For as long as most of us can remember, beauty magazines have emphasized how to maintain a youthful appearance, though we may not have paid too much attention in our more youthful days. Now, after acquiring a wrinkle or two, you may be inclined to learn more about maintaining that youthful glow. Even though beauty is always trending and starting early is key, there are several things you can do right now – regardless of your age – that can slow the hands of time.

3 Critical Components

From an anatomical perspective, as we age, we lose three key components that help maintain a plump and youthful appearance: fat cells, collagen, and elastin. That along with the help of sun damage, can lead to your skin looking older that it actually is. Fortunately, there are ways to protect and increase these three elements, and the earlier you start, the better.

By far, the most effective way to maintain a youthful appearance is by being proactive rather than being reactive. The easiest and most simple way to do this is by using sunscreen. Sunscreen protects us from the UVA and UVB rays that are detrimental to our cells. Constant exposure leads to cellular damage that can cause sunspots, wrinkling, and, even worse, cancer. So, once again, your mom was right; sunscreen every day is a requirement. No ands, ifs, or buts.

Quality skin care is another key element to aging gracefully. With the help of your plastic surgeon, a tailored regimen can be created to ensure collagen stimulation. Whether it’s a retinoid-based product or a hydroquinone with corrective properties, it is essential to be on a good-quality skin care regimen as early as possible. These prescription products – along with sunscreen – will protect and maintain the youthful skin of your twenties well into your thirties and even your forties.

Preventing and Tackling Wrinkles

With time and repetitive motion, wrinkles are expected in certain areas. These wrinkles can easily turn into deep lines and creases that, when coupled with loss of fat, collagen, and elastin, lead to an aged appearance. Once again, being proactive rather than reactive is key with wrinkles as well. Wearing sunglasses on sunny days to prevent yourself from squinting will lessen the furrows between the brows and even at the forehead and crow’s feet (sides of your eyes). Botulinum temporarily relaxes these muscles, thus causing the overlying skin in these areas to be unable to move. The wonderful thing about botulinum is not only the effect of removing wrinkles after the injection, but also de-conditioning those wrinkle-causing muscles. Over time, there is a cumulative benefit to the use of botulinum.

If prominent lines have already resulted in some areas, botulinum can be coupled with fillers containing hyaluronic acids, which plump up deficient areas. Whether you have prominent smile lines, thinning lips, or deep furrows, fillers can help you turn back the hands of time and achieve that youthful appearance that you desire.

The Next Step to Facial Rejuvenation

So, now that you have on your medical-grade skin care (with sunscreen), your sunglasses, and have received your injectables, are you done? Well, that depends on your end goal. With each day that passes, the layer of our skin known as the dermis thins and collagen creation decreases. Non-operative facial rejuvenation techniques can help stimulate collagen and help you maintain smooth, glowing skin. Resurfacing procedures, such as chemical peels, microneedling, radiofrequency, and laser treatments are some of your options to maintain beautiful and youthful skin.

With the non-operative techniques mentioned above, different depths of treatment, downtime, and results are obtainable. Differences in skin quality will determine which treatment modality will yield the best result. But, as with anything else in life, taking a step-by-step approach is key. Facial rejuvenation results are augmented when the skin is at its best condition. So, if you aren’t already, start using your sunscreen today, and by next summer, you may be a year older, but no one will be able to tell.