“Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.” This line has got to be one of the best from Shakespeare… or any guy for that matter. As the years go by we get wiser but sadly our outer beauty fades. We all age it’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean we can’t slow down the process and age wisely and gracefully. I’m not talking about Botox, going under the knife or expensive treatments. It is possible to reverse some of the damage and slow down aging without undergoing major surgery or breaking the bank.
Now, it isn’t going to happen overnight. You must give it time. It could be weeks even months before you see any major change. But if you put in the time, it will be worth it. Skin, like anything in life, the more you take care of it the longer it lasts. In this article you will find ways to care for your skin that you can inexpensively incorporate into your everyday lifestyle. This is not just about anti-aging but the overall health of your skin.
“I’m in my 20s. I have time.” Don’t wait until you see damages! Start now! Lines can start to form as early as your 20s and only become visible in your 40s. As they say, “In your 20s you have the skin you want, in your 40s you have the skin you deserve.” It is easier to prevent than it is to fix.
A Healthy Diet
The word ‘diet’ has got to be one of the most hated words in the English language. Who likes to be told what they can and cannot eat? No one does. Eating healthy helps you control your weight; it improves brain function, boosts your energy level and does wonders for your skin. What you eat can help repair skin damage, fight off wrinkles and acne and leave your skin glowing. The skin needs a variety of vitamins, fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants and minerals to be healthy and radiant. This isn’t a drastic change, you already eat every day, now just try to add more vegetables and fruits to your meals.
Here is a short cut to foods that can help with specific concerns:
Vitamin A-Wrinkles/Dry Skin
Vitamin C- Spots/Wound healing
Vitamin D- Smooth and Glowing Skin
Fortified Dairy Products
Vitamin E- Hydration
Vitamin K-Dark Circles
There is a way to help speed up the process. By following the below for a week you can kick your skin recovery journey into high gear:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, meat (eat salmon only) and processed food for a week. Drink only water, natural juices, and herbal teas. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and salmon. Salmon is packed with omega-3 essential fatty oils and if you want truly beautiful skin, you need to make omega-3 your new best friend.
Here’s a possible menu:
Spinach omelet with tomatoes and onions or oatmeal with almond milk and blueberries.
Grilled wild salmon with lettuce, tomatoes and olive oil or with steamed vegetables.
Fruits (oranges, bananas, strawberries, etc)
Grilled wild salmon with brown rice and grilled vegetables.
Fruits (pomegranate, raspberries, apples, etc)
In between meals snack ideas:
Almonds, Walnuts, Brazilian Nuts, etc.
***Water (You should be drinking water throughout the day, enough to add up to at least 8 cups).
The Fountain of Youth
Ladies, the fountain of youth exists! And you can buy a small bottle of it at your local supermarket...well kind of. Water keeps your skin hydrated and skin that is hydrated remains supple and less prone to wrinkles. Water flushes the body’s toxins and replenishes the moisture we lose daily in our sweat, urine and breath. The accepted recommendation is 8 cups a day but if you exercise, drink lots of coffee, alcohol or smoke, you should increase that amount by at least two cups. Remember, moisturizers only lock in moisture; you must do your part to bring in moisture into your skin. If you are not big on drinking plain water, just add a few slices of lemon and a few mint leaves to jazz things up.
Sadly due to busy schedules and the decreasing amount of nutritional content in food nowadays, we do not get the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals we need to keep our bodies healthy and provide our skin with what it needs. So it’s supplements to the rescue.
- Omega-3 supplements: Fish oil/ Flaxseed oil are not only good for your heart but they also protect your skin, stimulate collagen, hydrate and lock in moisture.
- Multivitamins: Choose one that contains a full range of essentials vitamins and minerals to SUPPORT not replace your diet.
What’s Cookin’ Doc?
You don’t have to spend hundreds on creams to look good. Most of your skin concerns can be addressed using items in your very own kitchen.
