoid over-washing your hair as it can strip away its natural oils and make its look dry and lifeless.

8. Try Biotin Supplements

If you are dealing with hair thinning, you can try taking biotin supplements (2). You can also add biotin-rich foods to your daily diet. These include eggs, almonds, cheese, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, beef, and sunflower seeds (3).

9. Pick A Hairstyle That Makes You Look Younger

Avoid hairstyles that pull your hair away from your face. Instead, go for face-framing hairstyles. If you have shorter hair, you can go for a fringe or bangs to frame your face and make it look more youthful. Consult a stylist to figure out what styles will suit your face. You can go for a cropped cut, a chin-length bob, or a layered cut with bangs.

10. Color Your Hair

Coloring your hair can take years off your appearance! Choose the right hair color according to your natural hair color. If you have blonde or red hair, add some warm tones to it. If you are a brunette, go for caramel highlights. If you have black hair, then it’s best to talk to the stylist as picking a hair color for black hair is tricky. However, you may try chestnut brown or mocha.

III. Makeup Tips To Appear Younger Than Your Age

11. Go Light On Foundations

Avoid high-coverage foundations. Too much foundation can hide the natural radiance of your skin. Go for a foundation with sheer coverage. If you are over 30, pick a moisturizing formula. It won’t create any creases on your face and also give it a dewy finish. After that, you can apply an opaque concealer on spots that need more coverage. In this way, you can maintain a natural but flawless and radiant look.

12. Don’t Use Too Much Powder

The powder can make your skin appear dry and accentuate the lines on your face. If you have oily skin and you don’t want excessive shine on your face, go for translucent powder. It won’t build up on your face. Also, avoid dusting it on your face with a brush. Use a powder puff to use it on specific areas, such as the T-zone.

13. Add A Hint Of Blush

A hint of blush on your cheeks works like magic to add a youthful flush on dull skin. However, you need to pick the right color for your skin tone. If you are fair-medium skin tone, pick a peachy shade, and if you have a medium to dark skin tone, go for coral blush. Avoid anything that shimmers and pick cream formulas. Always be subtle with a blush as the idea is to add just a hint of a flush on your cheeks.

14. Focus On The Inner Corners Of Your Eyes

When you brighten up the inner corner of your eyes, your face brightens up automatically. So, even if you plan to go bare-faced, apply a concealer on the inner corners of your eyes and cover the dark circles. You may even line the inner corners with a white eyeliner.

15. Enhance Your Natural Lip Color

Dark, matte lipsticks make your lips appear thinner and add years to your face. On the other hand, nude lip colors may wash out your face. So, pick a shade that is close to your natural lip color and just use your fingertips to apply it so that the edges of your lips look softer. Soft berry shades work great. If you want to add a glossy finish, apply lip balm. If you are using a lip liner, try to overdraw your lip line subtly to make your lips appear plumper.

IV. Nutrition Tips To Stay Younger

16. Go Green!

Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of many diseases and improve your skin quality. A study conducted in Japan has found that a high intake of green and yellow vegetables can increase skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles and skin aging (4).

17. Drink Bone Broth

When you cook meat and poultry bones for an extended period, they release collagen that breaks down into gelatin. Drinking this bone broth helps promote collagen production in your body, which, in turn, makes your skin look younger (5).

18. Switch To Olive Oil

Olive oil is very popular in the Mediterranean diet. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It keeps your heart healthy and reduces the risk of diabetes and other metabolic issues. Moreover, it promotes healthy aging and improves your longevity (6).

19. Eat Fatty Fish

Fatty fish – like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring – are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions and keep your heart healthy (7). They can also reduce the risk of inflammation caused by UV-rays exposure and have a photoprotective effect. Thus, they protect your skin from sun damage and photoaging (8).

20. Eat Dark Chocolate!

It sounds like sweet relief! Chocolate contains flavonols that help reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity and artery functions, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (9). The flavonol in cocoa also improves the flow of blood to your skin (10). This means your skin gets more oxygen and stays healthy and appears younger!

V. Lifestyle And Health Tips To Stay And Look Younger

21. Relax And Take A Break

Stress reduces your quality of life and induces inflammation in your body. As a result, you may experience health issues such as depression, a decline in brain function, diabetes, and metabolic issues (11). This can show up on your skin. So, take a break and relax. Meditate, travel, spend time with your family, watch a movie, go out with friends – do whatever helps you relax.

