I just returned from my 35th high school reunion, and have a birthday rapidly approaching so, needless to say, I have facial aging on the brain. Looking around at the electric group of classmates who gathered for reunion, one thing was clear: Facial aging is one of the few certainties in life. But some of us looked better than others. Why?
Genetics certainly play a role, but so do lifestyle choices. I could pick out every person at reunion who smoked. And everyone who spent too much time in the sun (yours truly included). It was also easy to spot the people who ate well and exercised. Instead of getting depressed by how old we all looked, reunion gave me hope. Because here is the great thing about lifestyle choices and facial aging: you can always make better choices.
Here are a few of the choices I make everyday to combat facial aging:
Once the best ways to turn back the clock is also one of the cheapest: smile.
When you smile, even if it’s a forced “fake” smile, it influences your mood. And a happy face is a younger looking face. Furthermore, smiling reduces stress. And since stress is one of the biggest contributors to facial aging, a smile is your first line of defense. Last, when you smile, the skin and soft tissues of the lower face, which get heavy and “jowly” with age, lift up. It’s like an instant facelift. So, the next time that you are sitting in front of the mirror, checking out your crow’s feet and wondering WTF, try smiling. It’s a miracle worker. I promise.
Facial Aging & Hydration
Hydrated skin is plump skin. And plump skin is young looking skin. If you don’t believe me, try going to bed with eye cream under only one eye and then compare your two eyes in the morning. You will have more fine lines and wrinkles under the bare eye than the moisturized one. With hydration, the key is to work both inside and outside the body. Make sure to drink enough water, and eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. That will take care of the inside. For the outside, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Personally, I have combination skin so I use a lightweight moisturizing sunscreen in the morning (Elta MD SPF 40). It also comes in a clear formula if you have oily skin, but honestly, once you reach your 50’s, most of us need a little moisture. At night, I love a bit of Jajoba oil from Trader Joes. It feels delicious. It doesn’t clog my pores. And it is really kind to my bank account.
Anti-Oxidants = Youth in a Bottle
Everyday, our skin is at war against pollution, the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and stress. Even the heavy metals in your shower water take a toll. It’s up to us to arm our skin so that it can defend itself. The best ways to do this are by wearing sunscreen everyday, and by using an anti-oxidant. Although there are quite a few powerful skin anti-oxidants, the one that is recommended most often by skin care gurus is Vitamin C. Particularly a Vitamin C product that is combined with other anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E and ferulic acid. My favorite is by SkinCeuticals:
The problem with Vitamin C is that is unstable which is why you want a product that comes in a dark bottle that hasn’t been exposed to light or in a powder form (Clinique has one as does True Botanicals). The other thing about Vitamin C is that it doesn’t play well with others so I use it in the morning, on it’s own. It helps combat the uneven skin tone, dark spots, redness and fine lines and wrinkles that are the hallmarks of facial aging.
Facial aging is not always fun, but as my Dad used to say: “It sure beats the alternative”.