How to Stop Aging in 2016
You probably have a laundry list of things you’d like to accomplish this year. But between surprising your other half with Adele tickets and dropping a belt notch, consider one other low-risk, high-reward resolution: Quit aging in 2016.
Sure, it’s impossible to stop time, but you can press pause on your skin’s apparent aging. (And not in a creepy, Real Housewives-y way, either.) “For men, it’s not about looking 20 years younger. It’s about looking healthy and rested and the best version of you,” says Paul Jarrod Frank, one of the most sought-after dermatologists for men in New York City. Dull complexions, fine lines, age spots, and sagging jawlines (the hallmarks of looking old) can all be prevented or reversed—so long as you have the right tips and tools, Frank says. Check out his advice for saving face below.
1. Fade Out Dark Spots
Wrinkles get a bad rap, but brown spots, ashy-looking skin, and widened pores are what really make a man look old, says Frank. Dark spot correctors (like SkinCeuticals advanced pigment corrector) can reduce the appearance of some discoloration, but to seriously even out the texture and tone of skin, derms turn to Fraxel laser treatments, which shed a layer of skin and stimulate the production of collagen. If your doctor reaches for the Fraxel Dual, one of the most popular lasers for resurfacing skin ($1,500 to $3,000), the downtime is about equivalent to a weekend with a sunburn, says Frank.
2. Actually Wear Daily SPF
Throwing on a lightweight moisturizer with sun protection factor in the a.m. (like Malin+Goetz SPF 30 face moisturizer) is the most painless way to preserve your skin, since sun exposure accounts for 90 percent of skin aging. “There are lots of lifestyle changes that benefit skin, like minimizing stress or keeping your weight stable, but wearing SPF is the No. 1 thing you can do,” says Frank. “Everything else is just icing on the cake.” (Damaging ultraviolet rays don’t just hang out at the beach—you’re also exposed through car windows or while walking to work—so it’s got to be a daily habit.)
3. Get to Know Retinol
It’s the superhero of all anti-aging ingredients, and there’s really nothing else like it. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, comes with a lot of perks—it enhances collagen production (the stuff that keeps skin taut, evens out discoloration, reduces fine lines, tightens pores). And it has a few drawbacks—mainly it can cause dryness and irritation, and some brands can be used only at night. But of the thousands of creams that claim to turn back the clock, this is the one to invest your time and money in. Start with a formula that packs a lower dose of retinol (such as RoC Retinol Correxion sensitive night cream) if you’ve got sensitive skin.
4. Shave Regularly and Exfoliate
Razors don’t just whack away tiny beard hairs—they also remove the dead skin cells sitting on top of your face, making way for the fresh skin underneath to come through. That turnover process is key for youthful complexion, says Frank. Try using a gentle scrub, like Lab Series invigorating face scrub, on the rest of your face (including nose and forehead) for similar benefits.
5. Tackle a Receding Hairline
You’ve got three options here. First, get a haircut that doesn’t exaggerate thinning hair. (A short crop with a little bit of texture in front is best, and swap out any slick gels or greasy products that flatten hair in favor of thickening shampoos or sprays.) Taking a daily Propecia pill can slow hair loss and increase growth, and applying Latisse topically on small thinning spots or using a minoxidil foam (it’s a step up from Rogaine but only works on thinning areas, not bald spots) can help thicken strands or spur regrowth, says Frank. As always, research side effects on prescriptions first. If you want a LeBron-like hairline transformation, a follicular-unit-extraction transplant is the way to go. (A doctor will pluck hair strands from the back of your head and replant them in the thinning spots. The results are impressive, but it’s pricey, at around $30,000.)
6. Watch the Lines
Feel like you constantly look tired or stressed? Puffiness or fine lines around your eyes may be to blame. The first (and easiest) defense is dabbing a little eye cream under the eyes (try Shiseido Men eye soother) in the morning and evening to tighten skin and nix bags. But if a cream doesn’t cut it, a small amount of Botox can help. “Getting rid of every little line in a man’s face is unrealistic and doesn’t look natural, but strategically placed Botox or fillers can go a long way in making you look more youthful and rested,” says Frank. (It can also prevent existing wrinkles from settling in any deeper.) Pick your biggest problem spot (maybe it’s a pair of seriously deep frown lines, or accumulating crow’s-feet) and commit to maintaining Botox or fillers in that area. (Injections last only six months to a year before you have to go back and re-up. Yearly cost: $500 to a few thousand.)
7. Lose Some Fat
Here it is: the big guns. “The most aggressive thing you can do, which is gaining in popularity, is removing fat along the chin or jawline area through minimally invasive or noninvasive treatments,” says Frank. One injectable, called Kybella (about $5,000), can be inserted under the chin to melt fat and minimize a turkey neck or double chin. Frank also performs a liposuction procedure around the jaw and neck area called UltraTight (also about $5,000), used to sculpt a more defined jaw. “These are surgical alternatives, and again, you’re only looking at a weekend or so recovery.”