22. Exercise

You do not need to hit the gym for this. The idea is to keep yourself moving. This helps you tone your muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and relieve stress. Go trekking, hiking, cycling, jogging, dancing, or indulge in any activity that will give your body a good workout. This will keep lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease – at bay and make you appear younger than your age!

23. Drink Plenty of Water

If your body is not hydrated properly, your skin will look dull, dry, and patchy. This can make you look older than you actually are. Staying hydrated is one way to maintain your metabolic functions and keep your skin looking healthy and glowing from within.

24. Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco not only causes cancer but also causes premature skin aging, hair loss, and skin issues such as acne and psoriasis (12).

25. Sleep Well!

Poor sleep quality can affect skin barrier function and cause skin aging (13). Once the skin barrier is compromised, your skin becomes dull, dry, and prone to inflammation. You need to sleep at least 7-9 hours a night to keep your skin healthy and maintain a youthful appearance.

Aging is a natural process that you cannot avoid. However, when you have a balanced lifestyle and follow a good skincare routine, you do not really need to work hard and burn a hole in your pocket to look younger. Avoid junk food and try to stick to a healthy routine, and you will see results in no time. You can also consult a doctor or a nutritionist to figure out the changes you need to make in your diet and lifestyle.

The points that we have mentioned here are not difficult to follow. Try to follow them for a few days, and let us know how you feel. Drop your feedback in the comments section below.

13 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • tImprovement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol), Archives of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17515510
  • A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/
  • Biotin: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
  • Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women., The British Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20085665
  • An Overview of the Beneficial Effects of Hydrolysed Collagen as a Nutraceutical on Skin Properties: Scientific Background and Clinical Studies, The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, Bentham Open.
    https://benthamopen.com/ABSTRACT/TONUTRAJ-8-29
  • The Effect of Exclusive Olive Oil Consumption on Successful Aging: A Combined Analysis of the ATTICA and MEDIS Epidemiological Studies, Foods, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352251/
  • n-3 Fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: mechanisms underlying beneficial effects., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18541602
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients., Experimental Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21569104
  • Blood pressure is reduced and insulin sensitivity increased in glucose-intolerant, hypertensive subjects after 15 days of consuming high-polyphenol dark chocolate., The Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18716168
  • Consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa acutely increases microcirculation in human skin., European Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17164979
  • Stress, Inflammation, and Aging, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428505/
  • Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging., Journal of Dermatological Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17951030
  • Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing?, Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25266053

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona has a Master’s degree in English Literature. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps readers select products and ingredients specific to their skin type and gives out tips to keep their skin healthy in a natural way. When Ramona is not working or experimenting with a new skin care product or ingredient, her books and a passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.

I look several years younger than I really am, and it affects my entire life

Image zoom Rachel Paige

My favorite game to play is simple: Guess how old I am!

This is a game that I get to play A LOT. Upon meeting someone, you always mentally try to figure out how old they are, right? I know I do. Upon meeting me, many peg me as far younger than I am, and only after a few conversations with me, in which I reference things from the very early ’90s, will they be like, “Wait a second, don’t mean to be rude, but how old are you?” That’s when I say, GUESS! GUESS!

No one ever guesses correctly.

We can play that game right now. In the following pictures, try to figure out how old I am.

Image zoom Rachel Paige

To be completely honest, I had to double check these pictures myself. I’m oldest in the last one, at the age of 26. It was taken in 2013. In the first picture I’m 25, and the middle one, 22.

The picture below was taken last week. The only thing that’s changed is that now I have glasses.

Image zoom Rachel Paige

I look ridiculously young, I know I do. I’m 28 right now; many think I’m maaaaybe 21. I have never not been carded for an R-rated movie or a drink at a bar. When I go to the doctors, the nurses always ask if my parent or legal guardian is waiting for me outside, because there’s no way I could have driven myself to this appointment all alone. Not too long ago, I was sitting in the exit row of an airplane, and the stewardess came over to DOUBLE CHECK my age to make sure I was AT LEAST 16. And I was like, “I’m fine.” And she was like “Are you sure?” And I was like “Yes, I’m actually old enough to rent a car.”

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “Oh, but you’ll be so thankful when you’re older!” I could buy my own spaceship, and we could all fly to the moon together and leave this place. Right now, I do not care that that I’ve been blessed with the Paul Rudd Anti-Aging Voodoo. I want to look older right now. And at this point, I’ve been living with this for so long it has really started to get to me. It feels like I can’t do or attempt anything without the question of my age getting in the way, and when it comes out, it’s usually awkward.

