Whether you are just starting to see the first signs of aging or you’re battling deeper lines and wrinkles there are things you can do now that will prevent premature aging as well as repair damage that has already been done.

Young and old alike are all searching for that mystical fountain of youth in order to turn back the hands of time so they can look younger without having to go under the knife. Unfortunately, aging is inevitable, but by incorporating healthy alternatives into your life you can look years younger.

1. Drink a generous amount of water. Your body needs water to stay healthy and your skin cells need water to stay plump. Did you know that your skin cells are 80% water and if you don’t consume enough water your skin will look and feel dehydrated?

2. Get plenty of restful sleep. Yes, the old adage “get your beauty rest” is spot on when it comes to the health of your skin. When your body gets ample sleep your skin will look refreshed and youthful. When you don’t get enough sleep your body produces cortisol which actually damages skin cell.

3. Sleep on your back. While you are working on getting your beauty rest make sure you do it on your back. Sleeping on your stomach or your side causes lines and wrinkles to form which over time can become permanent.

4. Don’t smoke. Smoking not only ruins your health but can cause irreversible damage to your skin as well. Smoking robs your body and skin of vital nutrients and breaks down collagen and elastin. The repeated movement of puffing on a cigarette also causes unsightly wrinkles around your mouth.

5. Omega 3’s and 6’s are essential fatty acids that help protect and nourish your skin cells. Fish oil is an excellent source of both omega 3 and omega 6 which makes it simple to get a wealth of these skin loving essential fatty acids.

6. Eat plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables and the darker the better. Antioxidants protect your skin cells from free radical attacks. Free radicals are all around us and when they attack they cause serious damage resulting in wrinkles, rough skin, discoloration, and an uneven skin tone.

7. Use a gentle cleanser. Use a cleanser that won’t strip your skin of it protective natural oils. When you use a harsh cleanser your natural oils are stripped away and the balance of your skin is disrupted leaving it unprotected.

8. Exfoliation. Using an at home microdermabrasion system or a gentle scrub removes built up dead skin cells that are stuck together with sebum. When you thoroughly exfoliate the surface of your skin you reveal a softer, smoother, and younger complexion. Exfoliation will also help your other skin care products work more effectively as they no longer have a barrier to get through.

9. Use the best skin care for your skin type. We all face different skin concerns such as dryness, oiliness, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and on and on. You may be fighting oily skin while your best friend is dealing with very dry skin. Her products would be much too rich for your oily skin and would cause all sorts of problems. Know your skin and its needs so that you can use the appropriate skin care products and promote healthy, vibrant skin.

10. Effective anti-aging skin care ingredients. Look for skin care products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin A (retinoids), peptides, and growth factors. They all have a proven track record and have been shown to produce fantastic results.

11. Red light therapy. Red light therapy or photo rejuvenation uses red light wavelengths and infrared light wavelengths to penetrate deep within the layers of the skin where they stimulate an increase in collagen, elastin, and cell activity. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of your skin and when they are damaged the results are lines, wrinkles, and an uneven skin tone. By increasing the production of collagen and elastin your skin can repair past damage and has the ability to act like younger skin.

12. Avoid spending too much time in the sun. It’s a sad fact that the rays of the sun are the number one cause of wrinkles and premature aging.

13. Wear sunscreen everyday. Whether you are going out in the sun or not, include an SPF moisturizer in your daily skin care routine. You are exposed to the sun’s harmful rays when driving or sitting near a window so protect your skin.

You can’t stop the aging process completely but you can look years younger by living a healthy lifestyle as well as using healthy skin care products. The elusive fountain of youth remains a mystery, but by incorporating these thirteen tips into your daily life you can turn back the hands of time and take years off of your appearance.