For just a moment, think about the word “aging” — what comes to mind? For many people, it’s the changes to our physical appearance, when we often first notice the passage of time on our skin (hello, laugh lines!), our hair (wait, a gray?!), and our bodies (eek, that’s a new pain . . .).
How well we age depends on many factors, including our genetics, our lifestyles, and our environmental exposures. And it can be more progressive or prominent if we don’t step in to support the underlying health of our hair, bodies, and skin.
The good news is there’s a lot we can do. Here, LifeSpa experts offer information, insights, and strategies to help us take good care of each of these areas, and ultimately, age more healthfully.
For healthy hair, care for your scalp and tend to your locks.
As we age, our hair will not only start graying, but it can also thin, begin to lose shine, and become dehydrated. The right products and actions can help these issues.
“One important at-home habit I highly recommend is to take care of your scalp,” says Brittany Casal, master hair stylist at LifeSpa in Summerlin, Nev. “Scalp care is crucial for healthy hair aging because it supports strong hair follicles, regulates oil production, reduces the risk of dandruff and other scalp conditions, and affects the appearance and texture of your hair.”
Casal directs clients to regularly massage their scalps with the pads of their fingertips as they shampoo. “This will gently cleanse the scalp,” she says. “I would also advise exfoliating and applying serums that contain ingredients like tea-tree oil, peppermint oil, or salicylic acid to address issues like dandruff and inflammation.”
To address dull or dry hair, Casal suggests visiting the salon for deep-conditioning treatments — this helps to provide extra nourishment to the hair. These are especially important if you’re already at the salon getting any type of chemical service, such as hair coloring, which is drying to the hair.
For thinning hair, Emily Carey, elite hair stylist at LifeSpa in Henderson, Nev., uses hair color to create the illusion of fuller hair. “When a client sits in my chair and their main concern is the lack of density, I always recommend a balayage or highlights to add dimension,” she says. “The various hair colors provide depth, which is what gives the look of fuller hair.”
If you’ve embraced your gray hair but have noticed it’s not as shiny, Carey suggests doing a high-shine gloss service, such as Wella Shinefinity. “This will enhance the color and shine, address any dullness, and leave your hair looking refreshed and vibrant,” she says.
For an agile body, prioritize massage.
Massage holds an important place in a healthy-agers routine, emphasizes Maureen Fitzgerald, massage therapist at LifeSpa in Vernon Hills, Ill. “Massage promotes flexibility, which tends to wane as we age, because of the blood flow it brings to the tissues and muscles.”
Massage is also proven to address other common ailments, including lower back pain, tension headaches, sleep issues, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
Fitzgerald suggests exploring massages beyond what’s traditional for added benefits. For example, LifeSpa has upgrades that can be added, including a Himalayan salt stone massage, CBD massage, and silicone cupping massage.
“I consider these to be the ‘trifecta of massage,’” says Fitzgerald. “Not only am I relaxing and regenerating the client’s muscles, but I’m also activating and stimulating their nerves and organs. (Fitzgerald notes it’s important to check with your doctor to ensure any medications you may be on or medical conditions you may have are OK with the added types of services.)
“I’d also advise everyone to incorporate a morning stretch routine in bed to start the day,” Fitzgerald says. “This may seem silly, but it’s actually an easy way to help wake up and add flexibility to the body. I do my stretches from foot to head since the feet are the first to move once you’re out of bed.”
For supple skin, establish a stable skincare routine.
Taking consistent care of your skin is crucial for maintaining a healthy appearance, as well as skin function, as we age, says Jasmine Martinez, LifeSpa esthetician at Life Time Happy Valley in Peoria, Ariz. “The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it acts as a protective barrier against external elements,” she says.
“As you age, your skin undergoes natural changes, including a decrease in collagen production, reduced elasticity, and slower cell turnover. Proper skincare helps counteract these effects and offers several other benefits, such as brightening the skin and decreasing the depth of wrinkles.”
Maintaining a regular skincare routine for your face is a straightforward, effective strategy for healthy skin aging. “This includes cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage,” says Martinez. “It’s like training at the health club — your home-care routine takes time to achieve the results you’re seeking.”
Using effective skincare products, along with regular visits to an esthetician, can help prevent premature aging, offer protection from environmental damage, and stimulate collagen production.
For exfoliating, Martinez is a fan of IS Clinical peel pads. “I believe these are a worthwhile investment,” she says. “You will use these at night, go to bed, and wake up amazed at how your skin looks and feels.” She also emphasizes the importance of using a quality moisturizer to lock in hydration and keep your skin supple. “The Youth Intensive Crème from IS Clinical is amazing,” Martinez notes. “I live in Arizona and use this as my go-to moisturizer night and day. In a humid climate, this is great for a night cream.”
To address concerns like dark circles and fine lines around the eyes, Martinez recommends Eminence Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream.
Beyond products, there are some skincare services that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, texture, and more. A Hydrafacial can offer a range of anti-aging boosters that can enhance any facial treatment, promoting collagen production and overall skin vitality. Martinez suggests also incorporating a dermaplaning step into the service as it gently removes dead skin cells, paving the way for the absorption of antioxidant-rich ingredients.
There is also value in the facial massage you receive during a facial service beyond just relaxation. “Facial massages can work wonders in alleviating tension from both facial and neck muscles and help to curb a sagging appearance of the face,” says Martinez.
Bonus! Keep Crepe-y Hands at Bay
Our hands are susceptible to aging, just like the rest of our body parts. This can include fine lines and wrinkles on the tops of our hands, and sometimes age spots. Yet experts say there are some specific steps you can take to keep your hands looking youthful. “Incorporating sun protection, exfoliation, and anti-aging hand creams into your routine would be a great start,” says Martinez.
Other easy ways to support your hands’ health and appearance include:
- Limit your exposure to hot water, as it can strip the skin of natural oils and lead to dryness.
- Wear gloves while doing household chores or gardening to protect your hands from harsh chemicals and rough surfaces. Also wear gloves while driving, even in the summer — and especially in the summer if you live in climates where the sun is more intense.
- Use a hand cream that contains retinol, which can stimulate collagen production and improve the texture of crepe-y skin over time. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase.
- Consider hydrating sheet masks designed for the hands to provide an intensive boost of moisture. LifeSpa estheticians recommend the Patchology hand masks.
If you’re looking for more intensive solutions, Martinez says there are treatments like laser therapy, chemical peels, or dermal fillers to address specific signs of aging on your hands. “Remember that consistency is key,” she emphasizes, “and starting these practices early can help maintain the youthful appearance of your hands over time.”