It is absolutely normal, even needed for men to start using skincare while their skin is still ‘young’ – before you hit 30.
But what is acceptable, suitable and liked by men?
Aging is inevitable. It starts with a stray gray hair or two, proceeds to wrinkles around the eyes and in your forehead, and, before you know it, you’re slowing down physically. That’s life, of course—but it doesn’t have to be the whole story. There are dozens of simple hacks and habits—from the way you wash your face to the clothes you wear and the friends you keep—to help you become healthier, and seemingly knock years off your age. Follow these 50 anti-aging tips today, and drink deeply from the fountain of youth. And if you’re in the market for some amazing fitness tips, as well, don’t miss this guide to working out, living smarter, and feeling younger—all courtesy of America’s fittest CEO.
Nothing weathers your skin more than the sun. UV rays speed up the aging process by breaking down collagen and slowing new cell growth, causing the skin to thin and lose its firmness and elasticity. The best defense is a good sunscreen, or a moisturizing lotion with SPF 15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply daily year-round (winter, too!), whether you’re hitting the beach or heading into the office. On top of having baby-soft skin, you’ll prevent skin cancer, which is two to three times more prevalent in men than in women later in life. And for help lathering the stuff as effectively as possible, learn the 15 Hacks to Apply Your Sunscreen More Easily.
2 Trim the “fat”.
By that, we mean: Wear more fitted clothing. Of course, fit is always subject to trend (“slim” meant a very different thing in 2005 than it did in 2015), but the main point here is to wear clothes that actually fit you: No more comically large Big-worthy suits or “dad jeans” that swallow up your manly figure. Of course, you can buy slimmer-fit clothing or, even better, get thee to a tailor. Common alterations include taking shirts in (1.5″), hemming pants to the proper length (1″ to 2″ above ankle), tapering pants slightly below the knee, and getting your jacket sleeves shortened (so they show .5″ of your shirt). Bonus: These alterations—regardless of age or body type—will instantly make any man look fitter, taller, and leaner.
3Stand up straight.
There’s good reason your mom always told you to stand up straight. As you age, your posture suffers, which, over time, can cause breathing problems, joint pain, and walking difficulty. Correcting it—with back straight, shoulders pulled back, and head held high—is anti-aging. According to the Mayo Clinic, proper body alignment can do everything from prevent excess strain on your joints, muscles, and spine to keep you injury-free and boost your mood. As a bonus, carrying yourself tall make you feel younger, stronger and more self-confident.
4Liven up your wardrobe.
We’re all creatures of habit and, especially if you have to dress formally for your 9-to-5, it’s easy to get stuck rotating through the same dull pallet of blacks, blues, and grays. As you age, though, your skin and hair change color, and the old outfits might not work as well as they once did. Revamp your closet, and your look, by experimenting with new colors. Start with a sweater, tie, or shirt that brings out your eye color, and build from there. And don’t forget the pocket square! And for more ways to spruce things up, try out the 15 Killer Style Accessories You Never Knew You Needed.
5Cut back on sugar.
It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but don’t go too crazy on those venti caramel macchiatos. Sugar contributes to wrinkles and dehydrated skin, and causes inflammation that can lead to acne (which makes you look young, but in the wrong way). Avoid the obvious culprits—soda, candy, desserts—but also beware of sugar bombs disguised as healthy foods, including juice, protein bars, breakfast cereal, and flavored yogurts. And for ways to use your diet to turn back the clock, eat the 50 Foods That Make You Look Younger.
6Skip the nightcap.
First off, you should try to limit your alcohol intake altogether—maybe save the after-work happy hour for Thursdays only—since it’s a toxin that causes free radical damage. If you do indulge, try to wind things down early enough to give your body time to metabolize the booze, so it’s less likely to disrupt your natural sleep cycle and leave you feeling like crap the next morning. Bonus tip: Order a double virgin-screwdriver at last call. Fructose, one of the sugars in orange juice, speeds up alcohol metabolism by as much as 25 percent.
