Anti-aging—the new hybrid word that no woman (frankly, at any age) wants to discuss. Why? Because first, you have to admit that you are undoubtedly getting older, and second, it gets ready to put up a fight. The glory days of your youth are behind you, and every moment will be spent preserving the little that you have left.

Or, that’s at least what “they” want you to think. Is there a better, more natural way to age gracefully in an era when girls in their twenties are lining up for Botox, fillers, and who knows what else? We spoke to three experts to help us uncover the answer.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The general consensus is that the earlier you start, the more effective your war on anti-aging will be. “It’s never too early to start using antioxidant-rich skincare, especially if you are genetically prone to fine lines, wrinkles, skin discolorations, and under-eye circles,” shares Terese Linke, Global Education & Spa Training Director for Amala Beauty.

(Related: How Does This Anti-Aging and Anti-Bedhead Pillow Case Compare to a Regular One?)

“In our mid-20s, collagen, and elastin begin to deplete, yet the external signs of aging don’t usually appear until our 30s or early 40s. However, it could be even sooner if you smoke, are a sun worshipper, and have a poor diet. The bottom line is that it is best to start early, ideally by or before age 28.

Think your face is the only body part you need to be concerned with? Think again! “When it comes to anti-aging, most women overlook their neck, décolletage, and hands,” explains Double Board Certified Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon Dr. Richard Swift. “Women need to be more vigilant in applying sunscreen to these areas because they show signs of aging.” 

The skin on your hands is thinner than that on other areas of the body, so they often show signs of aging faster since they are exposed to the elements more often. Plus, they are usually neglected when it comes to moisturizing and sun protection.

And rumor has it, a topical version of Botox is pretty close. “ERASA XEP-30 has a non-invasive neuropeptide technology, currently exclusively available only to ERASA, combined with 2 other powerful neuropeptides to create the ultimate tri-peptide complex,” explains Dr. Hadley King, Board Certified Dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa. “This luxurious concentrate works beneath the skin’s surface, helping to relax the forehead and facial areas, therefore smoothing lines and wrinkles.” “It delivers Botox results without the risk of freezing your face in place or dealing with needles.”

Dr. Swift admittedly isn’t a fan of at-home devices. “Most treatments that are sold on the market are not strong enough because, without being under the direct care of a physician, companies sell weaker products so that consumers don’t complain of side effects or adverse reactions,” he says. “There is a reason why the government requires a certified registered nurse or doctor to perform laser treatments, and the lasers are not available on the open market.”

On the other hand, he thinks exfoliation has added benefits for most skin types. “[Exfoliation] is good for your skin because it sloughs away dead skin cells and helps to keep pores from clogging,” clarifies Dr. Swift. “However, at-home peels are very superficial, meaning they do not treat the dermal layers of the skin.” “You may see a temporary brightening of your skin due to the exfoliating effects, but unfortunately, these products are not medical grade products.”

Those who want a more natural approach don’t have to worry because many organic seed and plant oils protect and lock in moisture loss. Look for products that have natural plant ingredients, which are typically rich in vitamins A, C, and E.

“Rosehip seed oil and carrot seed oil are great anti-aging oils that are antioxidant and vitamin A rich, help treat uneven skin tone and sun damage, and they stimulate cell rejuvenation and lock in moisture,” explains Linke.

Ingredients such as “natural hyaluronic acid” (derived from beets and/or wheat) are nature’s “moisture magnet,” helping to plump, smooth, and soften the skin, as well as tone and hydrate, reducing the look of lines and wrinkles.

Another secret weapon at your advantage? Retinoids. “Other than sun protection, I think these are the most effective topical options for anti-aging,” says Dr. King. “Over-the-counter retinols are a good place to start, or ask for a prescription retinoid from your dermatologist if your skin will tolerate a stronger formulation.”

The verdict? Mom was right—the best way to slow down the aging process isn’t Botox or fillers but by using all-natural, vitamin-rich skin care, a clean, healthy diet, regular exercise, and drinking lots of water. More sound advice? “Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol consumption,” adds Linke. We’ll work on the latter.

(Photo: Getty)

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