When we're young, we take for granted our glowing skin, silky hair and turbo-charged metabolism. So it's hard to reach, er, a certain age, only to find our skin lackluster, our hair thin and our arms flabby. Oh, if we could only go back, right?
We decided to ask members of our Facebook community what pieces of beauty advice they'd give their younger selves. Here's what they had to say.
1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
If Skin Protection 101 were a college course, we would make it mandatory for every student before they embark on their sunny, reckless spring breaks. The sun's UVA and UVB rays penetrate our skin and damage collagen fibers, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, they can also cause those telling age or liver spots. If that's not enough to convince you, our porcelain-skinned, post-50 goddess Julianne Moore swears by sunscreen for her flawless complexion.
2. Eat clean.
Aging is an equal-opportunity metabolism killer. You won't always be able to eat pizza for breakfast and ice cream for lunch without your pants fitting tighter the next day. Build healthy, or at least healthier, habits when you're young. Start by simple changes like portion control or just having an occasional "cheat meal."
3. Drink more water.
Don't drink your calories. Drink more water to keep thirst at bay and to keep yourself from reaching for calorific sodas and juices. You'll also save yourself from the hassle of things like constipation, UTIs and kidney problems.
4. Find some sort of physical activity you enjoy. Do it consistently.
Not everyone is an enthusiastic gym bunny. Find a sport, dance class or hobby that gets you moving so you get your exercise without it feeling like a workout. Your body will thank you later.
5. Don't skip the dentist visits.
The first thing people will notice about you is your smile. Keep those teeth healthy. You only get one set.
6. Moisturize like your life depends on it.
Not just your face, your whole body. There's nothing that ruins your appearance like patches of rough, flaky skin.
7. Learn how to cook healthy foods.
Fast food gets old pretty fast. Learn to cook for yourself when you're young so you don't get stuck in the rut of eating out a lot or even eating ho-hum health foods that leave you craving the bad stuff.
8. Don't overpluck your eyebrows.
Thick is always in. Elizabeth Taylor. Audrey Hepburn. Brooke Shields. Cara D. 'Nuff said.
9. Embrace your hair.
You may not love what you were born with -- maybe you think your hair is too flat, too curly, or too blonde. But what you have now is better than hair damaged from chemical processes, heat tools and whatnot, with breakage and split ends.
10. Exfoliate religiously.
Dermatologists say that the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin can lead to a dull appearance. Slough away the dead cells for a brighter complexion ... doing so also helps your skincare products sink in better.
11. Take off your makeup at night.
If you're too lazy or tired to walk yourself over to the sink for a minute, keep some makeup wipes handy on your nightstand. Otherwise, be prepared for acne, clogged pores and fine lines.
12. Don't wear your contacts every day.
Most of us don't know the right way to care for our contact lenses. (Like when was the last time you actually rubbed your lenses in solution?) Plus, all contact lenses block some amount of oxygen flow to your eye, even the ones that are approved for longer-wear. Give your eyes a break once in a while and wear your glasses.
13. Smile more.
Because as one reader put it, "Beauty is not what you see in the mirror." Well said.