Do men face the same pressure from modern media, the fashion or the cosmetic industry that women do, to stay youthful looking and attractive as they age? You may have heard the adage that “women get old, but men get better with age” as a double standard for men and women. After all, how many men do you know that feel comfortable about their gray hair, compared to women who dye faithfully, every two weeks after the age of forty.
If you are nodding your head, then you are not alone. We all feel the pressure placed on us to fight the hands of the clock and turn back time to our younger years, where our radiant appearance required less work and effort. And while advertisers would love us all to believe we are one or two miracle wrinkle creams from making 40 the new 20, there are many lifestyle habits that can be adopted that help build and preserve a youthful glow.
- Stop Trying and Buying Every Wrinkle Cream on the Market
Don’t believe the hype when it comes to fine lines and wrinkles. Over time, the body reduces the amount of collagen that is produced, which plumps skin from beneath the dermis, leaving it more firm and full, while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. This is part of the natural aging process, and while artificial methods (think fillers and injections) can help temporarily replace the look of collagen dense skin, invasive methods can provide to escalate the appearance of aging, and may come with associated health risks.
Wrinkle creams are chemicals. No matter how good they smell, or what the label reads in terms of “all natural ingredients”, the truth of the matter is that any chemical you put on your skin, has the potential to create drying and damage. If you are a facial cream aficionado, chances are that you are doing more harm than good to your complexion.
- Find a Way to Cope with Stress Productively
Is there a positive way to manage the things in life that stress us the most? Telling someone who is stressed to “calm down” is counterintuitive; what everyone really needs are some tips to help manage their response to stressors, while relieving themselves of the tension and physiological reactions to difficult or frustrating circumstances.
How can we all process stress in a healthier way? By learning where and when to decompress with alternative relaxing or distracting techniques:
- Have a bath or shower
- Read a book
- Engage in a creative activity
- Go for a walk
- Eat something healthy, i.e., fruit or vegetable
- Talk to a friend or family member
- Have a nap (you’re allowed)
It is important to remember that upsetting situations cause a chemical imbalance in our body, forcing the release of the stress hormone cortisol. The bad news is that cortisol comes with a host of other negative health implications for individuals who have chronic, unmanaged stress including:
- Weight gain
- Sleep deprivation
- Gastrointestinal upset and digestion problems
- Heart disease
- Memory and cognitive impairment
- Depression and anxiety
Chronic stress also weakens the immune system, leaving individuals more prone to viral or bacterial infections. The natural and preferred emotional state of your body is relaxed, and safe. Find a way to coach yourself into healthy stress management habits for better health, and to reduce the appearance of fatigue. Try using essential oils for aromatherapy, or research holistic methods to help you stay calm, and manage stress more effectively.
- Eat Healthy and Stay Fit
That glow that you see in women who work out regularly, and those that eat a healthy diet is hardly a secret; the glow comes from within. That is because your body has a way of visually demonstrating when everything is in good balance nutritionally, and all essential vitamins and minerals are being provided daily.
We know that fitness helps achieve and sustain a healthy body weight, but the beauty benefits of working out regularly exceed weight management goals. Strengthening exercises like yoga and exercises like weight lifting help build posture and strength, while defining core muscle groups like the arms, legs and abdominal areas. Building muscle mass also helps improve the body’s ability to burn fat, making it easier to keep the weight off.
- Always UV Protect Your Skin
You really don’t see skin damage in your 20’s, when you are piling into a car to head to the beach, or spending the day at a waterpark or other fun outdoor activity. In fact, you may not start to see sun damage in your thirties either, which may inadvertently put women at risk of contracting skin cancer, given the absence of obvious signs of skin damage.
By the time, you hit your forties however, a quick look around at peers your age will start to tell you everything you need to know about sun exposure and premature aging. Unfortunately, by that time, it’s too late to do anything about it. The damage is done, and forgoing surgical methods, you’re stuck with the skin you are in.
People who routinely use UV or tanning beds are often the first to experience premature aging of the skin, due to exposure. They tend to look older than they are, because the outer layers of dermis have been radiated through exposure to natural or artificial high-density light. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (USA), people who begin using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk of contracting melanoma by 75% (even if they used sunscreen).
Reduce your sun exposure by wearing a hat, sunglasses and cover-up. Find a body and face moisturizer that contains a UV barrier and use both faithfully during summer and winter months. While UV tends to be less strong outside of summer months, it can still cause damage even in cold weather, so use sunscreen daily to protect skin from burning, brown spots and other visible signs of premature aging.
Healthy aging and a youthful appearance is the culmination of good small decisions that are made on a daily and weekly basis, that put personal wellness first. Embrace your best appearance at every age and through every stage in life, and don’t be afraid to be proud of the laugh lines; you earned them, and they only reflect a life well lived, with happy memories.
Ann Neal is a writer with a keen interest in fashion, tech, parenting and lifestyle topics. She is passionate about music and loves to play guitar in her free time with her cute pooch listening quietly ;). Tweet her: @Ann_G_Neal