Many of us are willing to spend plenty of time and money to maintain a youthful appearance. The face gets the most attention, but there are other areas we shouldn't neglect that also show telltale signs of aging. Pay extra attention to these body parts now, and you'll spend less improving their appearance later.
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Neck: The neck consistently gets overlooked, even though it reveals aging prominently. (Nora Ephron, after all, wrote an entire book on that premise – I feel Bad About My Neck.) It's also extremely difficult to hide -- try pulling off a turtleneck or scarf in the middle of summer. It may seem wasteful to use pricey face cream on your neck, but it will be well worth it. The neck will reveal aging that makeup and facials can't hide. When applying various face creams, masks, and treatments, always include the neck and upper chest area.
Hands: The hands, particularly the back of them, take a lot of damage from the sun. They're always exposed, and usually forgotten about -- do you reapply sunblock after you wash your hands? The hands will often show age spots first, since most of us are careful to protect our face with sunscreen or shade. Apply hand lotion that contains anti-aging antioxidants and sunblock to combat sun damage. (Did you know lotion with sunscreen protection is often 50% cheaper than regular sunscreen?) Even better, when you're applying the age-defying face lotion to your neck and chest, dab a little on the back of your hands, too.
Hair: We do a lot to our hair. Blow drying, hot ironing, and regular styling stress and damage it. Having regular treatments to condition and strengthen your hair will prevent permanent damage that can result in hair loss, the most difficult condition on this list to treat and hide. (See also: How to replace your toxic shampoos with baking soda and vinegar).
Feet: If you're fond of wearing strappy sandals (or just flip flops), take care to treat your feet if you want to keep wearing them. The sun does just as much damage to your toes as it does the other parts of the body. If you don't use sunblock, your toes will look like shriveled raisins before long. Also, wearing sandals will cause your heels to become dry and cracked. Would you want to slip on sandals with feet like that?
Elbows: Elbows take a lot of daily stress. We rest on them when pondering a problem. We use them to push open doors when our hands are full. But it's not something we consider when fighting age spots and wrinkles. The skin around the elbows, already loose, will begin to sag and make the back of your arm look older.
Don't worry, you don't need to spend a fortune on skin care products. You can protect yourself with beauty products you can make at home, or use beauty secrets that cost almost nothing. As long as you pay more attention to these important body parts, they will look fabulous for years to come -- and you won't go broke in the process.
Lynn Truong is the co-founder and Daily Deals Editor of Wise Bread, a blog dedicated to helping readers live large on a small budget. Wise Bread's book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, debuted as the #1 Money Management book on Amazon.com.