November through January 1 is the season of indulgence with multiple holidays filled with food, alcohol, giving and receiving. Regular habits get put on hold while we all embrace the nature of the holiday season, all with the justification that in the New Year we will get back on track.
The extremes one way or another are likely why 80% of people, according to U.S. News, ditch their resolutions by February. According to Psychology Todayonly 10% of people reach their goal for the year. So what’s up with the other 90%?
Sticking with New Years resolutions is about making life-style changes and not just looking for quick fixes. This applies to the beauty industry as well! Botox and filler can make you look amazing, and fast, but it will only get you so far. Some of the other factors that might affect how you age may surprise you!
We’ll go over some of the top changes you can make to stay looking youthful in the New Year.
Stop using straws
Plastic straws not only pollute the environment, particularly our oceans, but did you know that using them can also cause wrinkles? Using straws can cause the lines around the lips and mouth that smoker’s get, often called “smoker’s lines”. These lines are from repeatedly pursing the lips around the straw. The repetitive muscle movement eventually causes lines and wrinkles.
Actual “smoker’s lines” from smoking are caused from the same mechanism above (sub straw for cigarette) as well as the harmful content in the cigarette, such as nicotine, that damages the cardiovascular system and general blood flow to the skin.
So if you’re a smoker, for reals though, you have to quit if you want to age gracefully. Not even going into how smoking affects your general health but for anti-aging alone this is an absolute must.
Smoking not only causes wrinkles on your face but can thin the skin all over your body and increase wrinkles on your chest, arms, neck, really anywhere.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the number 1 reason associated with aging (besides age) is smoking.
I know it’s easier said than done and I believe you that you’ve probably tried. You can do it though! If you live in CO call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or enroll online HERE.
Change the way you think about stress
That’s right, themore important factor is to change how you think about the stress in your life, not necessarily get rid of it. Stress is inevitable and we will all have varying levels of it throughout our lives.
Luckily our bodies are more than equipped to deal and if we trust that our bodies are responding appropriately to stress and embrace the racing heart and sweaty palms it will actually do us some good!
The 14 min TED talk below reviews this research on how our mindset it what is most important when it comes to stress.
Hard to grasp this concept? Think about yourself as a diamond. Diamonds are made through extreme high heat and pressure and some scientists think that many are brought to the surface of the earth after volcanic eruptions.
So next time you’re under a lot of pressure and stress, instead of thinking how you’re about to erupt like a volcano, think about how it is turning you into a diamond!
How does this affect aging? Managing stress, as shown in the video, helps you have a healthier cardiovascular system (the system that pumps blood from your heart to the rest of your body), which means better blood flow throughout your body, including to the organs that detoxify your blood and to your skin.
When you perceive stress in a positive light you are also less likely to make the facial expressions that lead to more wrinkles (scowling, frowning, etc.) so it’s a win win!
Get the proper nutrients
When thinking about wrinkles we are often more focused on what to put on our skin as opposed to nourishing our skin from the inside out. To create healthy skin cells our bodies need the correct building blocks and support. Here are a few tips on how to achieve proper nutrition for anti-aging.
Eat healthy fats. Fats are not the enemy and the right kinds can do wonders for every process in your body, including your skin and hair. Examples of healthy fats are: olive oil, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, wild caught fish, free-range meats, avocados and nuts.
Get the proper amount of protein from pasture raised meats & wild-caught fish. Farm raised meats can be pro-inflammatory due to the imbalance of Omega 3 and 6. The average person needs around 0.8 g of protein per Kg (lbs/2.2) of body weight. You don’t want to over-eat protein either as too much protein can put stress on your liver and kidneys.
Vegans should talk to a nutritionist to ensure they are getting all of the proper nutrients and particularly B12 supplementation as this vitamin is only found in meat products and is crucial for healthy cells, including making the blood cells that carry nutrients throughout the body and to your skin and hair.
Eat fruits and vegetables all over the color spectrum. Each type and color has benefits with antioxidants and other protective phytonutrients. Broccoli for instance contains diindoylymethane (DIM) which helps balance hormones in the body that create clear healthy skin.
Drink adequate amounts of water each day for plump, healthy and hydrated skin. You can use an online calculator to figure out how much water you need per day. Too little water can cause dehydration and wrinkled skin and too much can cause electrolyte disturbances (like low sodium) so it’s all about balance!
Cut back on processed foods that contain chemicals, preservatives and high salt content. These additives can age the skin and also cause fluid retention and bloating that can damage blood vessels and in turn blood flow to the skin.