- Cleanser: Dairy can cause most people to break out. Almond milk is a great substitute. You can also use it as a cleanser! Use it on your face in the morning and then at night.
- Exfoliator: Exfoliating is a very important step that most women often sadly skip. Exfoliation removes dead skin that can clog pores and cause acne. You can find a great exfoliator right in your kitchen cabinet. Here’s what you do; mix one table spoon of baking soda with a few drop of water (put in enough water to make it a paste). Mix in a little bit of lavender oil and apply and rub in small circular motions all over your face, avoiding the eye area. After exfoliating for about two minutes rinse the paste off with cold water to close your pores. You should exfoliate 2 to 3 times a week.
- Moisturizer: Moisturizing is important. Locking in moisture into the cells of your skin will keep your cells healthier and that will help them function better and fight off free radicals, which cause damage to healthy cells. A great way to moisturize your skin is to massage your skin with almond oil; nothing is more moisturizing than almond oil. It is a great source of vitamin C and E.
- Eye Treatment: Dark circles and bags under your eyes? No problem. Make yourself a nice cup of green tea (green tea is cleansing, protects the skin against environmental hazards and is good for your immunity). Next, relax and enjoy your tea. After the bags that you used have cooled place one bag over each eye. The caffeine in the tea will help tighten the tissue and reduce puffiness. If you are not big on drinking teas, placing slices of avocado is a great way to reduce puffiness. And mashed up papaya also works wonders on under-eye lines and wrinkles. Leave it on for ten minutes and then rinse.
- Facials: Giving yourself a facial is the best way to show your skin some love. Facials keep acne at bay, slow down aging, keep your skin glowing and are incredibly relaxing. And honey is the best way to go. Honey has been used for centuries to soften skin and encourage the growth of new skin. Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt herself was known to bath in honey and milk. Honey is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, soothing and helps the skin repair itself. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Every good facial begins with a good cleaning. First cleanse your face then steam it for about 5 minutes (boil a pot of water, pour it in a bowl then place your head above it with a towel over your head so that the steam doesn’t escape). Steaming your face opens up your pores and allows you to get a deeper cleaning. Next, exfoliate and rinse your face with cold water. Afterwards, wipe witch hazel on your face as a natural toner. Witch hazel is a great way to really cleanse and minimize your pores. It penetrates deep down into pores to remove any remaining dirt, oil and makeup. Finally, place the honey onto your skin; let it sit for about 5-10 minutes then rinse. Giving yourself a facial once a month will do your skin wonders.
- Skin Brightening: Brightening serums can be expensive. By mixing an equal amount of olive oil and lemon juice into your skin you can brighten your skin naturally and without spending a lot of money. Just don’t forget to rinse off after with warm water.
- Baths: Every woman should treat herself to nice refreshing baths. Baths are both nourishing and relaxing. But instead of adding chemicals to your baths try a cup of regular full-fat milk to soothe skin and a few drops of lavender oil to help you relax. Red wine is not only good for drinking but due to its great antioxidants content; it is also good to add to your bath. So you drink a little, pour a little and have yourself a grand old time.
If you are going to spend the money, make sure you get your money’s worth. Keep an eye out for these key ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a must for a youth appearance! It attracts water and locks it into your skin.
- Vitamins: Look for vitamin C and E. These two vitamins are a great source of antioxidants that fight off those pesky free radicals.
- Retinol: Retinol creams are a great source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with cell turn over, reduces pore size, acne, fights lines, minimizes redness, strengthens elasticity, and plumps up your skin and smoothes texture. That’s right, all that from one vitamin.
- Rosehip oil: This oil is a great source of essential fatty acids and vitamin A and E. It helps the skin deal with hyperpigmentation, age spots, wrinkles and scars.
- Coconut milk: This promotes a more youth appearance by helping your skin remove the outer layer of dead skin.
- Avocado oil: Avocado has a very high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, plus essential fatty acids that will help your skin stay moisturized.
