50 Ways to Look Younger in Your 50s
Turn back the clock with these scientifically proven lifestyle tweaks.
Who among us relishes the idea of getting old? Although it's true that embracing our changing appearance is a healthy position to take, an excessive amount of wrinkles, saggy skin, and paunchiness can be an unnecessary bummer. The good news is that there are plenty of steps we can take—with nutrition, exercise and skin care, just to name a few—that'll not only stop the effect of time on our bodies but even roll back the clock a few years. Below are 50 such strategies for looking more youthful in what should be your best decade yet. And for more healthy living advice, be sure to Steal The Secrets of Ageless Superstar Athletes.
Being exposed to sunlight does have health benefits. It can help regulate the production of melatonin, and we humans are are rather good at converting rays into vitamin D, a nutrient that a supermajority of Americans are deficient in, particularly those living in northern states. That said, ultraviolet (UV) rays break down skin fibers, which cause it to sag and lose elasticity (not to mention lead to melanoma). If you're going to be spending time outside, use a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30, and wear a hat with a brim that casts a shadow over your face. Oh, and speaking of your face? Don't miss the 13 Astonishing Things Your Face Shape Says About You.
Tame your guy-brows
As you get older, your brows can get, well, a little woolly. This change can happen slowly, making it harder to recognize (and leaving you scratching your head when people start offering you their seats on public transit). Resist the temptation to shape them yourself. Instead, ask your barber to do a trim during your regular visits. And while you're at it, have him take care of excess ear and nose hair too. Don't be shy—he's used to it. Or grab one of these 10 High-Tech Grooming Gadgets You Need Now to stay perfectly manscaped.
Get more sleep
When your co-workers tell you that you look tired, they really mean that you look bad, old or both. Next time you're at the water cooler, hand them a tall glass of STFU by having snoozed your way to a more youthful, vibrant appearance. Studies indicate that seven to eight hours of shut-eye is optimal, and it'll make you look younger, happier and more attractive. Talk about an easy route to reeling back the years. (And extending them: According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, getting less than six hours of sleep a night comes with a 10% increase in risk of death!) Is where you live affecting your sleep levels? Take a look at the 50 Most Sleepless Cities in America.
In addition to being a great source of muscle-protective protein, oysters are a prime source of zinc. "This mineral helps convert vitamin A, a vital nutrient for eye health, into a usable form and transport it through blood, says Chip Goehring, Board President of the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF). "Recent studies also suggest that zinc can slow the progression of macular degeneration," he adds. How's that for a pearl of wisdom?
Change how you frame your face
Our faces appear to lengthen as we age. One way to forestall looking like an old codger is to foreshorten your look and make your face appear more rounded (read: youthful). Crewnecks make the face look more rounded than V-necks. For the same reason, when you're dressing casually, wear button-collared shirts rather than a wide-spread collar. They narrow the face.
Shave off a few years
Sure, stubble, a moustache or a beard can lend you a rugged air but forgoing a clean shave isn't ideal if you're trying to look more youthful. A recent British study showed men with facial hair looked about 10 years older than they actually were. But that's not the only reason you should shave to look young. Taking a razor to your face sloughs off dead skin cells and helps stimulate collagen production, making your face appear younger. For those wanting to stop looking like Father Time, This Haircut Will Shave 10 Years Off Your Age.
Eat flax seeds
Flax offer a payload of omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and iron out fine lines. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who downed about half a teaspoon of omega-3s in six weeks experienced significantly less irritation and redness (thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties), along with better-hydrated skin.
Dress your age
Passing 40 can "inspire" us to dress younger. Bad move. "Dressing younger only serves to highlight your advancing years," says Alex Wilcox, co-proprietor of New York men's clothing store Lord Willy's. "You end up looking like a old head on a young body. This in contrast to dressing classic — albeit with a few playful little touches — which tends to do the opposite." For ideas on establishing the right look, follow these 25 Rules of Office Style.
Stand up straighter
Another quick, simple way to appear younger is to stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and tighten your core. Experts say you'll appear 10 pounds lighter and will be perceived as healthier, more confident, alert, and more youthful. It's also a hedge against back pain.
