Women are looking for ways to turn back time
On average, we can expect to enjoy longer lives than our parents, grandparents and their grandparents.
As the baby boomer generation approaches middle age and beyond, a growing number of women are looking for ways to look younger, feel younger and be as healthy as they were when they were younger. Essentially, women are looking for ways to turn back the hands of time.
Ways Women Can Look Younger
Fighting Wrinkles: Wrinkles are a sign of aging that most women want to avoid. Cosmetic surgeries, cosmetic treatments and skin creams are popular options many women use.
For women considering a cosmetic procedure to take years off their face, the best procedures are chemical peels, collagen therapy, laser skin resurfacing and botulinum toxin injections (also known as Botox), according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Chemical peels, sometimes called the “lunchtime peel” because they take an hour or less, involve the application of chemical exfoliating agents applied to the skin to remove skin cells so new skin can grow. Chemical peels remove fine wrinkles and skin roughness. The procedure can be repeated as often as necessary to keep the skin looking young.
Collagen therapy consists of an injection of tissue filler to soften lines around the mouth, augment lips, and help with muscle loss around the mouth.
During laser skin resurfacing, beams of light emitted from the laser are absorbed by water in the skin cells. This procedure helps with wrinkles, sun damage and irregular pigmentation. It is relatively painless compared to traditional cosmetic surgery.
Botulinum toxin injections involve an injection procedure that helps to soften crow’s feet around the eyes, frown lines in the forehead and brow, lines around the nose, and folds in the neck. The results typically last three to six months.
Many women seek options other than cosmetic procedures. Performing daily facial exercises is an example of one non-surgical approach to reduce wrinkles. “Your face is meant to be an elastic expression of you. You shouldn’t be afraid to move the muscles in your face,” says Ellae Elinwood, author and lecturer. “We live in a culture of little expression, we use the same expressions again and again and don’t use all of our facial muscles.” Elinwood teaches that women should practice 60 to 90 seconds of natural facial expressions every day to improve skin tone and prevent wrinkles. These exercises also teach women to recognize which facial exercises to practice when they feel their facial muscles tightening during the day. “It is proven that if your face is relaxed, then your body is relaxed,” Elinwood says.
A leading anti-aging expert, Nicholas Perricone, M.D., believes that signs of aging skin can be attributed to inflammation at the cellular level. He says that inflammation, which has been linked to diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, can cause wrinkles, bags under the eyes, sagging jowls and puffiness. “Some causes of inflammation are poor diets, sunlight exposure, environmental pollutants, too much stress and not enough sleep,” says Dr. Perricone.
Perricone has developed a 28-day program for total body and face rejuvenation and curing wrinkles. His program focuses on four areas:
1. Anti-inflammatory Diet. “The most important thing is diet,” says Dr. Perricone. “The body needs a steady supply of high-quality protein and the right fats.” Dr. Perricone says if you don’t eat adequate, high-quality protein, cells will breakdown, and your body won’t be able to repair cells. He recommends fish, especially salmon, as an excellent source of high-quality and easily digested protein with low saturated fat. Some items on his “foods to enjoy” list include apples, blueberries, broccoli, white meat chicken, egg whites, low-fat milk, kiwi, lettuce, olive oil, oatmeal (not instant), spinach, tomatoes and yogurt. He suggests staying away from foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes because they are rapidly converted to sugar and are potent inflammatory agents. Other foods to avoid include bagels, bananas, carrots, coffee, dried fruit, grapes, pizza, popcorn, soda, sugar and watermelon.
For people who doubt Dr. Perricone’s recommendations, he suggests trying a “three-day nutritional face-lift.” He says that you will see an immediate improvement in your appearance and experience a boost of energy. The three-day plan consists of:
Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water.
Having three meals, evenly spaced throughout the day (always eating protein first).
Two snacks, one mid-afternoon and one between dinner and bedtime (again, protein first). Each meal and snack must contain one of Dr. Perricone’s recommended sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
2. Nutritional Supplements. Dr. Perricone recommends taking specific daily nutritional supplements at breakfast and lunch. These supplements are to fight inflammation, increase energy and retard aging. These range from taking daily multivitamins to recommended doses of grape seed extract, omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric.
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3. Skin care. The 28-day plan describes the importance of using lotions and creams containing vitamin C ester, alpha lipoic acid, tocotrienol (a form of vitamin E), and DAME to repair skin damage and increase skin tone. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that as people age they begin using lotion products containing anti-oxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, to help repair and prevent skin damage. They also suggest vitamin A cream to help reduce signs of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
4. Exercise. Dr. Perricone says that exercising will help you achieve beautiful skin because it has a powerful, positive anti-inflammatory effect on our cells.
