A few years ago, I let out a chuckle while standing at my bathroom sink when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. What are those? I thought, shocked by creases I’d never noticed before. The slack face I’d typically wear while brushing my teeth or putting on makeup had hidden the wrinkles that a big smile revealed.
This common what?! moment is one that often comes early for runners. (I was 27 at the time). Dr. Marnie Nussbaum explains, “When exercising, an athlete burns off fat beneath the layers of skin, which can lead to an accelerated development of skin laxity and deepening wrinkles.” That compounded with sun damage from exercising outdoors can get you feeling pretty crease-y.
Wrinkles aren’t the end of the world—but they’re not exactly a fun-filled party for your face either. Luckily, we uncovered some professional tips to keep skin feeling supple after those sun-soaked sweat sessions.
TIP #1: Cover Up
Sun protection almost goes without saying, but its criticalness in both preventing wrinkles and skin cancer makes it more than worth the mention. Nussbaum recommends runners always wear sweat-proof products and reapply every hour—even if that means stashing a mini bottle in your fuel belt during a long run. Double down with large sunglasses plus a brimmed cap, and avoid outdoor runs between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
TIP #2: Hydrate
Moisturizing won’t fight wrinkles, but it will majorly decrease their appearance, according to dermatologist and marathon runner Dr. Amy McClung: “As we age, we lose more moisture in our skin.” She recommends drinking plenty of water and using a noncomedogenic cream that won’t clog pores.
TIP #3: Invest in Proven Products
Nussbaum says, “Skin begins to age as early as 21.” If you’ve reached the legal drinking age, it’s not too early to start an anti-aging skin regimen. The tricky part, of course, is choosing products. McClung recommends her clients look for brands “where the company has done a lot of research.” Invest in a few pricier items to use regularly but sparingly. Check “Lotions and Potions” (next page) for a few good picks, or consult with your derm to see which products she prefers.
TIP #4: Up the Anti
Fueling your body with antioxidant-rich foods won’t just help you run faster, it will also slow down the signs of aging. Stock your fridge with produce, and start using a serum that contains antioxidants like vitamins C, B and E. McClung says, “There’s a lot of research that shows these products reverse sun damage and help with skin elasticity.”
TIP #5: Get Ret
Retinol products are one of the most common meds prescribed to improve the appearance of skin. They’re used to combat everything from acne to psoriasis, and both McClung and Nussbaum recommend using one to fight fine lines. Either opt for a prescription cream (keep in mind insurance may not cover this), or go with an over-the-counter option. As retinols may irritate your sensitive visage, use the cream before bed in conjunction with a moisturizer.
TIP #6: Chill Out
Wrinkles are just one part of your beautiful face. Don’t let a crow’s foot (or 10) get you down. Smile big in the bathroom mirror!
Lotions and Potions
These derm-approved creams will make your skin glow for ages.
Facial Moisturizing Lotion
McClung says this cream softens skin without stopping up pores.
Resveratrol Merlot Moisture Day Cream
For added crack-busting benefits as you hydrate, the lotion includes resveratrol, which has been found to combat UV radiation.
A.G.E. Total Defence
This moisturizing serum, backed up by clinical trials, delivers eight antioxidants straight to the skin’s surface.
Age Defense Q10 Protection Cream
Nussbaum (who works with SebaMed) says the active ingredients in this cream “work to prevent them from breaking down the skin’s elastin and collagen.”
At a lower purchase price than an out-of-pocket prescription cream, this formula still delivers a high dose of retinol (1 percent), no referral required.
Redermic [R] Eyes
Because skin around your eyes is extra sensitive, this cream delivers a lower dose of retinol (0.01 percent) in a gentle formula.