Aging is something we all face. No matter how hard we try, it’s in our genes and there is no escaping it.
One day, you’re a wrinkle-free, energetic twenty-year-old and before you know it, you’re looking in the mirror at someone who looks far older than you feel.
The aging process feels almost unfair, with the sudden appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, age spots and loose skin and of course, our first gray hair.
Everything seems to change, from the texture and tone of our skin, to the color and sensitivity of our teeth. Our organs even slow down and we’re at increased risk for serious or chronic illnesses, psychological changes and weight fluctuations. Logically, we all know it’s coming, but it seems to just appear out of nowhere one day and it can be difficult to watch our bodies change this way.
The way you age is largely dependent on your genes. Some women found luck in the gene pool and were gifted the ability to naturally age gracefully, like their parents and grandparents before them likely did. For others, aging seems to come on rapidly and the changes feel more significant. Each of us takes a different path as we age, as no two people age the same way.
However, in recent years, there has been a change in the way we look at aging. Women are embracing the idea of aging gracefully. Aging gracefully means making lifestyle changes to slow the aging process while embracing each change as it comes along.
So, how do we age gracefully? What are some aging gracefully tips for enhancing and embracing our natural look and feeling great about it?
In this article, we’ll go over a few of these lifestyle changes and talk about when to get support from clinical professionals to help anyone ease into the aging process with grace.
Let’s get started.
Top 10 Tips for Aging with Grace
1. Reduce Stress
It has been well established that daily stress can accelerate the aging process. Stress naturally produces a hormone called cortisol and frequent elevation of your cortisol levels can actually break down the collagen and elastin in your skin. The result, of course, is a rapid progression of fine lines and wrinkles.
Additionally, sleep can become elusive when we’re stressed and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety can set in much easier. All of these things take a toll on your overall health, and your outward appearance is no exception. Stress can also cause inflammation and high blood pressure, both of which can also trigger speedier aging, making stress a significant factor in the process of getting older.
It should be no surprise then, that lowering the stress we experience on a daily basis will have a positive impact on our health and the way we look. Lowering stress can reduce skin irritations and bags under the eyes. It can slow down the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, and lessen the number of acne outbreaks you might experience. Scars and rashes will heal faster, pores can shrink and lowering stress can even prevent more hair from turning gray.
Even the slightest reduction in your day-to-day stress can have an impact. No matter how you choose to handle stress management, one thing is for sure: your skin will benefit.
2. Take Care of Your Mental Health
The usual mental health culprits like depression, anxiety and PTSD can all have a tremendously negative effect on our skin. Much like stress, these mental health conditions can exacerbate psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, allergic reactions, acne, and more. On top of that, poor mental health can also contribute to hair loss, a slow down in hair growth and even the appearance of gray hair. In short, if you’re not looking after your mental health, you might be aging faster than you need to be.
Mental health conditions also have a tendency to trigger a sort of domino effect, leading to insomnia, lack of energy and motivation, increased drinking or smoking and a reduction in the quality of food we are consuming. All of these things will speed up the aging process as well. As such, it is crucial to look out for your own mental health for many reasons, not the least of which is to avoid speeding up the aging process.
3. Exercise Daily
A sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity can actually accelerate the aging process. Your blood is responsible for carrying nutrients to the various tissues in your body, including your skin. Increased blood flow and oxygenation, therefore, increases the amount of nutrients your skin is receiving and nothing boosts blood flow and oxygenation like exercise.
Additionally, fitness is an effective way to reduce stress and take care of our mental health, as well, which means it can also help with some of the other tips in this list. Specifically, daily exercise reduces cortisol levels, which we learned from tip #1 can break down collagen and elastin in our skin, promoting wrinkles and other signs of aging.
The benefits of daily exercise are too many to list here and nearly encompass all aspects of our lives. The signs of aging are included. Researchers and medical professionals agree, regular fitness slows down the process of aging.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of our skin’s ability to regenerate, heal and remain healthy. While we’re snoozing, our blood flow increases, sending an influx of nutrients to the skin, which is busy repairing any damage it sustains. During sleep, your skin rebuilds collagen and reduces the effects of UV exposure.
Sleep is, additionally, a booster for most of the other tips on our list. A good night’s sleep can assist in caring for your mental health, reducing stress, providing energy for exercise (which helps achieve a good night’s sleep in return!), and so much more. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your skin’s health, but it also has an enormously positive impact on all other aspects of our health as well.
5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol dries everything out that it touches and your skin is no different. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it pulls moisture out of the body. Consumption of alcohol contributes to dry skin which can increase the appearance of wrinkles and change the overall color of your skin. Prolonged alcohol consumption can have devastating effects on the skin, as well, contributing to acne breakouts, flaring rosacea, and enlarged pores.