7Cool it in the shower.
A long, steamy shower is relaxing after a stressful workday or hard workout, but it strips the skin of natural oils and essential moisture, making you look older and exacerbating common skin problems like eczema. Instead, keep your shower short and the temperature lukewarm.
8Get a good haircut.
Grays aren’t the only way your hair can make you look older. Your haircut can add or drop years from your looks, especially when your crown is balding or hairline is on the retreat. That means it’s worth laying down a few extra bucks to hire a professional stylist who can help you troubleshoot, and home in on a cut that better frames your face, making you look younger and more put together. Once you’ve got it, you can take it back to your trusted barber for follow-up trims.
9Practice tree pose.
Of course yoga is healthy, but did you know it can keep you feeling younger? As you age, your muscles become less supple, and aches and pains become the daily norm. But something as simple as a 15-minute daily practice—there are tons of beginner-friendly videos online—can make your body more resilient.
“Though there’s more studying to be done, it would seem that yoga goes a bit beyond standard exercise when it comes to chronic low back pain—and potentially other aches and pains of the body,” says Dr. Adam Lipson of IGEA Brain & Spine. “It works an array of muscle groups and also helps protect the body from injury and improves circulatory health.”
10Ignore the trends.
Instead of chasing the latest sartorial trends inspired by, and targeted toward, 18-year-olds—we’re talking spray-on-skinny jeans and tracksuits in public—go with updated classics that make you look handsome and self-assured rather than middle-aged and desperately clinging to youth. For ideas, start with these 30 Essential Timeless Style Upgrades.
11Sleep on your back.
Side-sleepers, it turns out, are more vulnerable to wrinkles caused by smooshing their face against the pillow. Sleeping on your back also fights acid reflux, and eases neck and back pain. In fact, the only reason it could put you at more risk—from sharp elbows, mostly—is if your snoring disturbs your partner’s sleep.
By the time you’re 40, your muscles become less pliable and you can’t move as easily as you once did. You’re losing muscle cells, and the mitochondria—the “power plants”—within your cells are on the decline, paving the way for age-related diseases. A simple stretching routine—pick 10 common stretches, and hold each one for 30 seconds—gets your body moving enough to reduce injury, and start rebuilding atrophied cells to keep aging at bay.
13Skip the straw.
Sipping your iced coffee from a straw seems innocent enough, but repeatedly puckering up your lips accentuates fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth. So ditch the straw (especially if it’s plastic, since it has a compounding and colossal impact on the environment), and sip your drink like a man.
14Lose the shadow.
On a young man, stubble has a certain rakish, I-don’t-care-what-you-think appeal. On an older man, it can look tired and sloppy—like you had trouble waking up and might be in need of an afternoon nap—or, at best, indecisive. Either go clean-shaven or grow out your five-o-clock shadow into a well-manicured beard befitting a grownup.
15Wash after you work out.
Don’t pass up the post-gym shower. Besides making you feel refreshed, washing your face after exercise can help keep dead skin, oil, and other grime from clogging your pores, making them stretch out and appear larger, a sure sign of aging. Wash your face at least twice daily, but especially make sure you get it after a sweat-soaked workout.
16Act like a kid again.
Remember all those team sports and games you played as a kid, from sandlot baseball to pick-up basketball and even Capture the Flag? As men, we’re conditioned to focus on self, family and career to the point that it feels like there’s no time for fun and games, but the mental health benefits of play are as real as the physical ones, from improving your mood and concentration to reducing stress and depression. So don’t be shy about rounding up your buddies to lose yourselves in a throwback game of kickball or Ultimate Frisbee (and if they’re too busy to have fun, seek out a league or other like-minded group). It’ll make you a healthier man, not to mention a happier husband and dad.
17Let your beard out.
If you have a double chin or sagging jowls, a close-cropped beard can be a great way of concealing it.
18Ignore the elevator’s call.
