As early as your mid-20s, fine lines begin to sneak up on you. Those are the early signs of aging and the start of a never-ending battle to prevent the progress of time from showing up on your face.

No need to panic – there are things you can do without spending a fortune on fillers and professional treatment. But even the most expensive creams and serums can only undo damage once it has occurred. The key is prevention – it’s also the most cost-effective approach to anti-aging.

Here are five of the most important anti-aging habits you should adopt to keep your skin looking younger, longer. They may seem simplistic, but skincare professionals agree, these lifestyle and skincare changes will prevent your skin from aging before its time.

Get your Beauty Rest

You might have heard this one before – but getting a full night’s sleep (8-10 hours) does help prevent wrinkles, puffy eyes and a dull complexion. More than the hours of sleep you get, how you sleep is also important. Sleep on your stomach, and you will increase puffiness in your face and create creases in your skin – we call them Sleep Wrinkles. Try sleeping on your back at a slightly raised position - this helps prevent sleep wrinkles and puffiness around the eyes.

Eat for Healthy Skin

A healthy diet is important for healthy skin. Adding color to your diet can keep your skin looking young. That’s because colorful fruits and vegetables are natural sources of antioxidants, which fight the damage caused by free radicals.

Consume plenty of healthy fats, especially foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts, avocados, and eggs -  and drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin hydrated. Green tea is also very beneficial for your skin and the occasional glass of red wine will deliver polyphenols and antioxidants that are great for your skin.

Exfoliate! Exfoliate!

You have heard this one before too – but exfoliating regularly is the fastest way to reveal younger, smoother skin is to get rid of the dead, dry cells that accumulate on the surface. This truly is one of the secret weapons to having great skin.

Exfoliating not only helps with cellular turnover to reveal healthy skin, it improves absorption of your skincare products for maximum benefits. If you fail to exfoliate, those anti-aging products won't be able to penetrate and do their job.

Be Gentle Please

Be aware of how to treat your skin. Rough handling like tugging and stretching, scrubbing and pulling will damage delicate skin. Certain areas of your face are more delicate than others and require that you use different techniques to blend in your products. For example, when applying moisturizer to your forehead and cheeks, start in the middle and blend outward and upward, using all four fingers.

Take special care around the eyes. The thin, delicate skin around the eyes is especially susceptible to wrinkles so gently pat from the inside to the outside using your ring finger, which applies the least amount of pressure.

When applying products around the lip area, work outward and downward, using a light, fingertip touch.

Repair Your Skin While You Sleep

Your skin does most of it healing and restorative work at night while you sleep. This is the best time to use products that contain anti-aging ingredients, like retinols and glycolic or fruit acids, that will encourage cell turnover overnight, as well as peptides, to boost collagen production.

Always Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen isn't just for the beach – you should protect your skin from harmful UV rays every day. UV rays do more damage to the skin that anything else, leading to premature aging in even the most careful people.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF15 in winter months and at least SPF 30 during the summer months. Look for products that contain hydrating ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter for the best anti-aging benefits.

Wear a quality pair of sunglasses. UV exposure is especially harmful to the thin skin around the eyes. Sunglasses will not only block the rays but prevent you from squinting, which causes fine lines and crow's feet.