Have you ever wondered why some people seem to appear to age faster than other people? Have you wondered what you can do to prevent early signs of aging? Well, there are some things that you can do, and some things that you have no control over. Here are the three major contributors to aging skin.
Mom and Dad are to thank, or blame, here. Your DNA determines what you look like, including how you age to a certain degree, and there’s nothing you can do about that. I look like my mom. From a young age I was often told that, and I would often cringe. When you are 5, 11, or 16 you do NOT want to look like your 30 – 40 year old mother! In my 20’s I finally realized that it wasn’t a bad thing. I looked at pictures of my mom at the age that I was at the time and definitely saw what everyone was saying! And it wasn’t a bad thing. However,there are some characteristics that have developed as I age that aren’t so wonderful – bags under my eyes and jowls. Bags under the eyes can be caused by other factors, such as allergies or lack of sleep, but there is also a large hereditary component. You will see in the pictures below that my mom had them and now I have developed them more profusely than when I was younger. They do tend to get worse (sometimes a lot!) when I am reacting allergens or lack of sleep. But they never go away, even on my very best days. Unfortunately for my mom she did not do well on the next two contributing factors and therefore her skin aged even faster than mine.
2. What goes into your body
First of all, food and beverages. The saying goes, “you are what you eat” and YOU DO have control over that. I am a huge proponent of this philosophy. Think about it – food is not only fuel for energy but it provides the building blocks of all of your cells. If you put garbage into your body it will show.
Second, medications and toxins like cigarette smoke. Many medications are helpful and necessary. I am NOT giving medical advice here. Do not quit taking what your doctor prescribes without talking to him or her! But do become more consciously aware of how over-the-counter and prescription meds affect your whole body. Some can affect your gut which in turn affects how you absorb nutrients from your food.
And stress. Yes, we all have it, and some stress is actually good for you – it gets you to act. But continuous stress can do a lot of harm to your skin and the rest of your body. This was one of the biggest aging factors for my mom – living with an abusive alcoholic.
Of course the body is a miraculous machine that can take a lot of abuse, but why continue to abuse it. Eat food as close to nature as possible, drink clear, clean water, limit medications and other toxins as much as possible.
Every day you are bombarded with pollutants in the air, wind, sun, salt, humidity, dryness, etc. Having a good skin care regime is important to protect your skin from all of these and clean it off. There are five steps to better skin:
- Cleanse – every morning and night. In the morning to clean off any sweat, dust or lint, and night treatments used. At night to remove makeup (ALWAYS!!) and environmental pollutants. You don’t want to sleep with that crud on!
- Exfoliate – either daily with a gentle exfoliant, and/or 2 times a week with a deeper exfoliant. This helps remove dead skin cells that clog pores and leave the skin dull. It also helps stimulate new cell growth.
- Tone – every morning and night to balance the skin’s ph.
- Moisturize – every morning and night. Even oily skin needs moisturizer to keep it hydrated. Be sure to use one made for your skin type.
- Protect– every morning as a barrier to the environmental factors mentioned above.
This may seem like a lot of work but it actually only takes about 3 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes at night. Once you get used to it, it becomes as routine as brushing your teeth, and just as important! I’ve been doing it for so long that if I don’t something feels terribly wrong. And I definitely notice the difference!
As I said above, I look like my mother. Here are pictures of my mother (left) and me (right) at about the same age. These are un-retouched photos, other than some slight lightening. My mother lived a very hard life and therefore aged very quickly, as is evident here. I’ve made my own life challenging, more than I like to admit at times! However, I have always taken care of my skin and tried to live a healthy life. It seems to have paid off to some degree anyway!
The moral of the story-
If you want to stay younger looking do what you can even if genetics have other plans. Now that I am over 50 I’m starting to catch up with some of my mom’s looks and gravity – more sagging and bagging 🙁 But I continue to watch what I put into my body and onto my skin to look and feel my best!
And, to help you on the outside:
Mary Kay has 5 fabulous skin care lines, including one specifically for men! In my next post I will feature one set – what it includes, who it is best suited for, and how to use it.
Until next time,