One of the best anti-aging secrets is to keep your body moving throughout the day by incorporating movement into your routine. A great way to do that is to pass up the elevator at your office or condo, and take the stairs. According to a 2008 study out of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, climbing the stairs daily can result in better lung capacity, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If that’s not enough, it may also lower your chances of dying young by as much as 15 percent.
19Hit the sauna.
A post-workout sauna session is good for muscle recovery, sure, but it also takes care of your ticker. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found it helps lower your blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart disease and keeping your body in great shape. On top of that, the heat stimulates natural collagen production, and deep sweating removes bacteria from the skin and improves skin cell turnover, so you emerge with a healthy glow.
20Strive for a purpose.
Be confident, and stand for something. Nothing makes you look and feel older than a downtrodden, shoulder-slumped approach to life, where the world is crumbling, and you’re helpless to stop it. Stop complaining, and commit yourself to a cause that’s bigger than yourself, whether that’s finally becoming involved in political or environmental activism, volunteering at the local food pantry or passing on your skills and talents to a younger generation. You’ve spent the better part of a lifetime working on you; now it’s time to share the wealth. On top of feeling good about yourself, being a do-gooder is good for your physical and mental health, as it helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.
21Trim unwanted body hair.
You’ve noticed for years—and with alarm, no doubt—stray hairs popping up in your ears and nose, and on your back. Keep them trimmed, and you’ll look and feel younger. And if your body hair is turning gray, keeping it short will make the gray less obvious.
22Take a stand against sitting.
It feels good to “take a load off,” but too much sitting—at meals, on the commute, through an 8-hour workday, in front of the TV—is slowly killing you, and no amount of exercise can make up for all that “down time.” The good news is that simply reducing inactivity, even just by standing and walking, is enough to reduce a ton of health risks, according to a 2013 study published in the journal PLoS ONE. Even if you’re not ready for a sit-stand desk, it’s easy to sneak enough movement into your day by taking a five-minute walk break at least once every hour.
23Get a dog.
Beyond the licks and cuddles, there’s a more practical reason dogs are a man’s best friend. A 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that owning a dog is associated with a 33 percent decreased risk of death and 36 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, all of those twice-a-day walks help keep you as active and strong as Spot. It’s just one of the 15 Amazing Benefits of Adopting a Pet.
24Get rid of some grays.
You don’t have to go crazy covering up gray hairs; less is more here, as a little salt-and-pepper can distinguish a man. But if you’re looking to downplay the gray, it’s best to let your stylist do it. Just ask for lowlights, which will add subtle streaks of your natural hair color (or a shade darker) to camouflage the grays in a way that looks more authentic.
25Sleep in your underwear.
Wearing too many clothes to bed can prevent your body from adequately cooling down, which disrupts the release of the anti-aging growth hormone (HGH), which burns fat, builds muscle, and repairs your bones and skin while you sleep. Sleeping in your boxer-briefs helps keep your external temp below the critical 70º Fahrenheit mark, and—bonus!—makes choosing PJs a breeze.
Bright sun causes you to squint to prevent damage to your eyes. Wearing shades—choose ones with large frames, darker lenses and broad-spectrum protection—will prevent that, helping you avoid wrinkles and protect the skin around your eyes. And, if you pick the right pair, they’ll make you look pretty cool, too.
It’s no surprise that shaving yourself as clean as a pre-teen can make you look baby-faced, but a study by the UK’s Crown Clinic showed that celebrities looked as much as 10 years younger with a hair-free face. There’s an entire industry built around shaving, from the ritualistic straight-razor trims popular among hipsters to the subscription plans sold by Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, so do what works for you. Just do it daily, and rinse with cold water.
28Get it on more often.
In man’s age-old quest for more sex, here’s a compelling new argument to bring to your partner: Science. In a 10-year-long study of 3,500 people from 18 to 102 years old, researchers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland found couples in a healthy relationship who have sex at least three times a week look an average of 10 years younger. (You’re welcome.)
