Botox, fillers, lasers…they are all interesting options if you’re looking to treat the exterior effects of aging on your skin, but these things are invasive and they cost real money. When it comes to looking younger, there are some simple things that you can start doing RIGHT NOW that will make a huge difference in the way you look and feel. I’ve listed my 5 favorite tips here, along with some product recommendations. Enjoy!
There is an interesting debate going on in the scientific world about whether drinking water actually helps the health of your skin. Frankly, I’m shocked that this topic would ever be up for debate. If we are being extremely literal, does drinking water instantly erase a wrinkle? Of course not. But, in the bigger picture, there are few things more important to health and longevity than proper hydration.
Every cell in the human body needs water to function. As we age, our cells start to deteriorate and lose water in the process. This makes it much more difficult for our cells to work efficiently in fighting off free radicals, the #1 cause of aging. Hydration also aids in digestion, helping to eliminate toxins from our system, another cause of cellular aging. Ever feel bloated? Your body will retain water when it’s dehydrated, the same way it will go into starvation mode when you severely cut calories. Our bodies are always working to achieve a balance when it comes to nutrition and hydration. Balance = healthy cells = younger looking and feeling you.
So, how much water do we need? The truth is, we actually get a fair amount of hydration from all the things we drink and eat over the course of a day. Does wine count? Yes. Coffee? Yes. BUT… alcohol and caffeine also dehydrate, so best to stick with good ‘ole H2O. Personally, I aim for 72 ounces a day, give or take. Hate drinking plain water? Join the club! I always think caffeine free iced tea is a good option if you are a tea drinker. To be clear, I’m talking natural unsweetened iced tea, not the pre-mixed, sugar and preservative laden stuff. Flavoring your water with something that also delivers essential vitamins is a great double whammy. Of course, I’m addicted to Glotrition’s Collagen Peptide Drink Mix, $85 found here. All-natural, sweetened with Stevia Leaf Extract and loaded with antioxidants and collagen peptides. (More about the skin benny’s of collagen in a later post)
I’m always surprised to learn how many women don’t routinely exfoliate their skin. Gentle exfoliation is one way we can help our skin to shed dead cells, more quickly uncovering fresh, new cells. As we age, this natural process of shedding the old and replacing with the new slows down considerably. All the more reason to give the process a boost!
How to exfoliate? Every beauty expert has a different recommendation, so here is mine. First, understand your skin. My routine may not work for your skin and vice versa. If you’ve never visited a dermatologist, this is a good reason to do so. A doctor can give you a detailed assessment of your skin type and make personalized recommendations that will work for you.
Personally, I like to mix up my exfoliation routine. I’ve used Retin-A in the past, but I found the shedding and peeling to be too unpredictable. It led to some scary mornings in front of the TV camera! Instead, I use a facial scrub every other night. I’m currently loving the Cellular Renewal Treatment by Beauty Bioscience, $75, found here. I am also a little obsessed with a product from the Jack Black line. This is marketed as skincare for men, but it’s one of the only over the counter products I’ve been able to find with a higher amount of glycolic acid, one of the best exfoliating ingredients available. Warning: test this stuff first. 8% glycolic can be a little harsh, but it works! Find Line Smoother by Jack Black, $30 here. When exfoliating, don’t forget about your body! There are so many salt scrubs or sugar scrubs out there. I’d suggest using one with a higher level of skin nourishing oils in it. I like this one from L’Occitane, $36.
Let’s just say, there’s a reason they call it “beauty sleep”! I think I aged the most when I was working as an early morning news anchor. Up at 2:30 am, and usually in bed by 9pm. I was routinely operating on just 5 1/2 hours of sleep every night. Not only did I pack on about 5 extra pounds, but my skin really started to take a hit. It’s no surprise, really. Next to hydration, 8 hours of shut eye is key to a youthful appearance.
The science is strong in this department. If you are sleep deprived, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This not only wreaks havoc on your complexion, it’s likely the reason I gained weight when deprived of sleep. Your body also increases blood flow to your skin while you sleep. When well rested, you’ll wake up with a rosy glow. Most importantly, your body builds collagen when you sleep. This keeps your skin firm and youthful. As we age, the ability to build collagen lessens. Add a lack of sleep to the equation and you’ll likely begin to look older faster. Give your body a helping hand in the collagen department here.
If you have trouble sleeping, there are some tricks that I use. First, make sure your room is completely dark. There’s some interesting research about ambient light and sleep patterns. Use an eye mask if you need to. And don’t knock aromatherapy. Spraying my pillowcase with a relaxing nighttime blend really works for me. I was at a spa show recently and sampled the Lavender and Eucalyptus Pillow Mist by European Spa Source, $36. It’s now my fave. Find it here. Try their Shower Mist too. Amazing.
4. Cut Sugar
This is a tough one. It seems there is hidden sugar in just about everything these days. But, once you understand the toll it takes on your appearance I bet you’ll become more diligent about avoiding it, I know I did.
Did you know that sugar is one of the top killers of collagen? Yup. Just like losing sleep, eating sugar speeds up the breakdown of collagen fibers thanks to a process called glycation. This is the sugar in your bloodstream attaching to proteins. It results in new molecules called advanced glycation end products, AGE for short. Coincidence? These nasty little AGE’s head straight for your collagen. Once damaged, collagen fibers become dry and rigid, leading to wrinkles and sagging. As mentioned earlier, collagen depletion gets worse as we age, so why give the process a boost? AGE’s also deactivate your body’s natural antioxidants. Hello free radical damage! And, as if that’s not enough, your body will naturally burn the sugar in your system before it ever even thinks about burning fat. Cut the sugar. Cut the sugar now. In the meantime, help build back up antioxidants and collagen here.
5. Have More Sex
Why does that scene from When Harry Met Sally pop into my head? Yes! Yes! While Meg Ryan nailed the perfect fake orgasm, turns out a real one can literally help you look younger. Orgasms improve blood circulation, which increases oxygen flow to the skin making it brighter. Having sex keeps your hormones in check too, specifically increasing estrogen. Estrogen is key for supple, younger looking skin, and our levels nose dive as we get older. A tumble in the sheets can also increase anti-inflammatory molecules like oxytocin and DHEA, a hormone that can not only produce healthier skin, but can boost your immune system and lower your chance of depression. What about wrinkles and sagging skin? Here’s the anti-aging kicker…Sex also boosts collagen production!
What are some of your tips for looking younger?