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The quest for plump, radiant skin by no means needs to be elusive. However, understanding the way aging works can be a bit complex. Luckily, we had two experts break down the topic to help you look (and stay) forever young.

“We all start out as plump, adorable babies: round cheeks, full, pouty lips, bright eyes, flawless skin,” explains Consulting Dermatologist for Clark’s Botanicals, Donna Bilu Martin, MD based in Miami. “Think of the bones and fat in our face as the foundation of a house. Over time, as the soil shifts and the foundation sags, the house begins to crack. As the bone and fat is resorbed and atrophies, the skin that is draped over it falls and sags, resulting in hollowed under-eyes, flat cheeks, prominent nasolabial folds and marionette lines, and jowls.”

Collagen, the protein produced by your cells to help “hold” skin together, plays a major role in firmness and elasticity—women often start to see a significant reduction starting in their 20’s. Indulging in bad habits, a.k.a. “skin sins,” like sun exposure and tanning beds, smoking, poor diet, drugs and alcohol, and pollution can accelerate the aging process. Noticeable changes? Volume loss, pigment and textural changes, such as wrinkles and brown spots.

Commonly, certain factors can accelerate loss in specific areas. For example, smokers tend to have more damage around the lips, which can lead to perioral wrinkles, or “smoker’s lines.”

“Women often will remember to put sunscreen on their faces, but neglect to apply to their neck, hands and chest,” adds Dr. Bilu Martin. “Using sunscreen daily, reapplying frequently, and practicing safe sun is essential.  An excellent skincare regimen includes a vitamin C serum in the morning, a sunblock that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, an antioxidant serum twice daily, like Clark’s Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum, a retinol at night, and an amazing eye cream.”

When it comes to keeping skin plump and toned using a combination of natural ingredients is the key. Francine Krenicki, SVP of Product Development for Skinfix, suggests aloe vera (proven to stimulate skin cell renewal and collagen production) alongside rice protein (which delivers nutripeptides – powerful natural agents that stimulate cell renewal, strengthen the skin barrier function, and helps protect skin from free radicals) as a way to keep skin in its best shape.

“A really great moisturizer is red seaweed extract,” she adds. “It is rich in natural sodium hyaluronate, a powerful ingredient that pulls moisture into the skin to instantly plump the skin and give it that healthy glow. [However] As we age we have to think about our skin holistically there is no one magic ingredient.” The Skinfix Healthy Skin Collection uses this combination of natural ingredients (as well as emollient oils of jojoba and macadamia oil)  in its Nourishing Cream and Hydrating Lotion which can be used day or night to help keep skin plump and radiant.

The mantra, “you are what you eat” overtime can influence how your skin looks and feels. A diet high in plant proteins like nuts, beans and green leafy vegetables can boost production levels. “As we age, collagen production slows down and skin is more prone to dehydration due to a sluggish skin barrier – which can leave skin looking more like a raisin vs. a grape,” Krenicki reminds us.

For those who want to “cheat” the system, injectables are a viable option—but only if they look natural. “The key to a natural, beautiful result with fillers is to know the anatomy of the face well and to be conservative,” cautions Dr. Bilu Martin. “Today’s patient doesn’t want to look cheeky, or like a fish, or frozen. They want to look like themselves. Treatments today are about pan-facial volumization, rather than filling a line or wrinkle.” Dr. Bilu Martin will often inject smaller amounts in multiple sessions to ensure a subtle, youthful look.

The secret for youthful skin can also literally lie in the hands. Facial massage shouldn’t be considered an underdog—the movements  can enhances lymphatic drainage of the face, improving puffiness under the eyes and circulation. “Facials are an important adjunct to a skincare regimen. Steaming, toning, masks, and gentle extractions relieve clogged pores and keep skin clear.”