Another kind of beauty?
Positive ageing may seem an odd concept. After all, you may think it’s inevitable? But you can make choices to age positively.
If there was a magic silver bullet to slow down the visible signs appearing on your face, I’d be the first to tell you. I know, some might say, of course, there is! I can fill my frown with muscle relaxing injections and my smile lines with dermal fillers.
Problem solved? Perhaps.
I’d equally like someone to tell me I need never go to the gym, ever again. I’d much prefer to have a magic wand to smooth over the bumps and why can’t I fill my arms with an instant muscle filler? That would be amazing? I’d buy into that magic bullet. Wouldn’t you?
But, just like going to the gym, slowing down the visible signs of ageing in your skin will take some preventative measures as well as some real-time solutions to the mistakes already made.
So far, in our 4 part series on positive ageing, we’ve discussed your attitude towards ageing, protecting your skin from the worst the environment has to throw at your skin and skincare that makes a difference. And, we’ve tackled ways to enhance your appearance with a barely-there approach to makeup application.
So what more can be done? I want to tackle three areas that can make a big difference to ageing positively—alcohol and smoking, nutrition and releasing toxins through gentle movement and massage.
The good news is none of these tips will hurt your hip pocket and are all relatively easy to adapt in your lifestyle. (Or, am I just the eternal optimist)
Positive Ageing #1: Alcohol and, other vices, especially smoking.
There was a time not that long ago, where I had come to believe that smoking was no longer a problem as we’d all got the memo on how damaging cigarette smoke was for us. My opinion may have been naive and premature, as it appears more and more younglings are taking up the habit.
So, smoking is now back on my list. Apart from the obvious issues; destroying your lungs one cigarette at a time. Smoking depletes your skin of vitamin C, and your skin can’t do without natural vitamin C to build collagen; essential if you want to remain wrinkle-free.
Then comes alcohol, the other thing (me too) where we happily delude ourselves. Oh, you don’t? Two standard drinks a night? That’s what health authorities the world over have agreed is a safe amount.
Trouble is we’re not so good at measuring that out. One standard drink is 150ml, and if you’ve ever felt short poured at the bar when you ordered a single glass of wine, then you know how small a standard drink is.
But, what’s all the fuss? Don’t be such a prude Julie. I know, but it’s just that, as enjoyable as a social drink is, your body will develop a tolerance to alcohol, and before you know it, you’re regularly consuming more than you should.
Again, I hear you, what’s the big deal?
Well, let’s go back to the everso dull health authorities who would like us to know; more than two drinks a day will harm your health. And, when they say harm your health they mean alcohol is a carcinogen, you could compare downing a bottle of wine in a single evening akin to 10 cigarettes!!
Yep. Disappointing, but not the end of the world if you just put a few common-sense practices in place.
Stop after two (standard size) glasses, don’t drink every single day and occasionally, fast completely, not just to protect yourself from the risks to your health but to prove that you’re in control, not the alcohol. And, one last thing, drinking too much on the regular, will age your skin and the way you look. There will be no if’s or buts. It just will.
Positive Ageing #2: Better nutrition and curbing sugar consumption.
Your largest organ, your skin needs proper nutrition and much less sugar. Of course, better nutrition will keep you looking younger. Fresh and unpackaged is the best approach. Limit takeout, cook from scratch and try and minimise how much of your food comes packaged with added things you know little about.
Too much hard work? Well, if you want to age positively then, the extra time you dedicate to this will make a big difference to your appearance.
The hidden sugar in packaged foods alone is enough to add ten years. I’d rather eat cake than consume all that mysteriously hidden sugar; it’s insidious, and if you’re eating enough of it a cascade of troubles in your body can occur and prematurely age you.
This cascade I speak of is known as AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products), a long name that means, too much sugar sticking to your cells, making them sluggish and dysfunctional. This cellular dysfunction is ageing to you and your skin.
If you want to know more about AGE’s, I’ve dedicated a whole article to it over here.
Positive Ageing #3: Detox your body through lymphatic drainage.
Usually, at the beginning of every year, our Instagram and other social media feeds are filled with workouts, weight loss programmes and detox diets. Detoxing is a great idea. But, there is no need to go on a special diet to do this unless you plan on fasting to activate autophagy (but that’s another story for another time).
The body is so incredible in every way, and genetics aside, if we take care of it, we can hope for good health most of the time. So, it would make sense to do the occasional detox, except you don’t need to as your body is detoxing every single day.
So what’s with all those detox diets? Honestly, I have no idea, and I have no plans to find out, but what I do know is this.
Your lymphatic system, which runs alongside your circulatory system and is responsible for the removal of toxins, pathogens, and any other nasty your body doesn’t want—cased closed. Well, not quite. You see, as efficient as your lymphatic system is at flushing away toxins, it does need your help.
But it’s so simple. MOVE. That’s right, move.
Unlike your bloodstream moving oxygenated blood throughout your body with every beat of your heart, your lymphatic vessels gently push toxins to your lymph nodes with the help of movement. So if you want to detox? Push back, get up and go for a gentle walk or if you’re stuck inside at the moment because of COVD19 then get up and do a little dance. Good for your lymphatic system and probably very good for your state of mind.
Want to go one step further (and this one, I promise you’ll love)? Invest in a full face and body lymphatic massage. You’ll feel relaxed as the massage gently encourages the clearing away of lymph fluid and toxins.
Or, if you want to invest in a little self-care, you could start with a Rose Quartz Stone to gently massage the contours of your face, to gently sculpt and give yourself a gentle lymphatic facial massage.
Massage and physical activity will improve your health. Puffy skin will reduce, and your eyes area will feel refreshed, and dark circles will minimise. While massaging lymph away will not change the texture or tone of your skin, it will improve a dull and sallow skin caused by poor circulation.
And now you?
I was about to hit publish and thought to myself, who’s listening to my advice? Especially when it comes to curbing alcohol, or giving up sugar? But then I remembered me as a 24-year-old youngling when I found out about how ageing the sun can be. I quit sunbaking and began wearing sunscreen from that day forward! Every day, no matter what. Now at sixty, I’m so glad I took the advice. So, maybe some of you’ll heed my opinion in this, the final article in my Positive Ageing Series. It could make a world of difference. Let me know in the comments.
Stay safe and I’ss see you next time.
A little note: I’m not a medical professional. Always seek the advice and assistance of your medical doctor. You can read my disclaimer here.