- Aloe Vera: This plant is great at helping to speed up healing.
- Alpha Hydroxy: It tackles cell renewal and improves skin hydration.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: It helps smooth fine lines in mature skin and diminishes skin discolorations. It has the combined power of vitamin C and E.
- Lavender oil: This oil reduces the amount of time that cuts, burns and bruise heal. It also known to relax the body and help you sleep.
Here are other great ingredients to look for:
Tea Tree Oil
Pomegranate Seed Oil
Dead Sea Salts
Store brought or homemade, you should give any treatment or product at least a month to make an effect and three months for an overall change. If you don’t see any changes within a month drop it. Also if it feels stinging, itchy or leaves your skin dry and tight you should stop and change to something different.
Let’s Talk About Stress
Duck, roll, dodge, hide, do whatever you can to keep your life as stress free as possible. I know that that is easier said than done. Life in itself can be quite stressful but look for ways to avoid unnecessary stress. Stress stimulates the adrenal glands, which leads to an increase in oil production. This in turn stops your skin from naturally getting rid of dead skin cells. All of which leads to clogged pores. If you are having trouble in your job or are in a stressful relationship, ladies it’s very important that you look for ways to solve the problem and don’t let it linger. Also, try to get massages if and as often as you can. Practice yoga, meditation or prayer. These practices are known to relax the mind.
Sitting out in the sun is the nicest way to relax without opening your wallet. Unfortunately, sun reduces collagen and elasticity in the skin. Not only does sitting out in the sun cause skin cancers, it also leads to photoaging and ugly age spots. Yikes! Now that doesn’t mean you have to live in the shadows. A little sun is ok. Sun is a great source of vitamin D. So if you are going to enjoy a day in the sun don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is a very important part of skin care that EVERY woman should invest in and wear even on cloudy days. But beware; most sunscreens are packed with harsh chemicals that can be harmful. Stay clear from sunscreens that contain PABA (padimate-O/octyldimethyl), DEA (diethanolamine), benzophenone and of course parabens. You should put sunscreen on not only your face but also your neck and chest. If you are an avid driver you should also wear it on top of your hands.
Sleeping is the cheapest and most effective way to keep your skin functioning well and looking good. During sleep cells repair themselves. Sleep helps increase the effectiveness of certain skin care ingredients and reduces the cortisol level in your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that ages the skin and causes acne.
Don’t Pick On The Little Guy
Ladies blemishes usually last only 5-7 days. However a scar from picking can stick around for weeks! Even months! If you are looking for something to speed up the process and use as a spot treatment, apple cider vinegar is a great option. Everyone knows that apple cider vinegar is good for your health and goes great in a salad but did you know that it contains gentle exfoliating acids that can calm acne? You’re welcome.
Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, a poor diet and not enough sleep are habits that can take a toll on not only your health but also your skin. Coffee and soda dehydrate the skin, robbing it of the necessary hydration it needs to look its best and function at optimum level. Smoking robs cells of oxygen, leaves the skin looking dull and slows down collagen production. Every cigarette you smoke literally ages you.
- Sleep on your back: Keeping your face way from your pillows will help reduce your chances of acne.
- Exercise: Sweating is a great way for the body to rid itself of impurities and toxins. All that can get trapped into your pores.
- Cleanse daily: You should wash your face every night, mornings too if you have oily skin. Buildup from not washing can lead to clogged pores and acne.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Serums, masks, toners, anti-aging creams, whoa! Trying keep up with it all can be expensive and time consuming. Here are the five items you should definitely have:
- Eye cream
Betty Davis once said that, “Aging is not for sissies.” Everybody gets old, just because we age it doesn’t mean we can’t age with grace. If you are 40 don’t try to look like you are 20, instead be the best looking 40 year old you can be. You can get Botox, fillers and whine about getting old or you can be smart about it and look after your skin and age peacefully. It’s up to you.