How many times have you looked at a photo of yourself from five years ago and thought, "Dang, I looked great back then!" only to remember that, back then, you didn't feel that way? It's likely you'll do the same thing in another five years when you look back at today. Change your mindset. Right now is the best you'll ever look -- appreciate it!
It's a lot easier said than done (trust me, I know) but fighting the process of aging is a sad waste of time. I'd rather reassess and embrace the process while using common sense to help prevent PREMATURE aging. It's all about being healthy: body and mind.
Here are 9 things you can do right now to prevent premature aging:
1. Eat cleaner. Too much sugar and processed carbs cause inflammation and can lead to damage in your skin's collagen. Collagen gives our skin a firm, plump appearance.
2. Drink water. It's not rocket science -- less water in the body means dehydration. On a more scientific level: less water in the blood equals thicker blood. The thicker the blood, the slower it moves. The slower it moves, the more risk of inflammation, clots, and heart disease. Drink more water and you'll improve circulation, rid the body of toxins, and look more youthful.
3. Reapply sunscreen. While the benefits of Vitamin D (sunshine) help contribute to cell growth, repair, and metabolism, too much sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, sunspots, and increase your risk of skin cancer. Don't just put on your sunscreen, REAPPLY IT every couple hours. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your hands and neck. These two areas are commonly missed and are a dead giveaway for aging skin.
4. Get enough sleep. Rest is a shockingly underutilized anti-aging tool. When you sleep, your body works to balance your metabolism and hormone levels, enables you to focus better, and helps your overall health and immune system.
5. Exercise. The ultimate youth serum. Moving your body can reduce the inflammation that comes with aging. Want more? Besides the stress release and better sleep you get from having exercised, a greater concentration of protein called myokine is produced in those who work out more. Post workout glow, anyone?
6. Ice. After you cleanse your skin, take an ice cube and roll it around for 20-30 seconds. Keep the ice moving -- it can burn just like heat if you leave it in one spot too long. This helps bring down inflammation (similar to icing a sports injury), is a great natural exfoliant (so cold, it destroys the superficial skin cells, allowing a deeper penetration of your skincare product), and like putting meat in the freezer, ice preserves the skin. BOOM.
7. Regular facial treatments. Facial treatments exfoliate dead skin cells, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles, stimulates cell rejuvenation, and allows your homecare products to work more effectively.
8. Topical Acids. The goal of acids (Glycolic, Lactic, Salicylic, etc.) is to detach or better yet, 'unglue' skin cells enabling movement. The more the skin moves, the less dead and dull skin there is. You will also have less fine lines and brighter skin. Niiiice.
9. Be happy and treat yourself kindly. Slow down and stop multi-tasking. Dancing, smiling, breathing fresh air -- it all releases stress.
Look, there's no miracle cream. Having struggled with acne as a teenager, I've tried everything. Through trial and error, and now over 20 years as an esthetician, I've realized that many skin issues are due to lack of common sense. Now that I'm in my 40's, I see the same is true for anti-aging. There were many times I looked and felt older when I was actually much younger! I'm not against aging at all -- I'm against feeling older. I may not have the glow like I did when I was 24, but I stand more confident and feel more grounded than I ever have before. That's a hell of lot sexier and I'll take it.