5 Easy Ways to Age Well on a Budget

February 14th 2016

Justin Reynolds

Society puts a lot of pressure on women to stay young and look great. But not everyone can afford to shop at Sephora regularly. And because insurance generally doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures, getting Botox or plastic surgery is out of the question for most. 

The good news is that it’s possible to age well even if you don't have a six-figure income. And you can age gracefully without the help of a surgeon. ATTN: talked to a number of health and fitness professionals, and here’s what they had to say.

1. Drink a lot of water.

Aging well starts with proper hydration, according to Adina Fradkin, a dietitian in Maryland.

“Hydration is hugely important for our skin at all ages and stages of life,” Fradkin told ATTN:. “Our skin is actually an organ of our body made up of cells that contain water, so drinking enough water daily helps to keep our skin moist and supple instead of dry and flaky.”

As long as your doctor hasn’t advised you to limit your liquid intake for medical reasons — such as kidney or cardiac disease — a good rule of thumb is to drink eight cups of water a day, Fradkin said. (It's worth noting that those in the medical field have disagreed over the amount of water we should drink. Some suggest, quite simply, that we should drink when we're thirsty.)

2. Add soy to your regimen.

For Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist who works in Beverly Hills, incorporating soy in your diet can help ward off the effects of aging.

“Soybeans contain isoflavones that are converted [into] phytoestrogens such as genistein, which helps prevent DNA damage, encourages DNA repair … and can help thin, aging skin build new collagen,” Shainhouse told ATTN:. “Taken orally, soy can act as a natural estrogen, which can improve the elasticity of the skin, slow and alleviate some of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, and increase bone mineral density and reduce osteoporosis risk and bone fractures.”

Soy can also be applied topically, Stainhouse said, which can help even out skin discoloration, reduce fine lines, and improve altered skin texture caused by the sun, hormones, and aging.

3. Do yoga.

Mallory Hubl has one suggestion for folks who wish to stay younger: Start doing yoga.

Hubl, who is the outreach coordinator for the Niroga Institute, a California-based yoga nonprofit, says yoga practitioners benefit from better posture, enhanced mobility, and better circulation — which leads to healthier skin.

“Not only does yoga help ease the aging process on the inside by promoting bone density, reducing the risk of heart disease, decreasing anxiety, and helping to maintain joint lubrication, but the visible benefits of yoga can keep us looking younger longer,” Hubl told ATTN:.

Yoga doesn’t need to be vigorous, and it doesn’t need to take place in a studio, either, Hubl said: You can do it on your own, for free. A recent study revealed that a simple routine of 12 yoga postures can help people age more gracefully.

4. Care about what you eat (and don’t eat).

Susan Schenck, the author of "The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet," said she believes that what you put in your body plays a huge role in how young (or not so young) you look.

She offered the following advice:

  • Avoid wheat. “Grains — especially glutens — cause skin inflammation. If I were to eat one piece of wheat bread, my eyes would be puffy the next morning, and I’d look much older.”
  • Drink bone broths daily. “This provides the collagen for your skin to be nice and full and is a real beauty secret.”
  • Drink wheat grass juice, up to 4 ounces daily. “This superfood is very high in minerals and keeps the gray [hair] away. It also energizes you so you feel young.”

While Schenck and others like her swear by these routines, doctors don't agree on whether wheat is bad for you. They're also not sold on the idea bone broth is particularly advantageous. And while wheat grass is very nutritious, medical professionals are quick to remind folks it's not a magical cure.

5. Wear sunscreen.

Your parents probably told you to wear sunscreen, and for good reason.

“Sunscreens deflect and break down UV rays that have been shown to cause direct damage to collagen strands in the skin, causing premature skin aging as well as DNA damage — which leads to skin cancers,” Shainhouse said.

It’s important to remember that UV radiation exposure occurs every day — not just at the beach in the summer. UV rays “reflect off of water and snow and pass through clouds and window glass,” Shainhouse said.

Shainhouse recommends using at least SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen. To save money, you should stock up on sunscreen at the end of the summer when it’s cheaper so you don’t run out during the year.