How to Look Younger: 4 Easy, Natural Ways
Posted October 2023
Someone asks about your age. You reply. And they go, “WhhoOOAAoAAoAAA, really?” then scrutinise your face with an equal mix of disbelief and admiration.
If you’d like to start having or have more of such feel-good social interactions, you’ve landed on the right article. Here’s how to look younger naturally (read: without needles or invasive surgeries).
#1: Use sunscreen consistently
Fine lines. Wrinkles. Age spots.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays cause as much as 80% of the skin changes we associate with age. To understand how, you’ll first need to know there are 2 categories of UV light, A and B:
- UVB: Shorter wavelengths; primarily affect the top layer of your skin (i.e., epidermis)
- UVA: Longer wavelengths; can penetrate deeper into your skin (i.e., dermis)
In the epidermis, prolonged UVA and UVB exposure damage melanin-producing melanocytes and keratinocytes, which shield against environmental aggressors, causing hyperpigmentation and your skin to look red, rough, and scaly in patches.
The dermis — the deeper layer — lies below the epidermis.
It houses collagen and elastin, which help keep your skin elastic and supple. Longer UVA rays trigger the breakdown of these proteins, eventually causing wrinkling and sagging.
Given that, here’s how to look younger: avoid UV rays.
Of course, that’s not to say you should permanently hunker indoors or wrap yourself up from head to toe whenever you head out. There's a more practical way. Sunscreen.
By blocking UV rays from reaching and penetrating your skin, sunscreen — when used daily — is hands-down the most effective skincare product for slowing signs of aging. However, which sunscreen you pick and how you use it also matters. So here are a few tips:
- Check that it’s labeled “broad-spectrum”, this means it prevents UVA (longer) wavelengths from penetrating and damaging your skin
- Most dermatologists recommend an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30
- Choosing between mineral and chemical sunscreens comes down to your personal preferences; the best sunscreen for you is one you’ll consistently apply and reapply (usually every 80 minutes or 2 hours, depending on the formula)
#2: Get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly
Have you ever noticed looking … well, older after a night of poor sleep? Your fine lines are more pronounced, your eyelids droopier, and your skin saggier?
Turns out, it’s not just in your mind.
A 2013 study published in Sleep found that just 1 night of sleep deprivation caused others to perceive participants as having *deep breath* droopier eyelids, redder eyes, darker under-eye circles, paler skin, and more wrinkles and/or fine lines.
Dramatic. But totally understandable and expected because sleep is an essential time of skin repair and regeneration.
For example, once you fall asleep, your body starts producing growth hormone (GH), which stimulates collagen synthesis (reminder: collagen is critical for firm, plump, youthful-looking skin).
Bottom line on how to look younger? You cannot afford to overlook prioritizing restful, good-quality sleep.
For those who find sleep to be a frustrating toss-and-turn affair nightly, here are a few sleep tips designed to help you wake up refreshed and ready to go:
- Stick to a consistent sleep-wake schedule (yes, even on the weekends and off days!)
- Avoid screens before bedtime; wear blue light-blocking glasses if you can’t
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, dark, and relaxing
- Try natural sleep-promoting supplements, such as magnesium, zinc, and chamomile (or if you’d like something that combines all that and is delicious, check out our Collagen Dream; it tastes exactly like hot chocolate — mmm)
#3: Stay physically active
Among individuals of the same age and genetic background, those who remain physically active look younger. Now, because the specifics of how exercise counteracts skin aging are way beyond this article’s scope, the only 2 relevant things you should know are:
- Inflammaging (i.e., chronic, low-grade inflammation) is recognized as a major contributor to the skin aging process; it’s known to damage collagen and suppress fibroblasts’ synthesis of collagen
That said, note the keyword: moderate.
Without proper recovery, overexercising could ramp up your body’s production of cortisol, i.e., the stress hormone, which is linked to inflammation and is known to break down collagen plus elastin — accelerating skin aging.
Obviously, you don’t want that. But what’s the sweet spot? A general guideline is to aim for:
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, and
- 2 days of strength training activity weekly
#4: Supplement with hydrolyzed collagen peptides
What’s a common thread in this article? That’s right: collagen.
So, it makes perfect sense that if you’re thinking about how to look younger, this should be near the top of your list: hydrolyzed collagen peptide supplements (FYI, collagen from dietary sources won’t cut it; here’s why).
These broken-down, digestible forms of collagen:
- Promote your body's natural collagen production, supporting skin elasticity, smoothing out wrinkles, and boosting skin hydration.
- Play a crucial role in maintaining optimal gut health; interestingly, a growing number of studies are showing that gut inflammation is closely intertwined with skin inflammation — and, at this point, you should be familiar with what that (i.e., premature and accelerated skin aging) means. In other words, by supporting a healthy gut microbiome and lowering gut inflammation, hydrolyzed collagen peptides could help shave years off your appearance.
But with so many collagen supplements out there, choosing 1 that’s right for you can be difficult. So, to help you out, here are a few stand-out points to look out for:
- Broken down enough: You want the hydrolyzed collagen peptides to be small enough (2 to 3 kDa in molecular weight) to bypass your digestion so they enter your bloodstream as bio-actives
- Ethically sourced: Where and how does the company source its bovine or marine collagen?
If opening 1,456 collagen supplement product pages (and manually taking down their nutritional and souring info) doesn’t sound like a good use of free time, we have a suggestion.
They tick all the boxes, a sure bet for those interested in learning how to look younger in a lot less time.