Like, a few weeks ago I went to a press event, and I found myself standing with everyone else from the press, and we were all mingling and chatting. I was standing with others who looked about my age, but come to find out, they were all interns. These interns were complaining about how their internships were ending in a few short weeks, and then turned to me to hear about my school-credit job. I told them I wasn’t an intern, and instead an adult with a full-time, salaried job with benefits. They looked at me like I HAD to be lying. Then they looked at be like I was some sort of wunderkind because I was probably 23, fresh out of college, and already had a cool gig. Either way I slice it, I’m uncomfortable.

Then there’s the whole Girl About Town thing that I do, where like I go and rent my own apartment and go to the car dealership for an oil change. Even though I’ve done both of these things countless times before, I’m always treated as if this is my first time. People look at me like, “look at this kid playing Big Girl! She’s sooooo adult.” Then people try to adultsplain things to me (I just made this word up). It’s like these dudes at the car dealership are super protective of me because this has to be my first oil change, and they walk me through every single step, and like, I’ve got places to be and things to do, dude. Just change my oil.

Meeting the opposite sex is even worse. It usually goes one of two ways: Either the guy is my age, but hitting on me because he thinks I’m WAAAAY younger; or he’s WAAAAY younger and hitting on me because he assumes we’re the same age. Do you know how weird it is to constantly get hit on by college juniors when you’re ALMOST 30? On the flip side, most guys I approach (when I muster up enough chutzpa to do so) dismiss me as being a college junior myself. I can’t win.

This leads me to ask a simple question: “What am I doing wrong?”

Thing is, I’m not doing anything wrong. This is just how I look, and I’ve accepted it at this point. It’s just SUCH A HASSEL. Stack me next to other 28 year olds, and it’s like “Get this kid out of here.” Since you probably don’t know any of the other 28 year olds I know (unless we’re friends IRL, I guess), here are some 28 year olds you might know…and me:

Image zoom Raymond Hall/Getty Imgaes, Randy Holmes/Getty Images, Raymond Hall/Getty Images, Rachel Paige

Sure, Rihanna, Zac Efron, and Blake Lively certainly look like they’re older than me. They look like adults. They do not look 28 themselves. However, I don’t look 28 either, and therein lies the problem. It’s like there’s a giant chasm between the two of us, and Blake Lively is a month and a day older than me. She might as well have been born in a different decade.

When you’re little, all you want to do is grow up. Then you grow up and you’re like “WAIT WAIT, NO TAKE ME BACK.” The thing for me is that I did grow up, but everyone still assumes I’m somewhere in that ~growing~ phase. I’m not. But I’m also not about to walk around with a sign pinned to my shirt that tells people I was born in 1987.

I mean, I could. Something absurd like that is actually within my character. But I won’t do that… yet.

  • By Rachel Paige

For his theory, Walker says, “this is do or die – we’re going to do every single bit of DNA in these girls. If we find a mutation that’s common to them all, that would be very exciting.”

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But that seems like a very big if. It’s not at all clear that these girls have the same condition. Even if they do, and even if Walker and his collaborators discover the genetic cause, there would still be a steep hill to climb. The researchers would need to silence the same gene or genes in laboratory mice, which typically have a lifespan of two or three years. “If that animal lives to be ten, then we’ll know we’re on the right track,” Walker says. Then they’d have to find a way to achieve the same genetic silencing in people, whether with a drug or some kind of gene therapy. And then they’d have to begin long and expensive clinical trials to make sure that the treatment was safe and effective. Science is often too slow, and life too fast.

Ending Aging

A few researchers share Walker’s enthusiasm for ending ageing as we know it – someday. “A lot of people have the notion that ageing is natural and you just accept it, like taxes,” says de Magalhães. “I don’t.” He points out that a lot of technological innovations were born out of problems that most people thought were unsolvable. “I think there are a lot of natural causes of death and natural phenomena that human ingenuity and human technology can overcome.”

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De Magalhães gleans hope from what has evolved naturally in the animal kingdom. All mammals age, but there are large differences in lifespan: mice live for just a year or so, whereas bowhead whales are thought to live up to 200 years. So if scientists can understand the differences in biochemistry between a mouse and a whale, there’s some reason to believe they could apply that knowledge to our own genomes to extend human life. (De Magalhães and his colleagues are in the process of sequencing the genome of the bowhead whale.)

“In theory, there is no reason to think that in the future we cannot completely abolish ageing,” he says. “Having said that, it’s extremely complicated and difficult.” He says the best-case scenario over the next 20 or 30 years is that we’ll be able to take what’s been tested in mice and apply it to humans. In mice that’s resulted, in some cases, in an increase of half their lifespan, but achieving the same extension in humans is an unrealistic goal – efforts in other primates have shown much less impressive results.