Some women also make mistakes with their makeup that make them appear older. The biggest mistakes that instantly make women look older are using brown or orange blush colors, brownish lipstick, or strong eyeliner. This advice comes from Joanna Nicholson, president of Color 1 Associates, International Image and Style Consultants. She says, “The brown colors tend to muddy and sallow the skin, and bring out lines in the face.”
Nicholson offers the following makeup tips for women who want to look younger:
Keep blush out of the “smile crinkles.” To avoid this, smile at yourself in the mirror when applying makeup.
After applying eyeliner, smudge the lines. It should not appear as a harsh line.
When your eyes show signs of aging, purchase a triple magnifying makeup mirror to see better when you are putting on your makeup. If you need reading glasses, you will benefit from a magnifying makeup mirror.
Only use facial moisturizers where the skin appears to be dry. Too much moisturizer can cause adult acne breakouts, which many women mistakenly blame on their makeup.
Thinking Younger: Is there anything we can do about normal cognitive decline that begins in middle age? Researchers once thought we lost brain cells, or nerve cells with normal age. We now know that we are capable of growing new nerve cells in areas of the brain important for learning and memory.
A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association suggested that more frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities such as reading books, newspapers or magazines, doing crossword puzzles, visiting museums or playing card games may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
To help people maintain a continuing level of mental fitness, strength and flexibility as they age, Lawrence C. Katz and Manning Rubin, co-authors of Keep Your Brain Alive, developed “neurobic” brain exercises. These simple exercises were designed to create more connections between different areas of the brain. Neurobic exercises involve doing ordinary activities in a different way to involve one or more senses in a novel context, engage your attention, or break a routine activity in an unexpected nontrivial way. Showering with your eyes closed is an example provided by Katz and Rubin.
Findings from a report issued by the Institute for the Study of Aging and the International Longevity Center-USA suggest older Americans who want to retain their cognitive vitality keep mentally and physically active, whether at work or in retirement. The report suggests ways to keep the mind functioning as effectively as possible such as pursuing lifelong learning and memory training, engaging in physical activity, continuing to work at a job or participating in social activities, practicing stress reduction techniques, getting help for sleep disorders, seeking treatment for depression, maintaining a nutritious, low fat diet, and effectively controlling medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Do these mental exercises work? Does keeping active as we age help our minds from fading? Is the theory use it or lose it true? “Unfortunately, we don’t know for sure,” says Molly Wagster, Ph.D., program director of neuropsychology of aging at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Aging. “There have been some promising studies, but it is difficult to do well controlled studies in humans to know for sure if these exercises or activities are helping to keep people’s mind young versus their genes, their environment, their lifetime experiences. Some interesting animal studies have proved that animals living in an enriched environment show an improvement in memory.”
Wagster also points to some recent studies performed on middle-aged rats, which showed diets high in anti-oxidants, specifically strawberries and spinach, prevented animals from showing age-related cognitive decline. A second study done on older rats that ate strawberries, spinach and blueberries showed an actual reverse in age-related decline.
So should we practice brain exercises or keep an active lifestyle with the goal of maintaining mental fitness? Should we eat diets high in anti-oxidants? Wagster says, “What we do know for sure is that physical exercise keeps the brain sharp, and that exercise may be important as anything else to aid cognitive improvement.” Exercise boosts circulation, including blood flow to the brain, which may be the reason for this. “In animal studies, we’ve seen that exercise has a direct impact on the growth factor in the brain,” he says.
Are There Ways To Dress Younger Without Looking Silly? “Looking great is an attitude women can adapt at any age,” Joanna Nicholson says. “It is possible to dress in younger, trendy clothes without looking silly. Women need to shop with a fine eye and pick items carefully. To look current, they could pick a trendy top and pair it with a classic style bottom.”
Mary Lou Andre, president of Organization by Design, Inc., says as women mature, they can still dress in trendy clothes; only they need to wear them notched down. “If the hot color is turquoise, choose a turquoise shell under a pant suit. If you want to wear a bell bottom pant, select a subdued boot cut.”
Nicholson adds, “A great tip is to wear a matching top and a matching bottom. You don’t have too much going on and you don’t run the risk of looking too busy.” Andre agrees, “Start with a monochromatic base, all one color from shoulder to hem. Dark monochromatic outfits, especially black, brown, navy and dark gray look especially good on women as they age. It helps them look slimmer.”
A mistake that Andre often sees is women dressing in clothes that are too baggy or too tight to cover up their figure flaws. Nicholson says that women who hide their figure flaws under tops that are too long make themselves look dowdy, as their leg line is shortened by the look of the longer top. “Women should celebrate their entire look, not camouflage it. Don’t tell yourself I’m not going to feel beautiful until I lose weight. Any woman can look chic, it’s an attitude she needs to have.”
Another clothing mistake Andre sees is women still tucking in shirts or shirt jackets. “Untucked shirts are the current style. Tucking will make you look out of date.”
