Being Kinder to Yourself—In All Ways

Go Out and Show Your Best Face

For us Boomer Gals, it’s a continual effort to keep up with father time and the effect of gravity, both of which we cannot seem to control.  With that, there are certain things we can do to help slow the aging process and realize that we need to look after ourselves, because it’s doubtful no one else will.  Perhaps you will find some helpful hints in the following “halt the aging process to the best of our ability.”  In other words, it’s not so bad getting old if only we realize that a little kindness and attention directed inward will help mitigate some of the aging process. 

USE EYE CREAM.  Come on girls, even a no-fuss skincare routine needs to include a good eye cream to keep aging wrinkles at bay.  Skin around the eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face and shows age faster.  Keeping the eye area moisturized can take years off your face.  Eye creams that most effective contain Retin A, a form of vitamin A, says Susan Stuart, MD, a San Diego board-certified dermatologist.  Other important factors include emollients and moisturizers that trap moisture, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.  These will promote collagen to tighten the skin and reduce fine lines around the eyes.  Just say yes to eye cream.

YOU GET BY ON FEWER THAN FIVE HOURS SLEEP A NIGHT.  Skimping on sleep not only results in dark bags under the eyes, but it has also been linked to a shorter, less healthy lifespan.  Sleeping within the seven-hour range is optimal.  Get to bed earlier if you have the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which include a lack of daytime energy, mental sluggishness, attention problems or weight gain.

DO NOT SIP DRINKS THROUGH A STRAW.  If you live in California, you have to ask for a straw—it has to do with an environmental impact issue not wrinkles around the mouth.  Just as squinting can eventually cause wrinkles to form around your eyes, pursing your lips can also bring about premature wrinkles around the mouth.  This occurs when smoking cigarettes and drinking through a straw.  Unless you’re in ICU and have to drink through a straw, pour your bottled beverage into a drinking glass to avoid puckering up.  And be sure to wear lipstick or a good lip moisturizer.  

YOU SLOUCH.  Slumping in front of a keyboard for hours on end can cause your spine to form an unattractive and potentially harmful hunched posture over time, says Jeremy Smith, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California.  Poor posture or slouching deviates the spine from a normal alignment, and as a result, the muscles, disks, and bones become abnormally stressed.  Pain and fatigue often follow, and possibly spinal degeneration and permanent deformity.  Practice good posture by checking it throughout the day; the ear, shoulder and hip should form a straight line when seated.

DON’T WEAR TOO MUCH MAKEUP.  Come on now ladies, too much makeup can age you in less obvious ways.  Wearing excessive amounts of makeup, especially oil-based products, can clog your skin pores and cause outbreaks.  In addition, overusing skin products with fragrances, irritating chemicals, and alcohol agents may dry out the skin by removing its natural oils, which will definitely cause premature lines and wrinkles.  I’ve discovered a line of make up products by IT that is just fantastic for keeping my face smooth and supple.  

As equally important as it is to wear makeup, please take it off at night.  Be sure to use a cleanser and not soap, and once a week a very light exfoliating product to help remove the skin aging dullness.  When you leave makeup on overnight you are preventing that from happening; the skin ceases to breathe and fatigued skin shows soon afterward. Before you go to bed, moisturize your face and neck and let the skin renew itself while you sleep. 

YOU USE SUNSCREEN BUT ONLY ON VACATION.  Here’s one I bet you didn’t expect.  Running errands, driving, and walking back and forth to the mailbox may do more damage to your skin than spending a day at the beach if you do it sans sunblock, say Sarah L. Taylor, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  The number one cause of nearly every sign of premature aging on the human face is ultraviolet exposure.  UV light is present even when it’s cloudy or raining.  Protect your skin by wearing sunblock any time you go outdoors, with an SPF of between 30-50 for daily use.

YOU KEEP YOUR HOME TOASTY WARM—PERHAPS TOO MUCH SO.  When it’s a snowy mess outside, it’s tempting to crank up the heat indoors.  But whether you light up the fireplace or turn up the thermostat, both suck moisture out of the air. This can lead to dry, inflamed skin, which over time has aging effects.  Investing in a humidifier helps counteract the dry air (40% – 60% humidity is optimal) and free your skin from itching, scratching and flaking.  

YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR FACE IN THE PILLOW.  It’s a well-known fact that sleeping on your stomach or on your side with your face smashed into the pillow can create wrinkles and accelerate aging, so when you sleep on the same side of your face night after night, your skin won’t smooth out or spring back as quickly as it did when you were young.  Those crease lines from your pillow can become permanent.  Sleep on your back or invest in a satin pillowcase to keep your skin smooth.

YOU’VE CUT OUT ALL FAT FROM YOUR DIET.  You’ve heard it for years, some fat is necessary for maintaining a youthful feeling and appearance, says Franci Cohen, a certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist from Brooklyn, New York.  Heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish (salmon and mackerel) and certain nuts (walnuts and fax seeds) keep skin supple and plump, thereby preventing wrinkles and they will also boost both heart and brain health as well.  Please include a healthy portion of fish in your meals at least twice a week.

My many thanks to Ladders and Coastal Living for providing such insightful advice, which I have chosen to pass along to my readers.  BoomerGal is designed to promote health and wellness which in many cases is derived from research on meaningful topics to baby boomers and seniors of all ages.  The message of being kind to yourself is a logical extension to being healthy and well.  If you feel good about yourself, it will transfer to being an inspiration to others with whom you associate:  family, friends and people who you meet randomly.  I can’t tell you the number of times I get asked about how youthful my skin appears:  what do I use, how do I use it, how often I use it, and then they fall down when they learn I’m 68, thinking I’m in my 50’s.

My BoomerGal message is the theme of kindness should swirl about us daily.  We shouldn’t leave the house without first having the mindset of being kind, and it starts with being kind to yourself.  

“Life is like a camera.  Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t turn out, take another shot”

Editorial contribution by Benjamin P. Hardy, The Ladders, and

Linda Melone, Coastal Living

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