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And there are unfortunate consequences to hyping treatments that claim to end ageing. In August 2003, researchers published a study showing that resveratrol, a chemical in red wine, extended the lifespan of yeast by 70 per cent. A flurry of subsequent studies showed that it also increased lifespan in fruit flies, fish and worms. Suddenly resveratrol was all over the popular press, trumpeted as an anti-ageing elixir.

But things often happen in laboratory animals that don’t pan out in humans. And because we live so long already, it will take decades before science can prove that any particular drug extends our life. In 2008 GlaxoSmithKline spent $720 million to acquire a company developing resveratrol, but it has since scaled back on that research with nothing actually brought to market. Several human trials are underway to test the effectiveness of the drug, with lacklustre results so far. However, food-supplement companies have been less deterred – unlike the pharmaceutical industry, they didn’t need to know whether it works to capitalise on the public’s yearning for youth. In 2012 the global market for resveratrol supplements was valued at $50m. They’re sold on Amazon for $5 to $150 per bottle, depending on the dosage and quantity. Consumers seem not to know or care that resveratrol research in humans is scant, nor that in pill form it isn’t well absorbed by the body.

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There are probably a couple of dozen compounds that, like resveratrol, extend life in the lab and could be developed for human applications, says Matt Kaeberlein, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. The ideal outcome of these drugs, though, will not be an infinitely long life, but rather an increase in “health span”, or the number of years we have before age-related disease begins. “My guess is that they would work at the level of 15 per cent increase in lifespan and a few decades’ increase in health span,” he says. The best-case scenario, he speculates, is that “we live to 120 but don’t start to get sick until 110”.

This is more profound than it may seem: if science suddenly eliminated all forms of cancer, for instance, life expectancy at birth would only increase by about three years. Implicit in Kaeberlein’s argument is that ageing cannot be separated from age-related disease; it’s just a matter of time before its symptoms emerge. “It’s a logical fallacy to talk about curing cancer or curing Alzheimer’s,” he says, despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on these efforts. “The system is breaking down. Until you actually deal with the underlying problem – which is the molecular changes that are occurring during ageing – you have zero chance of curing these diseases.”

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Staving off these diseases – in other words, preventative medicine – is what scientists should be focused on, rather than a silly quest for immortality, says Tom Kirkwood, an ageing expert at Newcastle University. “The agenda of focusing on a life without ageing diverts much-needed attention from the real agenda,” Kirkwood said in a talk at the British Science Festival last year. As the world gets older and older, research funding should be funneled into studies that help elderly people mitigate their inevitable decline. “And if, at some time in the future, that leads to a life without ageing, I would be one of the first to celebrate,” Kirkwood said. “But I ain’t gonna be around to see it.”

Walker doesn’t accept the expert consensus that immortality is scientifically impossible. But he reluctantly agrees that it’s unrealistic – if not because of the science, then because of all of the social, ethical and political problems that would come with it.

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The Greenbergs have not publicly explained why they ended their collaboration with Walker, and Howard Greenberg declined to comment for this article. Sometime after they ended their collaboration with Walker, they began working with Eric Schadt of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. Schadt has become quite famous over the past few years for his work sequencing the genomes of people with extremely rare diseases.

After sequencing Brooke Greenberg’s whole genome, as well as the exomes of her parents and three siblings, Schadt’s team found that Brooke carries three mutations that have never been reported in the general population, two of which may be relevant to ageing. The researchers have not yet published their findings, however, and are waiting until they can confirm them with more data from similar patients.

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Schadt’s team has begun to reprogram some of Brooke’s skin cells into stem cells so they can be differentiated into other types of cells, such as neurons. By analysing these cultured cells in the lab, the researchers hope to find out whether these three mutations of Brooke’s are damaging or benign.

Most researchers agree that finding out the genes behind syndrome X is a worthwhile scientific endeavour, as these genes will no doubt be relevant to our understanding of development. They’re far less convinced, though, that the girls’ condition has anything to do with ageing. “It’s a tenuous interpretation to think that this is going to be relevant to ageing,” Gems says. It’s not likely that these girls will even make it to adulthood, he says, let alone old age.

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On 24 October 2013, Brooke passed away. She was 20 years old. MaryMargret heard about it when a friend called after reading it in a magazine. The news hit her hard. “Even though we’ve never met the family, they’ve just been such a part of our world,” she says.

