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Looking younger for longer...naturally

In 2004, U.S. skin care product sales totaled a high $2.1 billion.  Sales of anti-aging products continue to rise, and for the second straight year in a row, sales of men's anti-aging products outpaced women's, showing how the desire to look young has crossed the traditionally female dominated industry.

The large focus on looking younger for longer has helped fuel the growth of cosmetic surgery, medical-spas and skincare lines.  While cosmetic procedures can help reverse signs of aging that have already occurred, there are a number of ways to slow down the aging process and to prevent more or future skin damage from occurring.

Genetics is a good indicator of how prone you are to fine lines, jowls, hooded lids, eye bags and other signs of aging, but that does not mean you are doomed if your genes are not as forgiving and flawless as you would like.  Lifestyle choices greatly influence the progression of skin aging. 

We have provided tips on looking younger for longer, and although we do not have any earth shattering new secrets, sometimes a reminder of the most basic elements are helpful and effective.  Here are ways of making sure you look your best:

-Be Vigilant About Wearing SPF!

Studies continue to indicate Americans are not heeding to the warnings about protecting against sun damage at all times.  In addition to protecting against skin cancer, the sun is 90 percent responsible for skin aging.  Many people fail to realize that wrinkles because of tanning are more visible than wrinkles that are part of the natural aging process.  It was believed that the majority of sun damage occurred before the age of 18, but now experts realize sun damage continues to be a threat throughout the adult years. 

-Eat a Healthy Diet With Fat

Obesity in the United States has become an epidemic, but while trying to slim down an entire nation, fat is often seen as the enemy.  As a result, doctors are becoming worried that Americans, especially young men and women, are under the belief that eating fats are bad.  There are plenty of bad fats, but there are also healthy fats, such as monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and fat rich in omega-threes, which fight heart disease and inflammatory body chemicals that speed up aging and can result in wrinkles. 

In addition to healthy fats, fruits and vegetables can also help defend against the signs of aging.  Antioxidant rich foods like broccoli and blueberries have anti-aging substances.  Instead of focusing on just cutting calories and fat content, Americans can live healthier, longer and more beautiful lives by focusing on diets rich in necessary vitamins and nutrients, including the right fats. 

-Incorporate Workouts with Variety

There is no shortage of exercise options.  Gyms have added a variety of different aerobic and strength training classes knowing Americans easily bore from one workout trend to the next.  Take advantage of the variety of fun exercise opportunities.  Our nation has become more sedentary than ever, with gadgets and food chains catering to convenience.  Most of us have to work harder not to gain weight as we get older, and adding a variety of workouts can help keep you motivated and having fun.

Diminishing signs of cellulite is one of the most profitable sectors of skincare lines, and it seems Americans will do just about anything to remove or mask the appearance of the lumpy fat.  Experts still have yet to find an effective cellulite treatment, but by staying fit you can help reduce the appearance of cellulite since it is not as evident on firm skin.  In addition, staying fight and maintaining a healthy weight can also help reduce the likelihood of varicose veins, though you are 60 percent more likely to get them if a parent has them. 

-Stay Away From Smoking and Smokers!

There is no disputing smoking is bad for your health.  Cigarettes constrict blood vessels and makes collagen break down, which is responsible for keeping skin firm.  The bad habit will not only cause worse wrinkles, but more gray hair!  Experts are not sure why a higher incidence of gray hair is associated to smoking, but there are no advantages to smoking and it will drastically affect they way your skin looks.  In addition to wrinkles, smoking is associated to yellowish skin.  If you need help kicking the habit, talk to your healthcare provider. 

-Find Effective Ways of De-Stressing

Stress has a very negative effect on the human body, but sometimes it is hard to identify.  Linked to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and depressed immune systems, stress undoubtedly affects the skin.  Finding a way to decompress in a world connected at all times can be difficult, but your health and your skin will be thankful.