Drink green tea and herbal teas such as Roobios and stinging nettle tea. The anti-oxidants in these teas are great for the skin and stinging nettle may help maintain healthier blood vessels.
Cut back on or completely avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugars/simple carbs (candy, soda, bread, pasta, etc.), dairy, and gluten. Increased inflammation in the body can cause pre-mature aging and recurrent irritation to the skin can cause it to weaken and wrinkle.
Get probiotics in your diet (Kombucha, Kefir water, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.). A healthy gut helps your body digest and distribute all of the other crucial nutrients needed to maintain your health from the inside out.
Overall, eating a healthy diet that consists mostly of real, whole foods will likely get you all the nutrients you need to prevent aging. If you need help creating a healthy diet for your specific needs consider seeing a dietician or other nutrition specialist. You can also look into eating plans such as Paleo and Whole 30 to see if anything meshes with you.
Talk to your primary care provider (PCP) before changing your diet if you have known medical problems.
Get more exercise
Of the many many benefits of exercise, anti-aging is on the list! Exercise increases blood flow which means that blood is increased to vital organs that detoxify the blood and also to your skin which means an improvement in skin appearance, elasticity and tone.
Our skin goes through a lot day and we are constantly getting micro-tears in our skin with movement (this is how wrinkles are formed and why we block that movement with Botox). Blood flow to these areas brings vital healing cells and water to keep skin healthy and hydrated.
If you’re not sure where to get started then simply go for a walk or a bike ride every day then build up as you get used to fitting it into your routine.
If it’s too cold outside to walk then go to the mall and walk around. Exercise classes and videos are also a great way to get affordable instruction, especially with yoga!
Ironically though, exercising facial muscles can actual make wrinkles worse.
Anyone that has experience with Botox has seen the evidence that when a muscle is halted from moving, the appearance of wrinkles improves dramatically.
So when we do extra movements in our face we can actually create more winkles in certain areas, particularly around the eyes and mouth.
Always talk to your PCP before starting any new exercise routine.
Have more (good) sex
Speaking of exercise, sex is a great way to get more physical activity and sex also fights aging! It makes sense since rumor has it that make-up (aka “paint” back in the day) was first used by prostitutes to mimic the natural flushing of the cheeks and reddening of the lips associated with sexual arousal (i.e. increased blood flow to the face). We also release endorphins when experiencing sexual pleasure that might help us live longer.
According to research done by the psychologist David Weeks, PhD people that engaged in sexual intercourse on average of 3 times per week looked 5-10 years younger than their less sexual counterparts of the same age.
Today,when quoting his research, also note that quality of sexual pleasure is crucial to receive these benefits, the act of sex alone is not enough.
Psychology today also write about men that have proven to live longer when having sex twice per week. Women’s longevity when related to sex seems to be more related to the quality of the sex over quantity (save for Dr. Weeks research).
Despite what any research says we recommend doing what feels right for you and your partner. Adding a quota to your sex life could cause undo stress and pressure.
We also recommend enjoying sex safely as infections like STDs can cause major problems in the body including inflammation that is not anti-aging ;).
Sleep on your back
Nearly every person has more wrinkles or volume loss on one side and it is typically on the side of the face they sleep on. We can correct this some with Botox and fillers but ultimately if the individual continues to sleep on that side it will continue to have more deficits in comparison.
This is in part due to gravity and in part due to pressure on the face. So if someone sleeps on their right side they are always subjecting their right face to more gravity and also putting pressure from their pillow or arm to essentially smoosh more wrinkles in the face or wear on the fat pat.
It can be a tough change but the best position to sleep in for anti-aging is on your back.
Protect yourself from the sun
Colorado is said to have around 300 sunny days a year, that’s more than most beaches in the U.S.! On top of that we are at high altitude which means we are closer to the sun and are exposed to around 25% more ultraviolet radiation when compared to sea level.
The UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin and break down collagen and elastin causing the skin to sag and form wrinkles. It also causes age spots and freckles which are both the result of sun damage. It’s estimated that around 60-80% of what we think of as natural aging can be attributed to sun exposure.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ever go out in the sun though. Enjoying sunshine can actually help create a stronger immune system and also fight depression. Just like how we talked about sex above, we also need to enjoy sun responsibly. Enjoying the sun responsibly means doing things like:
Wearing sunscreen, even when driving
Wearing a hat and sunglasses
Wearing clothes that protect your skin from the sun
Staying in the shade or under an umbrella
Seeing a dermatologist on a regular basis for skin assessments