People are often in disbelief when I tell them my age. I have to admit, it makes me feel great when I get accused of pretending to be older than I am. “Its working!” I think to myself each time this happens.
I dedicate this blog post to sharing my list of 8 Anti-Aging Tips That Actually Work.
1. Protect Yourself from Harmful Sun Rays– It is proven that sun exposure is responsible for the majority of premature wrinkles.
Both UVA and UVB rays are responsible for damaging collagen and elastin, the proteins that provide structure and elasticity in the skin. Sun damage occurs during daily activities like walking to and from your car, taking Oscar for a walk, and even driving. To prevent crow’s feet, wear UV protective sunglasses every time you go outside during daylight hours. To protect your delicate facial skin, use a natural mineral based sunscreen. I use a zinc oxide SPF 30 on my face daily (even in the winter). Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer is my favorite. To prevent forehead lines, I rock floppy sun hats in the spring and summer, and beanies and furry hoods during the fall and winter. My car windows are tinted with UV protective film. Sound OCD? Do you want to avoid wrinkles or not?! Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunshine and spending lots of time outdoors. Playing in nature is an essential part of my being.
The sun is breathtakingly beautiful. It warms the earth, and makes us feel on top of the trees. This miraculous ball of fire enables our bodies to manufacture Vitamin D3, a nutrient that is essential for good health. It’s best to avoid direct sunlight during peak daylight hours. The rays are less strong before 10am and after 4pm, so enjoy your fun in the sun in the early morning or the early evening. Breath deeply and enjoy nature. I love to go hiking around 5pm and then staying out long enough to catch the beautiful sunset.
To increase your vitamin D levels, aim for 10-15 minutes of unfiltered sunlight on your body–not your face–each day. The skin on our body parts is not as thin and delicate as our facial skin, and is less prone to wrinkling. I also recommend supplementing with a high quality vitamin D3. I use the Garden of Life brand. For information on dosage and home testing of your vitamin D levels, visit www.vitaminDcouncil.org.
2. Don’t Smoke (Avoid Smoking and Second Hand Smoke Like the Plague) –It’s a well know fact that cigarette smoke destroys the collagen in our skin (Reason enough for me to stay far away!). Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that are PROVEN to cause wrinkles and several types of cancer. Second hand smoke is no better; it causes wrinkling and cancer too. If you’re hanging out with your pals while they are smoking, KNOCK IT OFF. It’s not worth the detriment to your health and the wrinkles. Socialize with your pals when they aren’t smoking. There’s no reason for your skin to have to suffer along with theirs. If you do smoke, I understand that it’s addictive and difficult to quit. Thankfully, there are numerous programs available to help you kick the habit. Maybe you tell yourself that smoking is so enjoyable and relaxing that you’ll never find anything that makes you feel as good. Stop telling yourself that! YOU are the author of your story, and you WILL find something that makes you feel better! Do whatever it takes. I guarantee that the investment is worth your health. Think of all the money you’ll save not buying cigarettes in addition to all of the wrinkles you’ll avoid.
3. Stop Slathering Chemicals on Your Skin – Many cleansers, moisturizers, and other “skin care” products do more harm than good. If you’re using products on your skin made with ingredients that you don’t have a clue what they are, STOP! Many of the ingredients are rancid oils and laboratory synthesized chemicals that don’t belong on your skin (a living organ). This includes hair care products, which can easily end up on your skin. If you thought that aerosol hairspray that you were aiming toward your face contains the fountain of youth, think again! Your skin has to process every thing that you put on it. Much of what we put on our skin absorbs into our blood stream and has to be processed by our liver and kidneys. When these organs become overloaded with toxins, our skin eliminates the toxins through our pores. This can cause the complexion to look dull and run down. Signs of toxic build up can include wrinkling, sagging skin, dark circles/dents under the eyes, rashes, acne, and other undesirable skin conditions. These toxins are found in air pollution, pesticides/chemicals in our food and “skin care” products, detergents, hand soaps, cigarette smoke, etc. There is no way to completely avoid toxins but we can avoid toxic overload by minimizing our exposure to them as much as possible. The best way to do this is always be mindful of what we are putting into and onto our body. This leads me to tips #4 and #5.