29Update your prescription.
As your vision gets less sharp, other muscles around your eye pitch in—you squint, in other words—to help you focus, which accentuates those “crow’s feet” wrinkles radiating out from the corners of your eyes. Updating your prescription can solve the problem.
30Always wash your face before bed.
You know you’re supposed to, but sometimes you’re just too tired. Failing to wash your face at day’s end, though, actually increases the likelihood of wrinkles and acne. Your face is exposed to collagen-killing free radicals throughout the day (think: pollution and UV), and a simple scrub prevents them from doing more damage during the night, when skin is most actively renewing itself. Also, it removes accumulated dirt, oils and sloughed-off skin cells that can clog your pores overnight, causing acne and other blemishes.
31…and do so with cold water.
Splash your face with cold water to better hydrate and plump your skin than warm water will. It also closes your pores, so dirt and oil are less likely to get in.
32Learn to cook.
Eating out is good for your social life, but terrible for your body. You can’t be sure of what you’re putting in your body, but trust that it contains more calories, cholesterol, and supremely unhealthy trans fat than what you make at home, thanks to the fattier cuts of meat, rich sauces, butter, and heavily processed ingredients that are common in most restaurants. Cooking for yourself with fresh, whole, clean foods (and good-for-you oils, like EVO and coconut) means you know exactly what you’re eating, and you can keep it healthy.
33Be a practical jokester.
Even if it’s not technically the best medicine, there’s evidence that laughter can help you live longer. A 2012 study published in the journal Aging found that laughing was an important aspect in looking and feeling young. Not only does it decrease stress hormones and release your body’s mood-boosting endorphins, it also increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, making you more resistant to diseases. Now that’s something to smile about.
Traffic jams, 12-hour workdays, and difficult kids aren’t just bad for your mood; all that stress wreaks havoc on your skin, too. Your body releases stress hormones that increase inflammation, break down collagen and reduce your body’s ability to repair damage, making you more prone to breakouts and wrinkles. If you let stress become a chronic problem, it can cause you to pack on more pounds around your midsection, raise your insulin levels, lose muscle mass. Over time, it dramatically increases your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. All that is to say it’s time to kick back and relax a bit, whether that means taking a nap, doing an interval workout, cracking open a new book or meditating.
35Brighten your smile.
Stained, yellowing teeth can add years to your face, while robbing you of your confidence. To make your smile sparkle, tackle stubborn stains with whitening toothpaste, strips, or trays (ordered from least to most effective). A couple of simple steps to avoid future discoloration include having twice-annual dental cleanings, and brushing your teeth directly after eating or drinking (particularly coffee, tea and red wine, which are some of the worst offenders). And, finally, when you want to implement some pro-level cleaning, try brushing your teeth with turmeric (yes, the spice).
36Kick it with young people.
Making some friends a few years your junior, who are typically more physically and socially active, will help keep you on your toes. If you can keep up with them (no need to surpass them, champ), you’ll sip from the fountain of youth—improving your cognitive abilities and vascular health—and they won’t treat you like you’re any older.
Indoor workouts are great, but sometimes you’ve got to break out of all those little boxes—office, cubicle, car, gym, house—you live in all day every day, and revel in the great outdoors. Go for a run, jump in a river, take a hike, hit the crag—take a deep breath of fresh outside air, and soak in the natural beauty of this planet we call home. It’s good for the body, sure, but does even greater wonders for the mind and spirit.
38Wash your hair.
You should definitely rinse your hair every time you step into the shower, but consider using shampoo less often—once or twice a week, say—to maintain natural oils for softer, shinier hair that’s healthier, fuller and, well, more effective combover material.
Assuming you get good quality sleep, the quantity you need remains fairly constant—generally seven to nine hours a day—throughout your life. To maximize your time in bed and get better, more restful and efficient sleep, take the following straightforward steps: 1) avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in the evening; 2) establish a bedtime routine, and stick to it; 3) avoid television, reading, and social media in bed (it’s for sleeping and sex, after all); and, if you still aren’t zonked after 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you really feel sleepy. And for the best sleep of your night, every night, learn the 10 Genius Tricks For Falling Back Asleep in the Middle of the Night.