Nicholson recommends that women stay away from chunky shoes and instead pick shoes with a slender heel. “Chunky shoes look really horrible on women as they age. They give legs and feet a heavy look.”
To look great wearing jeans, Nicholson suggests pairing a blazer or a suit jacket with jeans. She says that choosing slender cut trousers instead of a wide cut leg will give women a longer leg line.
Nicholson advises caution when choosing jewelry. “Jewelry is hard to do well with any outfit. Too much jewelry or too much matching jewelry starts to look overdone and makes us look older.” She says that jewelry is fine, in moderation.
For women having problems selecting a wardrobe that makes them look younger yet classy, Andre suggests to first start in their own closet. “Throw out everything you haven’t worn in a while or doesn’t fit in your lifestyle — your lifestyle may have changed since you bought the clothes. Then look at what remains, you probably have some great stuff. Go through some recent catalogs for ideas, and then purchase some pieces to update what you already own. Having a good relationship with a tailor is another good idea; they can help you update some of the nicer items in your closet. Don’t forget, you don’t need a huge wardrobe, just a handful of outfits that make you look great.”
How Women Can Feel Younger As They Age: “As women get older, they need to think and speak of themselves as maturing, not aging,” says Ellae Elinwood, author and lecturer. Women should think about their own “maturing” process as a gift they need to tap into. “Culture doesn’t teach us how to be over 40. Older women are not valued in our society,” Elinwood says . She believes women need to avoid putting down the maturing process, and decide to find their own rhythm as they age. “We don’t have good role models on how to mature well. Women should look for other women who are maturing gracefully, and tell themselves, ‘That is how I want to age.'”
Michael Roizen, M.D., believes our biological age made be years older or younger than our chronological age, depending on a combination of factors. Roizen and his colleagues developed a health measurement test, known as the RealAge, to help people determine what is helping or hindering their chances of living a longer, healthier life.
RealAge is based on 125 health and lifestyle factors from pet ownership to outlook on life to how often they eat meat. “It is all about the kinds of choices people make,” says Dr. Roizen. “To feel younger, I recommend that people pick just three things they can do, and once they feel an improvement, chose another.” Dr. Roizen’s top recommendations include taking multivitamins, beginning a walking or exercising program, changing diet, lifting weights and stopping smoking. His website, Realage.com, has tests people can take to calculate their “real age,” and steps they can take to feel younger.
According to Dr. Roizen, food can make you younger and help you regain the energy of your youth. He believes you are as young as your arteries. To start getting younger, people should choose food that’s nutrient rich, calorie poor and delicious. An example is choosing nuts over potato chips because the nuts have great protein and a healthy fat. He says consuming one ounce of nuts five days a week, fish, a small amount of monosaturated fat before each meal, and moderate alcohol can shave years off your RealAge.
Exercising To Feel Younger: Around age 40, women begin to lose about one-half of a pound of muscle per year, which converts into fat. This loss of muscle contributes to weight gain, increased risks for certain diseases, and restless sleep. The loss may also lead to a higher likelihood of depression.
“Women often don’t value their muscles, but muscles are what gives our body shape and make us feel good,” says Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young and Strong Women Stay Slim. Nelson has conducted studies at Tufts University that have proven just two strength-training sessions a week helps women turn back the clock by recovering bone and muscle. Even more important, women in the studies recovered energy, and felt happier and more energetic as a result of their strength training.
Nelson recommends a strength-training program in combination with aerobic or leisure exercise. “It’s never too late to start strength training. Whatever age you are now is the age you need to start. Even older women have gained back some of the muscle they have lost,” Nelson says. She estimates only 10 percent to 15 percent of women are doing some type of strength training.
Others echo the importance of how exercise can make you feel younger. Ellae Elinwood says, “Finding a form of exercise that gives you pleasure, and your body really loves, will give you a youthful body and make you feel younger.”
“Many times women with children at home think they are being selfish if they take time for themselves to exercise or take care of themselves,” says Michael Roizen, M.D. “Women will actually feel better and rejuvenated if they take time for themselves and they will be able to take care of their family better. They are actually doing their family a favor.”
Aging is Inevitable: Aging is an inevitable process, something humans don’t have the ability to stop. It does appear women can make choices to help turn back time and add extra years to their lives. Many of these are common sense things already known: eat well, take a multivitamin, exercise, drink lots of water, get a good night’s sleep, stay active, and generally take good care of yourself.
“Maturing is going to happen, changes in our body will occur. We need to set priorities of what we really want to fight, and what we think we can prevent or slow down,” says Ellae Elinwood.
“We can’t stop aging, but we can slow the process of aging, and that is the best thing we can do to promote health,” says Michael Roizen, M.D.
Source: Ivanhoe News