Sunday, September 30, 2012

Let's be wise about aging!

Is that even possible in this day and age? Remember Manic Panic? The quest for the perfect skin care, the perfect anti-aging treatments is translated into a billion dollar business for cosmetics companies as well as plastic surgeons, beauty spas etc. Let's not forget all the "quack" specialists with their vitamins and their snake oil. There are thousands of companies out there selling their products on obscure websites, some are supposedly endorsed by celebrities while others, well, they try to get your attention and your money, with outrageous claims.

I stumbled on a website once selling emu oil for $70.00+ claiming it was practically the fountain of youth. You can get 100% pure emu oil in any health food stores and some drugstores for as low as $10.00 depending on the size. Even if you where to bathe in the stuff every day you would get soft skin but no wrinkles? I doubt it.

Aging is something we can't get away from, in a way, it's the only justice. This being a "beauty blog" I put more emphasis on skin care but anti-aging or should I say aging gracefully is a lot more than that.

Genetics has a lot to do with how we age but let's not forget that even if we where dealt a bad hand, there are things we can do to help slow down the process. Today I stumbled upon a blog entry that spoke logic. It's a list of what everybody should know, from The Digital Doctor:

  1. Avoid the sun. No single factor is more important to prevent aging than avoiding excess sun exposure. Ultraviolet light breaks down the elastin and collagen in your skin, causing brown discoloration, thinning of the skin, and ultimately wrinkles. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and hands every day.
  2. Stop smoking. Smoking deprives your skin of oxygen, releases damaging oxidizing free radicals and causes wrinkles, dullness, and sallowness. It is a sure contributor to aging. Find a way to quit this summer.
  3. Lose weight. Gaining weight causes excess heavy fat to develop on your face. This will stretch your skin and pull down your cheeks and jowels, aging your face. Have you ever said that someone who has lost a lot of weight looks a lot younger? There is a reason why.
  4. Go low-glycemic. A low-glycemic diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is healthy for your body and your skin. Research has shown that sugary or high glycemic carbohydrate foods can contribute to aging.
  5. Eat less. We know that animals who adhere to a calorie restricted diet age much more slowly than those on a normal diet. Eating 1/3 fewer calories is difficult but would be likely to slow all aging, including your skin.
  6. Control your stress. Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can damage your organs including your skin. Meditate, exercise, travel, keep a journal. Do whatever it takes to reduce the stress pounding on you.
  7. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your face or on your side causes wrinkles overnight. The weight of your head on your pillow can also limit the blood flow, depriving your skin of blood and oxygen overnight. Night after night this can lead to permanent wrinkles. Try to train yourself to sleep on your back.
  8. Cut back on alcohol. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and can lead to damage of your skin over time. Although it does not cause rosacea, it can lead to unsightly red blood vessels on your face that quickly age you.
  9. Wear make-up appropriately. Wearing too much makeup can actually harm your skin by clogging pores and causing excess dryness. Thick foundations and shimmery makeup make you look much older especially if it cracks or settles into existing fine lines and wrinkles. As you age, a lighter touch and natural shades are most flattering.
  10. Moisturize. Your skin is under constant assault from the elements — wind rain, humidity, hot, dry weather and arctic air all damage your skin leading to wrinkles and dullness. Fight back by applying a facial moisturizer every day to protect your skin. Moisturizers also plump up skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines.
  11. Stop squinting. Whether you’re squinting to avoid the sun or to see your computer monitor, repeatedly contracting your eye muscles will cause permanent wrinkles over time. Wear dark sun glasses every day, and be sure there’s no glare on your computer screen at work or at home.
The Fountain of Youth, Italian School, 1470
© Bridgeman Art Library / Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy

Since the Fountain of Youth is a beautiful idea, it's just that, an idea! Skin care can indeed make a difference but let's be realistic, there's only so much it can do. Trying to follow these 11 steps can only be beneficial not only to our skin but to our bodies. 

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