A 2011 study demonstrated that happy-looking people are perceived to be younger (compared to pictures of the very same people sporting a neutral or angry expression). In the study, 154 adults guessed the age of 171 male and female faces. Researchers discovered that the age of happy or smiling faces was likely to be underestimated by an average of about two years! Need some motivation? Check out these 25 Ways to be Happier Now!
Nuke age spots
Brown splotches on the face or hands are a giveaway of aging skin, and we tend to see them arrive more when we reach our 50s. IPL (intense pulsed light) or lasers helps to disperse the pigment, leading to an even, more youthful complexion.
Dry skin can look so dull that you can actually end up looking like you're covered in a thin layer of dust. Use a moisturizer on your face, hands and body. An effective, natural and inexpensive option is coconut oil. Not only is it effective at locking in moisture and staving off wrinkles, you'll smell and taste like a macaron. Women love macarons! Another tip: Wear tinted moisturiser. If your complexion looks even in tone, you appear younger according to research by Dr Bernhard Fink, an expert in evolutionary psychology at the University of Gottingen.
Eat more grapes
Grapes are filled with anthocyanins, which have arthritis-fighting properties and help boost collagen in the retina, which protects the eyes against age-related macular degeneration.
Detox with water
Puffy, dark circles under the eyes often become worse with each passing birthday—and being dehydrated make matters even worse. To replenish your body, cut up some citrus fruits (rind included), soak them in a pitcher of ice water and drink copiously. The citrus not only improves the water's flavor and drinkability but the rinds contain a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called de-limonene, which helps the liver flush toxins from the body, according to the World Health Organization.
Grey hair: There's mush-room for improvement
A study in the journal Biological Trace Elemental Research found prematurely graying individuals had significantly lower copper levels than a control group. Your body requires copper to produce pigment for your skin and hair, and shiitake mushrooms are one of the best dietary sources. Just a half cup provides 71 percent of your recommended daily intake of copper—and for only 40 calories!
Take up yoga
Ever noticed that devotees of yoga seem to have a youthful air about them? It's no coincidence. Yoga can help to turn back the clock: Over time, it's likely to de-stress you, improve your posture and help to loosen muscular knots caused by tension.
Whiten your teeth
Dingy chompers speak to all the coffee, red wine and cigarettes you've enjoyed over the years. Not good. Your first move? Exactly what you were told as a kid: Visit the dentist for a cleaning and exam twice annually, and heed their advice about flossing. Once stains have been removed, try a whitening toothpaste. Smile still not popping? Look into a professional whitening treatment. Going forward, eat apples, celery, raw carrots, broccoli and other crunchy greens, which can actually exfoliate fresh stains. They're just a few of the 25 Foods That'll Keep You Young Forever!
Have more sex
This is a fun one. Studies have found that couples who have sex more often look more than a decade younger than the average adult who has sex less often! Some experts have postulated the pleasure derived from sex is a crucial factor in preserving youth. To really spice things up in the bedroom, try out any of the 30 Best Sex Toys For Enhancing Your Sex Life.
Don't get too nutty with dieting
Although a paunchy profile will make you seem older, losing too much fat in the face can make you look gaunt.
Sure, botox and other products like it are good at smoothing out foreheads, but these muscle-paralyzing injectables can be used in other ways too. For instance, over time, muscles tend to pull the corners of our mouths downward. By paralyzing them, your resting face will look more friendly.
Eat yellow peppers
In a study of more than 700 Japanese women, researchers found that the more yellow and green vegetables subjects ate, the less apt they were to have wrinkles and crow's feet — even once they controlled for smoking and sun exposure. And a study out of the UK concurs. The British study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that volunteers who consumed just four milligrams of Vitamin C (what you'd get in a single bite of yellow pepper) daily for three years decreased the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent.
You're not sanding down a table, so there's no need to overdo exfoliation. You just need enough friction to slough off some dead cells on the surface of your skin, preferably before bed. It'll make your skin smoother, reflects light better and make it look more radiant and youthful.
Stress is wrinkle fuel. Luckily, relaxation can be learned. Get good at it, and you'll soften those lines of stress and worry that can become a permanent part of our facial landscape.
