No one likes to get older. The good news is that at every stage, it’s possible to prevent lifestyle-related health and beauty damage by educating yourself and instituting some easy changes into your routine. These low-to-no-cost tips can make a real difference in aging well.
SAVE YOUR SKIN AND PERHAPS YOUR LIFE
It’s never too late to adopt healthy beauty habits, but getting a jump on it earlier is better to mitigate the biggest robber of skin resiliency: the sun. Simply using sunscreen is an important preventive measure. Even those late to the sun-prevention game can reverse skin damage by using potent topicals like retinol or having a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon use highly focused lasers that obliterate precancerous red and brown spots.
FIGHT GRAVITY WITH EXERCISE
Experts will tell you: Don’t sleep on your face! Sleeping on your stomach will accelerate visible aging. The connective tissue and collagen in your face will not spring back as they did in your youth. Exercise is an antidote to gravitational forces, according to Prevention magazine. Muscles under the skin are firmed up — even in your face — when you use free weights and combine that with healthy aerobic activity like walking, elliptical workouts, dance classes, or running. Exercising core muscles and larger muscles in your lower body with targeted floor exercises will also make you look younger.
FIGURE OUT A DAILY SKIN CARE PLAN
Your skin is your biggest organ. Occasional use of sunscreen and other skin care isn’t enough. Exfoliation is vital to do every other night, at minimum. Topical retinoids and products with glycolic acid also help melt away dead skin cells and brighten a complexion. Everyday Health urges people to know their skin types to make the best skincare plan. Acne-prone people should combine physical scrubs with topical treatments that hasten the turnover of the skin. Normal skin and drier skin types should invest in a good hydrating serum, a quality eye cream and daily moisturizer, face oil or lotion to use at night. Keep it simple and consistent. And if you wear makeup, do not sleep in it.
GIVE YOUR ENGINE QUALITY FUEL
Simply put, eat well to feel and look good. Diet and hydration are critical for maintaining a healthy outward appearance. Internally, when your organs are happy, healthy and working in concert together, good health radiates outward from eyes, skin, and hair. Mind what you eat. Watch sugars and caffeinated beverages. Unlearn bad eating habits using a food journal. Have a willingness to be honest about why you eat the foods you do. Older people are also urged to drink water, as thirst signals dim with age.
OPEN WIDE AND SAY ‘AH’
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, taking care of teeth and gums can prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, gum diseases that are surefire killers for good looks. Keeping teeth and gums clean can even help fight diabetes and heart disease. Forgetting to floss is common, and many experts feel that people should floss after every meal. Handy floss picks make it easy to floss on the go.
A LITTLE FAT WON’T HURT YOU
The good fat, that is. A body needs certain fats and omega-3 fatty acids make your brain fire on all pistons, keep your skin supple, hair shiny, and hormones happy. Use olive oil, coconut oil, or walnut oil in your diet. The Academy of Culinary Nutrition recommends butter and ghee (clarified butter) from organically grass-fed cows. Omega-3 fats nurture your hormones and protect from inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, with some experts claiming that certain cancers are also mitigated.
NO ‘CHEAP SUNGLASSES’
A pair of good sunglasses preserves your vision. UVA and UVB full protection costs more, but sunglasses that do not have this feature can harm your eyes. The National Eye Institute says exposure to direct sun can cause cataracts or a thickening of the whites of the eyes (called pterygium) can result. You can also develop macular degeneration in which center vision is degraded. Quality sunglasses keep eyes clear and bright. Children need proper sunglasses all seasons, too.
SLEEP LIKE A BABY
Sleep is the magic bullet for not just overall looks, but health and brain function, too. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says even mental acuity is enhanced after a good night’s sleep. Good sleep helps to manage weight, prevent depression, and reduce inflammation. Eating a healthy diet that limits alcohol and controls caffeine intake and maintaining regular exercise can help you sleep better. Sleep well and increase the chances you will live longer.
SEX IT UP
Prolactin, oxytocin, and beta endorphins are released during sex and can relieve pain. Men need sex to ward off prostate cancer, while women need sex to keep their hormone levels in check, and fight urinary incontinence. Heart health, stress relief, and stronger overall sense of physical and mental well-being make sex something to never neglect or deny yourself. Do it for science.
GIVE IT A THINK
Meditation is practiced mindfulness, and that can greatly affect looks and overall health. You don’t need a gym or an outfit for this. A daily practice of simple meditation fights the “stress” chemicals and hormones like cortisol. In a meditative state, oxygen flow increases and the sense of calm will help with depression, anxiety, and generally make you feel more rested and able to handle what the day has in store.
LAUGH AND BE KIND
Positive thinking is a catch-all phrase, but in reality, being mindful about your language and your outward emotions can have a stellar inward effect, according to a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Broaden your outlook, cultivate empathy, fight negative thoughts. Give a little extra, proffer a genuine compliment, remember your manners, volunteer, forgive, overlook pettiness, and you will be amazed at the shift in your life and outlook. As a bonus, people will likely be drawn to you, inspired by your outward actions and demeanor. Like negativity, positivity is contagious.
STOP MESSING WITH YOUR HAIR
Hair is one of the biggest age giveaways, and the culprit is often our own desire to make it do what it was never meant to do. Don’t fight it. Don’t over process it. Don’t make it into a helmet. Find a simple and chic hairstyle that works for your features. Preserving the hair root, which is alive, is another strategy. According to the Mayo Clinic, pulling on the hair with hair bands or rubber bands can result in hair loss due to traction alopecia. If you experience unusual loss of hair (over 50-100 hairs a day which is considered normal), consult a medical professional.
SIMPLICITY IS ELEGANCE
Forget the crazy fashion trends. Less is more with makeup, contrived hair, jewelry, clothing, colors, and jarring patterns. Take a cue from people who look well-put-together and create your own go-to wardrobe that is minimalist and chic. Nothing beats a perfectly cut T-shirt with well-fitting jeans, or a great jacket slung over an appropriately hemmed dress, flattering skirt, or brilliantly cut pair of pants. Learn what suits you, jettison and donate garments that do not serve you anymore, and use and wear only the things you look great in. Other benefits include spending less money and worrying less about what to wear.
TIME TO SINGLE-TASK
This is a hard one, but Psychology Today recently suggested that multitasking has been shown to decrease gray matter, increase chronic stress, and impact memory — none of which are good for anyone’s frown lines. Dedicate time during the day to turning off that phone and laptop and unplugging. At mealtime, ask loved ones to respect the communal experience of eating together. Reclaim time to quietly read a book or draw.
LEARN FROM GREAT BEAUTIES
Many notably attractive people cultivated life habits that helped them reinforce their natural beauty. Christie Brinkley has exercised her whole life. Sophia Loren knew her generously endowed body and how to dress it for fullest effect. Cindy Crawford guards her nightly sleep like a lioness. If the DNA lottery came up short for you, take your health into your own hands by adopting many of the “beautiful people’s” practices that cost little to nothing.