4. Nourish Your Skin with Topical Skin Foods- Aside from Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer, the only ingredients that I put on my skin are also organic foods that I eat. These include: Virgin Coconut Oil, Fresh lemon, and Raw Honey. Each of these foods contain beautifying nutrients that help us to retain our youthful glow. Coconut oil serves as my cleanser, moisturizer, shave gel, mouth wash, and hair conditioner. Highly moisturizing, antifungal, and antibacterial, coconut oil is proven to improve hydration in the skin significantly. It achieves this by increasing the lipid content in surface layers of the skin. Lemon is loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts collagen production and neutralizes free radicals. It naturally exfoliates the skin and helps to brighten the complexion. Raw honey is a humectant, which helps the skin retain moisture. It is full of antioxidants, and has antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties.
5. Ingest as Many Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals as Possible- Sent straight from nature, these are the magic bullets that can counteract and reverse aging! Abundantly found in fresh produce, their vibrant colors are nature’s way of attracting you to these natural healing heroes. Opt for organic. Nobody’s growing younger from devouring pesticides and GMOs. Keep a basket in your kitchen and fill it up each week with organic fruits and vegetables. Place your basket in a spot where you’ll see it every time you walk into the kitchen. To increase your daily dose of these beautifying nutrients, start each day with fresh fruit or a fruit and greens smoothie. Fruit is most easily absorbed on an empty stomach. It’s a perfect way to start your day in a positive, healthy way.
Other super sources of antioxidants worth looking into: Resveratrol, Pyconogenol, Grape Seed Extract
6. Hydrate with Pure Water – Water is the elixir of life. In order to get that plump and youthful glow, consume pure water. The problem is that most tap water and commercially bottled water is NOT pure. It’s often contaminated with chemicals that, when regularly ingested, can contribute to premature aging. Among these contaminants are lead, arsenic, and chlorine, three of the most dangerous elements to human cells. Consuming these toxins on a daily basis can make us look and feel run down. Check out this article by the Natural Resources Defense Counsel for more information. I recommend drinking reverse osmosis water. RO water is so pure that it even removes the minerals, so you’ll need to add minerals back in. I use Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops. Check them out here. Another option for water mineralization is to add a dash of pink Himalayan sea salt. You can install a reverse osmosis filter in your home or fill up gallons at a dispenser (found at many grocery stores).
7. Avoid or Minimize Refined Sugar – When we consume refined sugar our body is flooded with inflammation. A by product called AGES (go figure) is the result. AGES are Advanced Glycation End Products. AGES are evil because their job is to damage proteins. As mentioned earlier, collagen and elastin are the proteins that keep our skin smooth and wrinkle free by providing our skin with structure and elasticity. So consuming sugar would cause AGES and damage our collagen and elastin. Yuck! Now, most of us aren’t going to vow to never eat sugar again, but we can keep it to a minimum. We can opt for healthier alternatives like stevia, maple syrup, and honey. When you do decide to indulge and eat something sweet, eat it with something high in fiber and protein too. It will help minimize the effect on your blood sugar and combat inflammation.
8. Catch those Zs – Quality sleep is a vital part of our anti-aging plan. During sleep, our cells and tissues regenerate and repair. To achieve restful sleep, make sure that the room is completely dark. Use a sleep mask if necessary. This will help trigger your sleep hormones and send you into a deeper sleep. Avoid the munchies before bed. When our body is forced to use its energy to digest food, it has less energy to efficiently regenerate and repair. Try to avoid eating three hours before bedtime. We are all different and thus require different amounts of sleep. Pay attention to your body and how much it needs.
Alrighty. That’s a wrap. To sum it up, all you have to do to look and feel like the Pretty Young Thing you are is….Ahem:
1.Avoid harmful sun rays
3. Don’t slather chemical crap on your skin
4. Nourish your skin with topical nutrients
5. Consume as many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as possible
6. Hydrate with pure, clean water
7. Minimize sugar
8. Sleep well
Alright… Gotta go. Hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for my next blog post, The Pretty Young Thing Cleanse.