MaryMargret doesn’t see Brooke as a template for Gabby – it’s not as if she now believes that she only has 11 years left with her daughter. But she can empathise with the pain the Greenbergs must be feeling. “It just makes me feel so sad for them, knowing that there’s a lot that goes into a child like that,” she says. “You’re prepared for them to die, but when it finally happens, you can just imagine the hurt.”

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Today Gabby is doing well. MaryMargret and John are no longer planning her funeral. Instead, they’re beginning to think about what would happen if Gabby outlives them. (Sophia has offered to take care of her sister.) John turned 50 this year, and MaryMargret will be 41. If there were a pill to end ageing, they say they’d have no interest in it. Quite the contrary: they look forward to getting older, because it means experiencing the new joys, new pains and new ways to grow that come along with that stage of life.

Richard Walker, of course, has a fundamentally different view of growing old. When asked why he’s so tormented by it, he says it stems from childhood, when he watched his grandparents physically and psychologically deteriorate. “There was nothing charming to me about sedentary old people, rocking chairs, hot houses with Victorian trappings,” he says. At his grandparents’ funerals, he couldn’t help but notice that they didn’t look much different in death than they did at the end of life. And that was heartbreaking. “To say I love life is an understatement,” he says. “Life is the most beautiful and magic of all things.”

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If his hypothesis is correct – who knows? – it might one day help prevent disease and modestly extend life for millions of people. Walker is all too aware, though, that it would come too late for him. As he writes in his book: “I feel a bit like Moses who, after wandering in the desert for most years of his life, was allowed to gaze upon the Promised Land but not granted entrance into it.”

David Gems receives funding from the Wellcome Trust, which publishes Mosaic.

This article originally appeared at Mosaic and is reproduced here under a creative commons license. For more Mosaic articles click here.

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(Evgeny Atamanenko/)

Brothers diagnosed with ‘Benjamin Button’ age-reversing disease

Matthew, right, and Michael on holiday in Spain in 1982

The brothers’ parents, Anthony Clark, 63, and his wife Christine, 61, said it was terrible to watch their grown sons deteriorate before their eyes and described feeling “powerless” to help them.

Mr Clark drew parallels between the disease and the 2008 fantasy drama, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, in which an old man played by Brad Pitt gradually gets younger.

“It’s a devastating disease. Both of them are very childlike now,” he said.

“Matthew went out the other day and bought himself a train set and a Mr Potato Head.

“We will be out walking and things which might interest a toddler interest them, the other day we were walking home when Michael saw a balloon and pointed it out to us.

“He also has these awful episodes where he screams and shouts and says ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ because the disease effects his memory he can’t remember much of who he was.

“In the mornings we have a routine where we have to get a board game out and let him play with that so that he comes out of his ‘state’ as we call it.

“It is like an adult having a toddler’s tantrum. It’s obviously worse for him but it is terrible for us too. There’s nothing we can do to help and we feel absolutely powerless.”

Mr Clark, who is retired from the prison service, said the men’s lives began to unravel when their symptoms started to become more pronounced.

They initially stopped replying to texts or returning phone calls but when Matthew had lost his job, he was so confused he sat in a room with just a candle at night and no food or electricity for two weeks because he didn’t know how to claim benefits.

“He was as helpless as a child,” his father said.

Michael, who had been discharged from the RAF the previous year after damaging his knee, was eventually evicted from his flat because he stopped looking after himself and doing basic household chores.

He slept in a park for three weeks before finding a soup kitchen which sent him to the Salvation Army. Staff there realised something was wrong and sent him to a doctor, who carried out an MRI scan and diagnosed the disease.

Mr Clark said: “When they asked him if he had any siblings he said he had a brother and they ran tests on Matthew and discovered he had the same thing.

“At first we were told doctors thought no one else had this condition and then we found out there are 100 adults in the UK, but no one had heard of it occurring in two siblings.

Mr and Mrs Clark, from Lincoln, retired to Benidorm in 2007 but returned to the UK in January to care for their sons.

They said were receiving no support and needed a more suitable house. They are keen to move to Hull where they have family who could help.

Leukodystrophy refers to a group of neurological disorders caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibres in the brain.

When the nerve endings are damaged, the brain stops sending out correct messages and the body is unable to perform basic functions such as walking, talking and swallowing.

The genetic disorder can be passed down from a parent but can also mutate spontaneously.

