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.

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