I’m 34 and work mostly from home, so it’s rare that I have an occasion to shave my face clean. But, through a strange set of circumstances and a bit of luck, I was asked to audition for a Cadillac commercial. The only information I had about my potential character was that he was an architect. He was clean-cut but hip. He owned his own house (modern, posh) and, of course, one of the new Cadillac coupes. He was also a great lover of classical music. Out of those characteristics, there was only one I could embody in real life with a little effort—clean-cut. So I bought a new razor, lathered up, and cleaned all the tiny hairs off my face. And there I was, still (somewhat) bright-faced and youngish-looking, but with two canyon-esque wrinkles around my mouth that had previously been obscured by scruff.
This discovery got me inspecting the old mug, and closer inspection revealed that I’d developed what looked like a map of the London Underground around both eyes. What had happened? What could I do to slow this down? Seeking expert counsel, I called up dermatologist Dr. Amy Huber. She told me that antiaging skincare involves lifelong practice, but there are also a few tricks to be learned.
1.Protect your face and neck from the sun.
If you’re like me and spent all your summers outdoors, the damage might already be done. But don’t give up the fight in later years. “The best thing is prevention,” says Huber. “Always use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when out in the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm.”
2. Hydrate both your body and your face.
“If your skin gets dried out,” says Huber, “that can make you look more wrinkled.” To keep skin hydrated, drink plenty of water and moisturize regularly. A targeted daily antiaging moisturizer that seals in hydration is a good place to start for both prevention and treatment (ZIRH's Reverse, for example).
3. Don’t smoke.
“Smoking actually inhibits your body from making collagen, which is what makes your skin firm,” says Huber. “It literally melts the natural elastic tissues that help hold your skin together.” The good news: if you quit, your skin can begin to repair itself.
4. Get on some acid(s).
Prescription topical products can help reverse the signs of aging. For example, tretinoin, the acid form of vitamin A, rebuilds collagen and increases the turnover rate of skin cells. But there are side effects, Huber says, to keep in mind. “If you overuse it, you could turn red from the peeling, because your skin is regenerating too quickly.” It’s also available in less intense versions such as Retin-A.
5. Splurge for high-tech.
There are always chemical peels and laser therapy—these are not so much antiaging as last resorts. “You can put superficial chemicals on your skin and peel off a few layers, and that will make you lose a few wrinkles,” says Huber. The benefit of laser therapy is that it does skin resurfacing without being invasive (though at a greater financial cost).
As for the gig playing a fresh-faced Classical music-loving architect? I didn’t get it. I got a callback, but apparently this mug, wrinkles and all, is not the new face of Cadillac. And that’s okay—I’m staying better hydrated and moisturizing more than ever.