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How to Eliminate Signs Of Aging

Short of finding the mythical fountain of youth, we know there's nothing we can do to stop aging. As you get older, more signs of wear and tear will appear on your skin. And it will likely start by the time you hit the big 3-0.

But just because we know we'll eventually grow old doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of ourselves. Who says we can't meet the inevitable—in this case, aging—without beauty and grace?

Here are five of the first signs of aging and how to minimize their blow:

Crow's feet.

These lines, believe it or not, come from the muscles we use to close our eyes. "Imagine when you shut your eyes close while avoiding watching a scary scene versus just softly blinking or opening your eyes. The former causes lateral folds in the corner of the eyes to appear," says dermatologist Dr. Nicole Yu. "When we age, these folds become more permanent because our skin loses its elasticity."

Sun worshippers will experience the onset of crow's feet earlier than those who stay in the shade, as the sun's harmful UV rays breaks down the elasticity of our skin. Plus, you tend to squint more when you're exposed to bright sunlight. Prevent having too-pronounced lines by applying sunscreen with an SPF of no lower than 15. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses that keep off UV rays.

Sagging skin.

- on your chin, jawline, neck, etc. You will reach a point in your life when you'll notice that everything in your body seems to be giving into the laws of gravity. Thanks to the skin losing its support system (that being collagen and elastin), what used to be tight and supple becomes soft and plump. "Chins become jowls, the square jawlines become flabby, and the corners of our mouth become droopy," says Dr. Yu. Radical weight loss over a short period of time can also cause sagging skin, because you're not giving your skin enough time to catch up.

Try to defy gravity a little bit longer by eating a balanced diet. One of the things that break down elastin and collagen in the skin are free radicals. So reach for food high in antioxidants, like mangoes and green, leafy vegetables, to fight off free radicals in the body. Steer clear of drastic diets if you're trying to lose weight. You won't be getting the proper nutrients, and your dramatic weight loss can result in saggy skin.

Fine lines and wrinkles.

Remember when your mother told you when you were younger to stop making funny faces lest your face stays that way? She may have had a point. While fine lines and wrinkles may be caused by internal factors (such as your body naturally aging, the inevitable breaking down of collagen and elastin in the body, and your genetic make-up), it can also be caused by external factors. That being sun exposure, pollution, and—who knew?—the many facial expressions you make. "With repetitive actions of our facial muscles and these factors, fine lines and wrinkles appear," says Dr. Yu.

Since you can't change your genetic make-up, your best bet to delay the onset of wrinkles is by doing something about the external factors. Apply a good sunblock every day or a moisturizer with SPF, even if it's rainy or cloudy outside—the sun's rays can still stream through the clouds. Avoid going out in the sun between 11 in the morning to one in the afternoon, when the sun's UV rays are at its harshest. Plus, smile! "It's better to have smile lines than frown lines!" says Dr. Yu.

Dry, dull skin.

Apparently, it's not only your skin's collagen and elastin production that slows down. We also lose sweat and oil glands, which produce natural moisturizers for the skin. "People usually notice that their lower legs, elbows, and forearms dry out first," says Dr. Yu. Another culprit for dry skin would be the hormone estrogen. Estrogen levels drop as you age, which causes skin to become more fragile. And that rosy glow you're missing? You can thank the decrease in number of blood vessels in the skin.

Keep your skin dryness to a minimum by taking your soap usage down a notch. (Reach out for a moisturizing beauty bar instead). Keep a bottle of hand lotion on your desk, so you can moisturize right after washing your hands. Avoid hot baths and take tepid showers instead—hot water can seriously dry out the skin. And don't forget to moisturize! The best time to hydrate your skin is after bathing. Pat yourself dry with a towel, then slather on lotion or oil. This helps keep in the moisture from your shower.

Spider Veins.

They're those icky, enlarged veins that seem to be "creeping" along the skin's surface. And weak veins that can't seem to carry blood back to the heart cause them. "These veins have valves that act as a one-way flap to prevent the backward motion of the blood as the blood goes toward the heart," Dr. Yu explains. "When the valves become weak, it causes the backflow and pooling of blood in the veins, which makes the veins bigger." The bad news is, these valves weaken as we grow older. Other factors that can cause spider veins are obesity and pregnancy, since both add extra pressure on our veins.

There's a way to prevent getting a lot of these creepers, though. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, since this causes your veins to work harder in pumping blood towards your heart. You can also do calf exercises. "Our calves help in circulating blood in our legs, so contracting these muscles will help in circulation," says Dr. Yu. Another way to keep spider veins at bay is to elevate your legs a few minutes everyday to help the blood flow back to your heart.

- By Maui V. Reyes, Yahoo! Southeast Asia