15 Proven Ways to Look a Decade Younger
From changing your diet to going under the knife, experts reveal how to turn back the hands of time.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look younger. In fact, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Women and Aging, being satisfied with your appearance is good for your mental health. An online survey of over 300 women between the age of 45 and 65 found that those who were not happy with their appearance and were afraid of growing older were more prone to depression. Another 2020 study found a strong link between perceived self-attractiveness and life satisfaction in women from various age groups (8–25, 30–45, and over 60). Furthermore, research supports that those who look and feel younger reap huge health benefits. Best Life asked a handful of experts to weigh in a variety of ways you can look a decade younger.
One of the most tried and true ways to look younger is exercise. Risa Sheppard, creator of The Sheppard Method Pilates and author of the book Mindful Movement, suggests starting an exercise regime that seems right for you. "I personally am prejudiced toward Pilates since I've been teaching and practicing for almost 50 years," she says. "Yes, I have more wrinkles, but that is about all I show of my age." Exercise doesn't have to be expensive, or taxing. It can be stretching, Pilates, yoga, walking, or water aerobics. "There are a lot of online tutoring sites for seniors, or your local gym may have some terrific classes for seniors," she suggests.
Keeping a positive and youthful outlook on life will work wonders, says Sheppard. "The best way to look and feel younger is, as Clint Eastwood told a client of mine, 'Don't let the old man/woman in,' meaning keep thinking young. Don't let old concepts, fears, and what other people say to you cloud your mind. Keep thinking young, and you will be. Mind over matter," she explains.
One thing that shows age faster is poor posture, says Sheppard. "Your body can tell more about your age than your face. One can have all the facelifts, Botox, filler you want, but if your body is showing signs of aging no amount of cosmetic surgery will help. You will look like an old person if you're hunched over, barely walking, or complaining," she says.
John Layke, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group and co-founder of Beverly Hills MD, stresses the importance of staying hydrated. "The skin's appearance is greatly affected by hydration; by drinking water and staying well hydrated, the skin will appear softer and smoother," he says. Being well hydrated improves the skin's elasticity which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which in turn makes the skin look younger. "Drinking fluids helps flush toxins from the body and will reduce inflammation."
Dr. Layke also maintains that supporting collagen and elastin production is key. "The loss of skin's elasticity is a natural part of the aging process and supporting collagen and elastin production will improve the skin's elasticity and help maintain a younger appearance," he explains. "It is important to keep the skin looking healthy and encourage the top layer of the skin to regenerate for a more youthful appearance." There are several ways to support collagen and elastin production including the use of topical creams and products with retinol or Vitamin C for both the body and face, protecting the skin's natural collagen by using sunscreen, and limiting sun exposure to reduce and protect the skin from ultraviolet lights and the use of supplements. "Protecting the skin and supporting its collagen and elastin production will lead to one looking younger."
In addition to exercise, it is important to follow a nutritious diet and limit eating processed foods "as processed foods can speed up the aging of cells and lead to skin inflammation," explains Dr. Layke. "Incorporating healthy proteins (salmon, eggs, beans, low fat dairy), healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants (carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, dark chocolate) can reduce the risk of heart disease and increase collagen production to benefit the skin and one's overall health," he explains. "The combination of a healthy diet with an active lifestyle will lead to a younger, healthier appearance."
Sleeping well and for seven to eight hours a night will also help you look a decade younger, says Dr. Layke. "During sleep the body, brain, and skin repair and recharge. Sleeping a consistent seven to eight hours of good sleep can change the way the face looks with fewer wrinkles and fine lines whereas poor sleep or not enough sleep can lead to dark circles, puffy eyes, the development of wrinkles and fine lines and an overall unhealthy complexion," he explains. Healthy skin will be plumper and appear rejuvenated for an overall younger appearance. "Good sleep helps the body regenerate skin, bones, and muscles and can help the skin recover quicker from stressors such as sunburn. Collagen production is increased during good sleep, and this maintains the skin's elasticity whereas poor quality sleep or not enough sleep can lead to increased signs of aging with the development of fine lines and reduced elasticity."
Routine dental cleanings will keep your smile youthful and fresh. "Routine dental cleanings are more than just cosmetic: They play a crucial role in maintaining oral health," says Registered Dental Hygienist, Whitney DiFoggio, BS, RDH, also known on social media as Teeth Talk Girl. Plaque buildup can stain teeth over time, making them appear dull. "Regular cleanings remove this plaque, enhancing the natural whiteness of your teeth. A brighter smile is often associated with youthfulness, making this a simple yet effective way to look younger."
Smoking is a major culprit when it comes to dental issues that age your appearance, says DiFoggio. "It causes tooth stains that can be challenging to remove, contributes to oral cancer, and is a significant risk factor for gum disease. By quitting smoking, you not only prevent further damage but also actively promote a healthier and more youthful smile." It also ages skin faster and can lead to lung cancer, putting a stop to the aging process altogether.
Professional teeth whitening, whether done at home with dentist-prescribed kits or in-office, can be a powerful tool for enhancing the brightness of your smile. "However, it's crucial to see your dentist routinely for cleanings before opting for whitening," says DiFoggio. "This ensures a clean canvas for the whitening process, maximizing its effectiveness and contributing to a consistently radiant and youthful smile."
One of the quickest ways to look a decade younger? New York City-based plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD, FACS suggests making an appointment with your plastic surgeon or dermatologist. "The #1 treatment a patient can have to look younger is BOTOX® Cosmetic," he says. However, he warns against trying to find the best deal online. "The key is using genuine product and also an experienced injector."
You can get a youthful glow with injections. "A new injectable hydration treatment called Skinvive by Juvéderm is another great way to improve the skin's moisture content, add a nice glow, and improve the skin texture," explains Dr. Shafer. "The hyaluronic acid product draws moisture to the skin and unregulated aquaporin which helps regulate skin hydration."
If you want to improve longevity, consider consulting with an expert. Many clinics, including Dr. Shafer's own Shafer Clinic's AdVitam Metabolic Aesthetic Center, offers metabolic programs. They can do everything from customizing IV and other treatments to balancing hormones, boosting metabolism, and maximizing energy utilization in the cells. They can even help you lose weight.
Finally, an expensive but proven way to look a decade younger overnight is going under the knife. "Surgeries such as facelift and blepharoplasty are great for looking younger when done in the right patients and when done conservatively," says Dr. Shafer. "In general I find it best to combine conservative surgical procedures with injectables and non-invasive treatments."
Dr. Layke also stresses the importance of moisturizing skin. "It is important to retain the skin's moisture with a moisturizer for both the face and body. Moisturizing every day reduces the chance of extreme oiliness or dryness and proper moisturizing can slow the skin's signs of aging," he explains. Note that it is important to use a moisturizer designed for your skin type. "Moisturizing the skin boosts its hydration, soothes inflammation, improves the skin's texture, and delays signs of aging," he adds.