Cut out sugar
Our skin has its own support system in the form of collagen and elastin, two compounds that keep your skin tight and plump. But when elevated levels of glucose and fructose enter the body, they link to the amino acids present in the collagen and elastin, producing advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. That damages these two critical compounds and makes it hard for the body to repair them. The process is accelerated in the skin when sugar is elevated, and further stimulated by ultraviolet light, according to a study in the journal Clinical Dermatology. In other words, eating lots of sugar poolside is the worst thing you can do for your skin.
Moving your body on a regular basis is definitely one of the best hedges against aging (not to mention dying early). Aside from the myriad health benefits, raising your heart rate will encourage blood flow to the skin and help give it a healthy glow.
Get a great haircut
As we age, the density of our hair decreases. By the time you notice that your crowning glory isn't what it once was, it's likely that you've already lost about half the hair you had during your mane's illustrious heyday. Clinging to a longer style might be perceived as a vain attempt to hang onto your youth, and it'll make you appear older that you are. A shorter cut will thicken and give body to thinning hair. To maintain a sleek crop, find a barber you like and see him every four weeks.
Eat sweet potatoes
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to create a healthier, and more attractive, golden glow than the sun, according to a Journal Evolution and Human Behavior study. Researchers found that people who ate more portions of red and orange fruits and vegetables per day had a more sun-kissed complexion than those who didn't consume as much — the result of disease-fighting compounds called carotenoids, which give those plants their colors. Few foods are as rich in the beauty stuff than sweet potatoes; just half a medium potato with the skin provides 200 percent of your daily recommended intake.
You may think this one sounds a little lame, but by getting into the habit of relaxing your face as you concentrate on your breathing, you'll ease the lines of tension and worry that tends to come with being alive.
Eat more good bacteria
Dysbiosis is a fancy term for an unhealthy gut. What does that have to do with aging? Well quite a lot as it will be reflected in the condition of your skin. By taking acidophilus, a probiotic supplement also found in yogurt and kefir, you can enhance levels of good gut flora, which may soon result in healthier, younger-looking skin.
Call time on boozing
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body and inhibits our ability to use our body's fat stores for fuel. But it also dilates the capillaries on the face and has a general inflammatory effect on the body that can make you look significantly older than you are.
Eat more avocados
This fruit is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been proven to hydrate and shield the skin by lowering the risk of premature aging caused by ultraviolet radiation. Avocadoes' potent source of fats also helps you absorb many of the fat-soluble vitamins that also help protect your skin from sun damage.
Oats feed inflammation-reducing gut bacteria, minimize spikes in blood sugar that can contribute to skin problems, and strengthen and firm up your body tissues. Also, because of oats' high source of silicon, a trace mineral that also helps skin retain elasticity, a daily bowl can help slow the signs of aging.
Use eye cream
According to market research firm the NPD Group, sales of eye creams for men have gone up 16 percent this year. Seems we're getting wise to something that women have known for decades: The first obvious signs of aging are fine lines around the eyes. They happen there first because skin under the eyes is very thin, so it's susceptible to signs of stress, late nights and hangovers.
Drink rooibos tea
Living a high-stress life is a good recipe for aging. Aside from making you look older (hello, facial wrinkles), stress can make you feel older by zapping your energy levels. Chronic stress also increases the odds you'll develop an illness that can further speed the aging process. To counteract the stress-pumping cortisol, make yourself a cup of rooibos tea. The plant is rich in a flavonoid called aspalathin, which has been shown to reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage and are linked to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The drink is also a good source of polyphenols that help protect the skin from premature aging.
Reseed your lawn
Hair transplantation involves hair follicles being taken from the back and sides of the head and replanting them on the crown and in the front of the hairline. Males go bald in the tell tale pattern because the growth of hairs at the top and front of the head are more susceptible to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Hairs from around the back and sides aren't and will spring up when relocated a top your thinning dome and ultimately, turn the clock back.
A tell-tale sign of aging is starting to look drawn in the face. It's caused by the drooping of the fat pads in our cheeks and beneath our eyes. Luckily, there are some effective interventions, including a range of injectables. Some are simply fillers, while others enhance the body's own production of collagen.
Stick a pin in it
Proponents say that it can produce remarkable results by increasing the circulation in your skin and encouraging the production of collagen and elastin.