Just because your dad didn’t use lotion doesn’t mean you can’t evolve. Get over yourself, and slather it on when you wake up, after showering and before bed. Dry skin—particularly in the winter—accentuates fine lines and wrinkles, exaggerating aging in the face and body. Find a simple, fragrance-free lotion to start hydrating your skin from the inside. It’s cheap and effective, a no-brainer.
41Pick just one accessory.
Where jewelry is concerned, less is more as you age. Don’t get carried away with attention-grabbing gold chains, chunky rings, multiple earrings, and ostentatious watches. Instead, focus on one or two understated, age-appropriate pieces that will complement your clothing, not compete with it.
42Tame your eyebrows.
Don’t kid yourself: Those unruly bushes don’t make you look distinguished; they make you look like a crazy old person. Fear not, though, you don’t have to start plucking. Bring your eyebrows to heel with a facial hair trimmer, or go the lazy route and ask your hair stylist to trim them next time you get a haircut.
43Marie Kondo your closet.
You’re old enough by now to know what clothes you do and don’t like, so be honest, be ruthless and get rid of those clothes that don’t quite fit you right or that you don’t love. Dressing sharply, in clothes that you love, makes you feel better and gives you a youthful self-confidence.
Gently rub an exfoliating paste—Clinique for Men Face Scrub ($21) is a great option—into your face twice each week to slough away dead skin, and reveal a fresh, silky-smooth glowing complexion. Beyond making you look better, it slows your skin’s aging process—keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay—by assisting the cell turnover process and sending messages to the brain to produce more collagen. It also opens the pores to better absorb any moisturizer.
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, catching some daytime Zs can keep your heart healthier and your brain sharper. A six-year-long study of 24,000 participants found those who napped three times a week for 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower coronary mortality than those who didn’t nap at all. Additionally, scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute observed sleep spindles—IQ-boosting bursts of brain activity—in napping men. The ideal nap time for most guys is between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
46Wear contacts (or get Lasik).
Glasses correct vision, of course, which generally deteriorates over time as we age. Wearing glasses sends the subconscious message “my eyes don’t work as well as they used to,” which is almost akin to saying, “I’m old.” Opt for contacts for a fresher, younger look. Or, if you have the stomach for some mild pain and discomfort, get Lasik.
47Get your “Om” on.
Meditation is more than just hippy alternative medicine. In fact, it’s been proven by science to improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and reduce stress—one of the most common factors in premature aging. “I don’t think enough emphasis is placed on our stress levels and how it relates to internal disease as well as skin health,” says dermatologist Hal Weitzbuch, founder of JuveTress. “Both meditation and relaxing exercises like yoga can have enormous effects on your overall wellbeing. After all, anti-aging isn’t only looking or feeling younger—it also relates to using knowledge acquired with age to keep yourself healthy.”
48Don’t fall out.
Between a busy workplace, a growing family, and that never-ending list of home improvement projects, it’s easy to get so overbooked that you don’t leave time for other relationships. But spending time around your friends improves your health and, ultimately, leads to a longer (by as much as half a decade, according to some studies), happier life.
49Wear blue, not gray.
Just like gray hair is associated with aging, gray formal wear tends to make you look more serious and mature (you know: “older”), especially if you have gray hairs coming in. Instead of a charcoal or black suit, try wearing a more casual bright navy blue, and you’ll instantly appear younger.
50Just do it.
You know what we’re talking about—the thing you’ve always said you would do, or the place you thought you’d have visited by now. Climb a mountain, learn a second (or third or fourth) language, start a business, go backpacking through Asia—and do it now, before it’s too late. Testing your limits and stepping outside your comfort zone makes you feel young, and keeps you excited about life.