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Looking as young as possible is a primary goal for a significant part of the population, and it's not really a surprise. After all, who wouldn't like to look younger? Navigating the range of pills, potions, workouts and other anti-aging products can be extremely difficult and confusing, however. Many people choose to avoid using any techniques to reduce the effect of age because they don't want to wade through the scams and ineffective products to find something that works. If you're among them, it's time to reconsider. You have a range of effective anti-aging options, and it will only take a little effort to find the right one for you.

Sun Protection

The damaging UV rays of the sun make up one of the biggest factors in skin aging. Unfortunately, most people don't see or feel these effects until years after exposure. Wearing protective clothing, avoiding the sun's strongest rays, and using sunscreen when you can't stay out of the sun are vital to keeping your skin looking younger and healthier. This is especially important if you have a job that requires you to work outdoors.

It's also important to avoid even indoor tanning, since the same rays that cause your skin to produce melanin also make it age much faster. While a tan may look great in the short term, it's not a good idea in the long run. Even if you're older and didn't know about the dangerous effects of UV radiation when you were younger, it's never too late to start protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin will thank you.

Dietary Options

It may not seem obvious, but what you eat could be just as important to anti-aging as what your skin is exposed to. Different foods either promote or discourage the oxidation of your cells. This oxidation is one of the biggest factors in the aging process. By consuming foods that are high in anti-oxidants, you can actually slow down the aging process. You'll look and feel younger and your body will be healthier.

The most common oxidizing foods are trans fats, saturated fats, refined starches and sugars. Meat can also act as an oxidant. To prevent your skin and body from aging more quickly, cut down on your consumption of these foods and boost the percentage of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils such as olive and canola. Nuts, yogurt, beans and legumes and hot peppers are also considered anti-inflammatory. The best anti-aging fruits and vegetables are the ones with the most natural pigments, such as cranberry and blueberry, but anything you do to boost the vegetable content of your diet will help you age more slowly.

Healthy Lifestyle

Your overall lifestyle can have a big effect on how old you look and feel, too. Just by getting about a half hour of exercise per day and drinking lots of water, you can appear younger. Other factors that can affect your apparent age include smoking, exposure to air pollution, drinking, sleep schedule and stress levels. People who don't drink or smoke, who get plenty of sleep, water and exercise, and who have low stress levels are much more likely to stay young and attractive than those who don't take care of themselves. Improving your lifestyle is a relatively inexpensive remedy against aging that has a lot of extra health benefits, too.

Supplementation

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While it's best to get the necessary vitamins and antioxidants for your anti-aging program through food, you can still benefit from extra supplementation. Not all anti-aging supplements provide the same benefits, however. Some can even have detrimental effects if they're not used correctly. For instance, there's no proven benefit to taking very large doses of vitamins, either alone or as a part of a “cocktail.” These high doses can also be harmful. Too much vitamin A, often used to keep skin looking healthy and young, can produce osteoporosis. Very high doses of vitamin B can damage your nerves and large amounts of vitamin E may be carcinogenic.

That doesn't mean that all supplementation is a bad idea, however. Taking moderate amounts of antioxidant vitamins can help reduce the effects of oxidation on your system and can cut down on aging. For best results, take the nutritionally-recommended amounts of each vitamin.

Skin Products

Many of the skin creams and lotions on the market don't do much more than empty your pockets, but that's not the case for all of them. Simply applying a light moisturizer every morning and evening after washing with a gentle cleanser can do a lot to prevent and minimize wrinkles. Products that include retinol, a type of vitamin A, can also help by removing dead skin and increasing collagen production so that they temporarily decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Products containing botanical extracts seem to produce much less effective results and may not be as useful.

Hormone Treatments

Aging is usually accompanied by a change in the way the human body produces hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, human growth hormone and progesterone. This is especially obvious in women, who undergo menopause sometime in middle age, but it also happens to men. In cases where low hormone levels are causing depression, fatigue and similar problems, receiving hormone supplementation can reduce the effects of aging and make patients look and feel much younger.

Hormone treatments aren't for everyone, however. An increased level of hormones isn't always better, and these treatments tend to come with a range of side effects. For instance, increasing testosterone levels can also produce an increased risk of thinning hair, aggression and heart attack risk. Some men also experience a greater risk of prostate cancer when taking this hormone. Effectiveness is also a concern. Not all hormone treatments actually enter the bloodstream properly. Many “hormone-boosting” creams and gels don't do the job that's expected of them. If you're interested in using hormonal treatments for anti-aging purposes, talk to your doctor and don't buy from anyone who doesn't have verifiable certifications.

Cosmetic Procedures

In addition to lifestyle and supplementation options, you can also choose some cosmetic procedures to reduce the appearance of aging. These include chemical peels and dermabrasion techniques, where the upper layers of the skin are removed to expose fresher-looking, more attractive tissue. These can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and temporarily erase fine lines, but are also somewhat painful and must be redone periodically. Laser resurfacing, a similar procedure, lets you look younger by removing thin layers of skin, tightening the underlying skin, and stimulating collagen production.

Injectables, such as fillers and Botox, reduce sagging and wrinkling in areas such as the forehead and cheeks, but can make the face look artificial or swollen. If you have extreme sagging around your eyes, you may wish to choose lower eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, in which the extra skin is removed with a scalpel. This small surgery is among the top 5 cosmetic procedures, ahead of full face lifts, which can be much more painful and expensive.

No matter who you are or how severe the effects of aging have been on your skin, there's an option that can help you look younger. From changing the way you eat and live your life to consulting a plastic surgeon, you have plenty of effective options. Just make sure you take a little time to ensure that the anti-aging treatments you choose are safe, effective and provided by reputable professionals.

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