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These anti-aging tips will have your skin looking young again

  • McClatchy-Tribune
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at 6:43 a.m.

Looking for ways to keep your skin looking healthy, but don’t want to take the plastic surgery route? Jeffrey Spiegel, a facial plastic surgeon and professor of facial plastic surgery and head and neck surgery at Boston University, has several anti-aging tips to help your skin look healthier and younger before considering going under the knife.

•  Put time into taking care of your hands and face.

“Putting the time in goes toward a good, clear complexion,” he said. “People will know if your skin is healthy. They can tell the difference between freckles and lesions.”

Spiegel said taking the weather into account is important as well.

“It’s frigid up here in Boston, so I have to take care of my hands and face, which are exposed. The same goes for the sun. Most of the time the rest of your skin is covered, which is why it’s necessary to focus on the hands and face.”

•  Use gentle facial washes.

“Older men might find this too feminine an activity, but it’s important,” he said. “Look at it this way. You aren’t going to use a flat-head screwdriver on a Phillips-head screw, so why use soap on your face instead of a facial wash?”

Spiegel also advocated using moisturizer and sunscreen, regardless of the temperature or season.

“Sun damage causes lots of problems to your skin, not to mention cancerous growth,” he said. “Your body can’t heal the sun damage unless you give it time to heal, and you can’t give it time to heal without using sunscreen.”

•  Take note of your facial positions.

“Your facial positions should accentuate the positive features of your face,” he said. “For men, having good posture and keeping your jaw and chin up is important. For women, looking up makes the eyes look larger and keeps the eyebrows up.”

•  Attitude.

“Confidence and attractiveness go hand in hand,” Spiegel said. “You are who you want to be.”

•  Take note of your sleeping habits.

“From your 30s to your 50s, how you sleep is important,” he said. “Certain sleep positions leave sleep lines on your face, which become wrinkles on your face.”

Sleep lines are perpendicular to regular wrinkles, because they are not caused by muscle use.

“You need to take note of how you sleep and what you sleep on,” he said. “Sleeping on your side or using a rough pillow can cause sleep lines and wrinkles. Sleeping on your back is the best option, but people find it uncomfortable.”

Spiegel said considering options to make sleeping on your back more comfortable, such as the Envy pillow, are important.

“It’s not a great name for a pillow, but it’s effective,” he said.

•  Get enough sleep.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is important,” he said, “even if it means going to bed earlier. You have to compensate for your biological clock.”

•  Stay hydrated.

“Dehydration causes all sorts of problems, including problems to your skin,” he said.

Spiegel said pinching the skin on the back of your hand is a good test to see if the skin is properly hydrated.

“If it doesn’t snap back into place quickly, it means the skin isn’t hydrated,” he said.

Spiegel added that drinking water adds volume to the face, making it appear healthier.

•  Don’t be afraid to try Botox.

“There are quick procedures to be done with very little downtime,” he said. “There’s no such thing as being too old for Botox.”

Spiegel said the procedure has its advantages, noting that Botox users have an improved mood, among other effects.

•  Think about trying Botox alternatives.

“Certain fillers last several years now and regrow tissue,” Spiegel said. “Sculptra is one. It provides volume and stimulates the body to grow and fill lost tissue.”

Spiegel’s final tip?

“Don’t be afraid to get an opinion,” he said. “That’s what the experts are there for — to ask an opinion. You get your chimney and your heating checked regularly. Why not get your skin checked as well?”

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