Fact or fiction: The 4 basic truths everyone needs to know when it comes to premature aging

September 21, 2021

Aging gets a bad rap, but the truth is, it’s actually great because it means you’re living life. But if you’re not ready to embrace laugh lines just yet, that’s OK, too. When it comes to getting older, you get to decide whether to let it flow or make some lifestyle adjustments that can help prevent skin from aging prematurely. We asked skincare experts for their truths and tips. 

Fact or fiction: Beauty rest is a lie. 

Fiction. Simply put, sleep equals healthier skin. “Sleep doesn’t just make you feel refreshed. Your body actually goes through major healing processes and collagen formation while you are getting your rest,” says YouTube skinfluencer and esthetician Cassandra Bankson. “For optimal rest, try going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day, and sleep in a room with minimal lights or loud noise interruptions,” she adds. 

Fact or fiction: You are what you eat.

Fact. If eyes are the window to your soul, skin is the reflection of what you eat. Dr. Susan Bard, a NYC-based, board-certified dermatologist, points to sugar as a culprit behind wrinkles and volume loss. “High-glycemic index diets (high in carbs and sugars) can directly bind to collagen and elastin and lead to damage over time,” Bard says.  

Bankson agrees, noting that lifestyle factors like alcohol or a diet heavy in fried foods can cause an overproduction of free radicals in the body. “Free radicals occur naturally in the body. If there are too many, they can damage our skin’s DNA, which can cause premature wrinkles, pigmentation and dullness.”  

To help prevent skin from aging, try dialing down processed foods and alcohol while consuming more antioxidant-rich foods (like garlic, eggplant, grapes, spinach, mangos and nuts).  

Fact or fiction: You don’t need SPF when it’s cloudy out. 

Fiction. You need to slather it on every day, rain or shine. “The sun, the biggest skin ager, is always shining UV radiation upon us, even if it’s cold, cloudy or rainy out,” Bard says. “It is important to protect against these rays as they lead to DNA damage in our skin cells and lead to collagen breakdown and dark spots.” 

To help prevent skin from aging, Bard recommends “broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher.” Amount matters just as much as application, too: Think the length of two fingers for your face, and one ounce for your body (the size of a shot glass). Don’t let concerns about chemical sunscreens shouldn’t stop you from lathering up. There are plenty of mineral options you can choose that melt comfortably (and invisibly) into skin, such as City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50, formulated with MuraSol™—a patented technology with sustained-release antioxidants—for added environmental protection against skin-aging free radicals.  

Fact or fiction: You can’t reverse previous damage to your skin.

Fiction. Feel like you missed the boat on skincare? Adopt this mantra: It’s never too late. “There are absolutely proven ingredients that can help correct signs of aging,” Bankson says. “First and foremost is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which combats those free radicals in the body and prevents damage. Vitamin C also helps to brighten and tighten the skin.”  

Her additional tips on how to care for aging skin include two key ingredients: retinoids and hyaluronic acid. “Retinoids (are) one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients that we have. It helps the skin cells renew and plump themselves up so that you glow and  wrinkles disappear,” Bankson says. “Everyone can benefit from adding a good hyaluronic acid to their skincare routine. Even those with oily skin need it to help with hydration.” 

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Jacki Marzano is SoCal-based storyteller and head copywriter at Murad Skincare. She's shaped the voice of some of the most recognized beauty brands in the business, has a penchant for sharing homemade cookies, and believes SPF is the secret to getting carded well into your 40s.