Monday, May 25, 2009

Aging Gracefully

I just celebrated a birthday, and having reached this...ahem... particular phase in life, I find myself paying more attention to the way people show their age. Especially in their faces; one’s face is often the first impression they give about themselves, and that first impression can say a lot. As a culture, we equate youth with “beauty”, and unfortunately many people choose go to great lengths and costs to retain an illusion of youthfulness and often end up distorting their faces into something much worse than the natural “merit badges” we grow from a life fully lived.

So, where does your face show age? Most of us experience a drop in our cheeks, as elastin in our faces loses tensile strength, the infamous crow’s feet around the eyes, from years of laughter and smiling, and liver spots or hyper pigmentation accumulated from a lifetime exposed to the sun. Of course, everything starts with lifestyle, and diet is a huge part of lifestyle. A balanced diet rich in organic vegetables, whole grains, and meats provide you with antioxidants, essential fats, collagen and minerals to retain a lifelong healthy glow. Exercise is also very important, mainly to reduce stress (which will age you an alarming rate in many ways) but when you sweat it moves toxins out of your skin.

A proper daily facial care ritual will go a long way: frequent exfoliation, daily cleansing, toning and moisture are the building blocks of aging gracefully. Moisture is critical for skin of any age and lately I’ve come to believe that most of one’s dietary fats should really be applied topically. I’m talking about olive oil, nut oils like almond oil and coconut oil, as rubbing fish oil all over oneself just plain sounds gross. Those oils are also mildly sun protectant, as most have a natural SPF of about 4. Proper Suncare is also a big part of aging gracefully, and through trial and error I have come to the conclusion that sunscreen of any SPF needs to be reapplied every couple of hours (at least) during prime sun exposure. I really like Hara, Burn Out and Mychelle sunscreens for their sun protection and moisturizing efficiency. Mychelle also came out with an entire Apple Facial Care Line specifically formulated for overexposed skin.

To firm up areas that may start to drift earthward, seaweed is the best. Zia has Seaweed Lift Serum, an intensive blend of organic apple juice, sea algae extracts and CoQ10 that softens, hydrates and detoxifies skin while improving elasticity. One of my favorite lines, Grateful Body, recently reformulated and came out with two new zingers; Sea Cell Serum feeds, purifies and firms your skin with a blend of sea vegetables, rosehip seed oil, Yerba Mansa and much more. And Supernatural Antioxidant, rich in Pine bark antioxidants, a South American herb called Picao Preto, to reduce cellular inflammation and a blend of medicinal mushrooms to nourish the skin. Zia and Mychelle and Avalon all have fabulous Vitamin C serums, which promote elastin and collagen production, and provide protective antioxidants. I suggest applying a seaweed serum to suspect sag spots like the cheeks and outer eye area under a moisturizer during the day, and a Vitamin C or antioxidant serum all over the face (again under moisturizer) at night.

The Way to a Woman's Heart.....

The way to a woman’s heart is through her feet

My fondest memory about my Grandparents’ loving and enduring relationship is how every evening my Grandfather would devotedly rub a rich lotion on my Grandmother’s feet….

The human foot is at once the most functional and the most tortured part of the anatomy…and the hardest to draw! One of my art teachers used a human foot as a final exam once… The complex skeletal structure of the foot can be compared to the inner workings of a Swiss watch; capable of propelling the body in any direction at high speed while sustaining huge amounts of force. As such, the foot is exposed to constant physical stresses, some of which are exacerbated by footwear and weather. My Grandmother’s poor toes came to a central point due to decades of patent leather pumps!

Including the bones of the ankle, the foot holds 26 separate bones, many of which are relatively small and delicately fashioned. Over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments combine with the skeletal bones to create 33 separate joints. A complex series of blood vessels and nerve pathways run within individual networks to support the cardiovascular and neurological demands of movement. The sophistication of the skeletal structure of the foot is underscored by the fact that the bones of the two human feet constitute almost 25% of all bones in the human body.

Not only is the foot a complex if underappreciated machine, but Scientists at the Canada Research Council discovered that by rubbing a substance on your feet the body quickly absorbs and utilizes it. Try rubbing raw garlic on the bottom of your foot; you’ll taste it in 20 minutes! This is why I hate crocs; they are polyurethane foam that’s off-gassing into your feet! What comes in also goes out; this is the theory behind foot Detox patches: based on Reflexology Points, the tourmaline and herbs in the patch stimulate circulation in the blood vessels of the foot, and encourage the natural detoxifying processes of your organs.

But as a culture, we primarily ignore our poor footsies, taking their magnificence for granted. You can start being a foot worshipper by using a pumice stone in the shower to exfoliate dead skin and prevent callus build up. Follow with a nice rich lotion or foot cream, I really like Collective Well Being’s Cardamom Foot Butter, it’s rich, moisturizing and smells delicious. If, like so many people, you work on your feet all day, try EO’s Revitalizing Lotion for Legs and Feet; fragrant essential oils of French Lavender, Peppermint and Citrus are combined with stimulating menthol to increase circulation and provide soothing relief. There are also a wide variety of massage tools available for soothing sore, achy feet.

The best treatment for Athlete’s Foot I have ever seen is Fungal Rx by Grateful Body. With am and pm formulas and an ingenious applicator, I have witnesses it bring many folk much needed relief over the years.

Create loving traditions in your family, and rub someone the right way.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quote for the day

Quote for the Day:
"Bitch is simply a matter of perspective."