Eat whole grains
Not only will swapping refined grains like white bread and pasta for whole grains help you trim down, it'll help keep your skin looking younger. Refined grains cause blood sugar to soar, which speeds up the formation of wrinkles. How? When you eat a refined carbohydrate, the body converts the sugar to glucose, a nutrient that damages collagen and other wrinkle-fighting protein.
How'd you like to lose your double chin on your lunch hour? Kybella is an FDA-approved injectable that naturally dissolves neck fat over time, sharpening your look without surgical intervention.
Spend time doing things that make you cheerful. You'll feel better and look better as a result. For some no-fail ideas, starting checking off these 25 Ways to be Happier Right Now!
Invest in a cleansing brush
You know that a good moisturizer, eye cream, and proper shave are essentials, but you also have to prime the canvas. Clarisonic's motorized brush, created for thicker male skin, makes 300 movements a second, exfoliating, sweeping away pore-clogging oil and enabling a closer shave. It'll keep you smooth and young-looking in more ways than one. Check out these 10 High-Tech Grooming Gadgets You Need Now!
One of the things we lose at we age is cartilage, the flexible connective tissue that's found throughout the body, including on the articulating surfaces of our joints. Time and movement wears it away, leaving you feeling creaky and causing pain. Moving in a way that reduces that pain may also have the effect of making you look old. The good news: You can help to reverse this by taking a glucosamine supplement. A study published in the Lancet showed that over a three-year period, a glucosamine regimen reduced joint pain and stiffness by up to 25 percent and helped prevent the progression of osteoarthritis in the knees. Take 1,500 mg a day and you should see improvement in about six weeks.
Buy a light stim
As we age, facial collagen production falls off a cliff, leading to wrinkles. This handheld LED enervates your epidermis, stimulating collagen, shrinking pores and filling in lines. It may sound like snake oil, but it's FDA approved.
Empty your pockets
For the last 12 to 15 years, pants have been getting slimmer. At the same time, phones have become wider, longer and flatter. While our pants and phones have been evolving in diametrically opposed ways, it was decided that the belt-mounted phone holster would be embraced by precisely no one. The upshot: We're walking around with packed pockets that make the waist look much wider than it is and us older than we are. So pare down to the absolute essentials. Sign up for Apple Pay, replace your bulky wallet with a sleek stainless-steel clip for your essential cards, take seldom-used keys off your ring, and stash your phone in the inside pocket of your jacket when you're wearing one. When you're not, hold your phone in your hand. (It's there most of the time anyway.)
Natto is a strong smelling Japanese food made by boiling and fermenting soybeans with bacteria that increases the beans' nutritional value. It's the highest dietary source of vitamin K2—a vitamin which is important in promoting skin elasticity to help prevent wrinkles.
News flash: To put it lightly, smoking isn't great for you. Aside from all the horrible things it does to your insides, it'll also age you like nothing else on the outside. See, smoking deprives the skin of oxygen, then speeds the process of skin aging by degrading collagen, which means more wrinkles faster.
Pull your damn pants up
As pants have become more streamlined, the rise—the distance between the middle of the crotch seam to the top of the waistband—has shortened. Rise is important because it determines where your pants sit on your body, which in turn creates your perceived waistline. Low-rise pants look great—provided you're in the minority of men sporting less than 8% body fat. Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle. Therefore, if you're rocking even a modest amount of chub, they become the plinth upon which you display your muffin top to the world. Wear your pants so that the waistband lives up to its name and sits at your natural waist.
Eat more oily fish
You really are what you eat: Ever seen a mackerel with dry skin? Consuming essential fatty acids, like the ones found in oily fish or fish oil supplements, not only helps our brains to function more smoothly, it will also be a boon for skin-cell-membranes, keeping them in good health and preventing them from drying out.
Take a deep breath
What could make you appear older than gasping for breath after taking the stairs? Research in the journal Thorax (yeah, we read 'em all) shows that chronic hostility can reduce lung function and speed the natural decline in lung power that normally occurs with age. These findings arc from a study of 670 men whose anger levels and lung function were monitored over 8 years. Researchers say anger can alter neuroendocrine processes, which can trigger chronic inflammation and damage the lungs.
Get a third opinion
If you feel that neither lifestyle changes nor semi-surgical interventions such as Kybella, injectable fillers or botox are going to cut it, there is always the option of going under the knife. However, think long and hard before you make any decision, and consult at least three reputable surgeons.