The Myelin Project funds research into the disease in an attempt to find treatments and, ultimately, a cure, but the illness is so rare that little is known about it. Although 37 strands have so far been identified, there are believed to be many others.

Lynda Carthy, chief executive officer of Myelin in the UK said it was often misdiagnosed as the symptoms can resemble those of a stroke, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s.

“It is so complex because no two patients are the same,” she said. “I know of around 100 sufferers in this country but in certain circles it can be seen as a curse or an embarrassment and the stigma stops people coming forward.

“There is an estimated one in three billion chance of two people who carry the gene deficiency meeting and becoming partners. There is no cure and it will eventually end in death as the brain shuts down.”

The 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil, starring Susan Sarandon and Nike Nolte, explored fate of 14-year-old American Lorenzo Odone, who had Adrenoleukodystrophy, and his parents’ quest to find a cure.

With the help of a British scientist, they invented an edible mixture of olive and rapeseed oil extract which appeared to halt the destruction caused by the disease, but it is only effective for that particular strain of Leukodystrophy, known as ALD, and must be applied before the symptoms emerge.

Odone died aged 30 in 2008 and his parents later founded the Myelin Project to promote research into diseases which destroy myelin such as multiple sclerosis and the leukodystrophies.

Everything You Need to Know About Premature Aging

Once you notice the signs of aging, you can take steps to address the way your body is changing — or allow nature to take its course.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to age, and whatever you choose to do with your body is entirely up to you.

If you have sunspots

If you notice sunspots, start by seeing a dermatologist to rule out other skin conditions.

Once you know for sure what you’re dealing with, consider what lifestyle changes you can make.

Wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF daily to protect yourself from UV rays, and reduce direct exposure to the sun whenever possible. Covering up when you go outside can help prevent further spots from appearing.

You may also try treating the sunspots topically to see if they fade. Aloe vera, vitamin C, and products containing alpha hydroxy acid may help treat sunspots.

If those aren’t effective, clinical treatment for sunspots includes intense pulsed light therapy, cryotherapy, and chemical peels.

If you have gaunt hands

If your hands appear to be gaunt, with translucent, fragile skin and visible veins, start moisturizing them regularly.

It may be time to try a new product that locks hydration in to your skin barrier. You may also want to apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to your hands.

If your hands are regularly exposed to chemicals and pollutants through the work that you do or your household chores, it might not be possible to stop your exposure to those things completely.

Instead, make small changes — like wearing gloves when you wash the dishes or weed your garden.

If you’re concerned with how your hands look, speak to a dermatologist.

Clinical treatments for hands that have aged include chemical peels, dermal fillers, and laser treatment.

If you have inflammation or hyperpigmentation

If you have discoloration on your chest, start protecting that area of your body from the sun whenever possible.

Use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF each day, and pay careful attention to covering the parts of your skin that have been damaged.

Moisturize the area frequently and try to find a lotion with vitamin C or retinoids.

There are products that a doctor can prescribe to treat hyperpigmentation in your chest area. Mild steroids and bleaching agents can fade the look of hyperpigmentation over time.

If you have dry or itchy skin

If your skin is flaky, dry, and itchy, you may want to speak with a dermatologist and rule out any other health conditions.

Once you know that your dry skin is a sign of aging and not a symptom of something else, start focusing on lifestyle factors.

Drink more water to maintain hydration throughout your body and your skin. Take shorter showers using lukewarm water.

Determine if the dryness is a result of your skin type or if it’s actually dehydrated, as the treatments for both differ.

Then find a moisturizer that works for you and apply it daily.

If switching up your routine at home doesn’t work, speak to a doctor about a prescription moisturizer that has stronger ingredients for protecting your skin.

If you have wrinkles or sagging skin

If your skin is sagging or you notice wrinkles, there are several things you can do.

Start by protecting your skin every day with a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Limit your sun exposure by wearing hats with a brim and loose clothing that covers your limbs.

If you smoke, quitting can help prevent further skin damage.

Drink water and moisturize your skin each day. Cosmetics with green tea extracts, vitamin A, vitamin C, retinoids, and anti-oxidants may help.

If you’d like to go the clinical route, procedures like Botox and dermal fillers can make your skin appear less wrinkled and more full or lifted.

If you have hair loss

If your hair is falling out or growing thinner, consider purchasing a shampoo and conditioner product meant to address the issue.

Make sure your diet is full of nutritious food that nourishes your hair. Consider adding a multivitamin or vitamin supplement to help your body make keratin.

Products for hair loss are different for cisgender men and women.

Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) are popular over-the-counter treatments.

Looking young at 30

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