The best way to overcome these side effects is to limit the amount of alcohol you drink or eliminate it from your life completely. By reducing your alcohol consumption, you’re allowing your skin to stay hydrated which will help to slow down the aging process.
6. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
Our nutrition has a profound effect on every aspect of our health. There are many nutrients available in a lot of delicious food that are great nutrition for your skin and will help slow down the aging process. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, lutein, lycopene and isoflavones. All of these are easy to find and work wonders providing nutrition for your skin.
Fatty acids can cause a reduction in inflammation and protect your skin from sun damage. Fatty fish like salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as zinc. Vitamin A protects your skin from the sun’s UV rays, and can prevent dry skin. Vitamin A is present in broccoli, as is zinc and vitamin C.
Vitamin C is crucial in the production of collagen. Nuts and seeds are a great source of vitamin E which prevents damage from free radicals. Zinc regulates inflammation, new skin cells and the health of your skin in general. Lutein and lycopene are abundant in tomatoes and both of these are known to protect your skin from sun damage. Isoflavones found in soy and soy products can actually reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
A diet rich in all of these compounds will immediately improve the appearance of the skin and may be able to slow the process of healthy aging.
7. Stay Hydrated… In and Out
When looking at how to improve skin texture and appearance, hydration plays an important role. Your skin needs moisture and some of us are great at applying those age-defying creams each day and night. But moisture doesn’t just come from the outside. Your skin needs moisture coming from the inside, too, and that means you need to keep your body properly hydrated.
We all know how dry skin can highlight the appearance of wrinkles, scars and cause loose skin, so keep your water bottle with you at all times and stay hydrated. It is generally recommended to drink around 64 ounces of water daily.
8. Always Wear Sunscreen
You’re probably already aware that the sun’s UV rays can cause skin cancer and burns, but did you know that UV light can also accelerate the process of aging in your skin?
Ultraviolet radiation is no joke, especially with prolonged exposure. It can cause changes to your very DNA that speeds up the process of aging. These DNA changes are also what leads to skin cancer, as well. It is good practice to wear your sunscreen everyday, rain, shine or snow, to protect your skin from UV radiation and slow down that aging process.
Sun is shining everyday whether you see it behind the clouds or not- so apply to sun bearing areas like face, neck and chest EVERYDAY!
9. Create a Daily Skin Care Routine
The right skincare routine can do wonders for your skin. As we age, though, different products become more appropriate. A skincare line marketed to teens and twenty-somethings isn’t going to have everything middle-aged women might need. For instance, there are skincare products out there that include compounds like collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are responsible for the skin’s elasticity, and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is also a great ingredient to look for, as it helps promote the production of collagen.
It’s important to wash your face everyday with a gentle face wash. In the morning, follow it up with a quality moisturizer and sunscreen. In the evening you might follow it up with a nighttime cream that includes collagen, elastin and retinols.
It can take up to 30 days to see the full effects of a new skincare routine including sunscreen, so make sure you’re giving your routine a fair shake before switching out for other products. Your skin will become irritated and could break out if you change out your products too often.
10. Watch Your Makeup Habits
Wearing makeup can have an adverse effect on your skin, unfortunately. Heavy use of makeup can actually trap free radicals in your skin, causing an acceleration of the signs of aging like wrinkles. The skin around the eyes is particularly delicate and routine makeup application can cause saggy skin, wrinkles, folds and fine lines.
Additionally, as we age, some makeup simply doesn’t apply the way it once did. The good news, though, is that there are new lines of makeup for mature skin hitting the market all the time. Some of these products include sunscreens, vitamins, minerals, collagen, hyaluronic acid and moisturizers. If you look out for those products, you may be able to slow down the damage makeup can do to your skin.
Further reduce the damage makeup can do by double-cleansing your face after removing your makeup, ensuring you’re using a gentle cleanser. Never go to bed with makeup on and always apply moisturizer after cleaning makeup off. Take breaks from makeup wherever possible or just eliminate it from your daily routine altogether.
Cosmetic Procedures as Part of Aging Gracefully
Though aging can seem to sneak up on us when we still feel like we’re thirty, we are lucky enough to live in a time when our understanding of the aging process is improving. As a result, we have many options for aging gracefully. From skincare specifically designed for mature skin to reducing stress and sleeping more, there are so many things we can do to avoid accelerating the aging process. We also live in a time when technology has advanced, providing us with options for safe and effective cosmetic procedures that can help delay and reverse aging.
Refine Aesthetics Med Spa in Austin, Texas offers many of these safe procedures, including microneedling Austin, Diamond Glow Facial, injectables, body contouring and more. Reach out today for your consultation so you can age well and look your best.