It’s Time to Break up With Your Anti-Aging Routine
...One cold, bitter night, not all that long ago, a young woman fell asleep and had the strangest dream. In it appeared the face of a woman so incredibly ancient, she seemed to predate time itself. Cavernous story lines etched their way across her gaunt face—a hard-earned roadmap of the convoluted twists and turns of her remarkable journey. Her wiry gray hair whipped wildly around in the winter winds, as the elder stood calm and silent. Her sparkling eyes were deep and knowing, and a hint of a triumphant smile graced her thin lips.
Transfixed, the young woman was amazed to discover that this frail, wrinkled old woman before her was actually unspeakably beautiful—perhaps even the most beautiful, badass thing she’d ever seen. And she knew in that moment that the future held nothing to fear, because the best was yet to come…
Let’s face it, we all live in a fiercely youth-oriented society that makes growing old seem tough and scary—especially for women who already struggle for equality, opportunity, and respect in a male dominated culture. That double-edged, competitive climate has fueled a massive anti-aging craze, and businesses of all kinds are cashing in on the collective fear by convincing us we need an endless parade of elixirs, pills, and procedures to stop or even turn back the clock.
But what if age wasn’t really the enemy? Maybe we all need to rethink old age—and embrace a more compassionate attitude towards ourselves, other women, and the journey through the years we all share.
A Fresh Take on Old Age
It’s impossible to avoid being constantly bombarded by negative images of old age. Whether it’s those supposedly humorous memes on social media, TV ads for pharmaceuticals, or unappealing portrayals in the movies, it’s hard not to internalize the message that aging is synonymous with turning into an unhealthy, unattractive, and feeble-minded individual capable of little more than discussing their latest miserable medical conditions.
Who wouldn’t want to run from that picture and fight to preserve youth at all costs? That would be just common sense—if it were based in reality. And the whole anti-aging industry is literally banking on us never figuring out the deeper truth.
That larger truth is that growing older doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, and it really is quite possible to be naturally attractive, healthy, and capable during the golden years. Even though aging undeniably brings painful losses, there are actually valuable gifts it offers as well, such as:
• Deepening wisdom
• A broader perspective
• Freedom from worrying about the opinions of others
• Mastery of skills that took decades to refine
• A richer sense of life’s meaning
• Knowledge of who you really are and what you really want
These changes often create a sense of confidence and liberation—and frankly make for very interesting, appealing human beings. It’s easy to find countless inspiring examples of beautiful, creative, caring, smart, and athletic senior game changers. Here are just a few to make you smile:
• Jane Goodall: Famous for her earlier field research on chimpanzee behavior and now in her 80s, Jane Goodall still tirelessly travels the globe as an educator and activist working to preserve our amazing planet and all its creatures...not to mention the fact that she’s absolutely gorgeous.
• Cliff Young: In 1983 at the age of 61, this Australian vegetarian potato farmer, who had never run competitively, beat out scores of famous, trained young athletes to win first place in an ultra-marathon of over 500 miles.
• Harry Bernstein: At age 96, Harry Bernstein published his first book, The Invisible Wall.
• Nola Ochs: At age 95, Nola Ochs became the oldest person to earn a college degree.
• Barbary Hillary: In 2007, when she was 75 years old, this courageous cancer survivor embarked on an arctic expedition and became the first known African-American woman to set foot on the North Pole.
Tips for Aging Beautifully
Embracing age doesn’t mean letting yourself go! On the contrary, the only thing to release is all the energy and money you’ve been spending pushing back against an unstoppable clock. Youth is clearly beautiful; we all know that—but aging can be beautiful, too! These 10 simple strategies will set you on a path to healthy, happy, beautiful aging, so that like a fine wine you grow better and better with each passing year:
1. Natural skin care. Ditching all those “anti-aging” products that contain dangerous chemical ingredients, and substituting organic, cruelty free, and ethically sourced botanicals, safely protects skin and hair over time as nature intended—to bring out a vibrant, healthy glow at any age. Some oils that are especially beneficial for seasoned beauties include:
• Prickly Pear Oil: Since it’s naturally rich in powerful antioxidants called betalains, as well as vitamin E, this gentle oil is an excellent choice for keeping mature skin looking lovely.
• Argan Oil: This native Moroccan oil has been shown to improve skin elasticity, hydration, and may even help with stretch marks.4,5,6 If you color your hair, conditioning with argan oil may also protect against the damaging effects of harsh dyes.7
• Jojoba Oil: Occasional breakouts, irritations, and unwanted skin changes can be an issue at any age! Thankfully, jojoba oil has a calming effect to encourage fresh, clear skin.8
• Tamanu Oil: Research shows tamanu oil supports clear skin, softens the appearance of old scars, and helps protect against UV-related free radicals.1 Additionally, tamanu oil has been shown to increase skin regeneration and collagen production.2
• Vitamin E Oil: A four week study involving a number of natural oils, including vitamin E, found topical application increased skin density and elasticity, as well as decreased the depth of wrinkles.3
2. Exercise. Whether it’s walking, dancing, swimming, pilates—or something else entirely—enjoying movement regularly supports healthy weight as it boosts muscle mass, metabolism, cardiovascular health, mood, energy, and microbial health.10
3. Meditation/mindfulness. Daily mindfulness practice improves memory and increases gray matter in brain areas used for compassion and reasoning—while diminishing regions associated with fear and anxiety.11,12,13,14
4. Restful sleep. There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep! We all look noticeably better when we’re well rested. But getting just the right amount of sleep for your individual body offers benefits that go much more than skin deep—improving physical health, brain power, mood, productivity, and even helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.15
5. Relaxation. Practicing formal relaxation techniques, or just participating in quiet activities that are calming to you, helps protect your skin and body from the damaging effects of chronic stress.16
6. Meaningful social connections. A regular dose of shared playfulness, laughter, hugs, and fun times with friends and family leads to brighter moods, glowing optimism, and contagious, happy energy. And studies show staying socially connected as we get older is also associated with improved outlook on life, as well as better memory and overall health.17,18
7. Gratitude. Focusing on—and appreciating—all that’s good in life sparks a joyous energy that can’t help but make you more attractive to everyone around.
8. Nurturing your gut health. Since healthy bodies and beautiful skin are both so strongly linked to a balanced microbiome, enjoy a gut-healthy diet containing lots of plant foods in their natural forms—as well as probiotic treats like kefir and kimchi. It’s also wise to avoid processed foods, refined sugars, GMOs, and artificial additives, since these ingredients are tough on friendly flora. Bifido gut bacteria, which are particularly effective at keeping us looking and feeling great, tend to naturally decrease as we get older—so you may also want to consider supplementing with a high quality, time released probiotic such as PRO-Bifido along with an organic prebiotic powder to ensure that those helpful microbes are getting the nutrition they need to help you thrive.19,20,21
9. Sunscreen. It’s such a simple thing that it often gets overlooked, but a good deal of what most people think of as unattractive aging is actually just skin damage from the sun’s UV rays. Applying a natural, mineral sunscreen to your face and other exposed skin areas daily is one of the easiest ways to stay gorgeous over the long haul.
10. New learning. Acquiring new knowledge and skills isn’t just fun and interesting—it actually strengthens memory and boosts brain power! So learn to play an instrument, or speak another language, or even bellydance! As long as it’s something completely new, and you enjoy it, it’s doing wonders for your wise and beautiful brain!22
Care for Your Telomeres and They’ll Return the Favor
Telomeres are the chromosomal “caps” that keep your precious genetic material from degrading so your cells can continue to reproduce properly. Telomeres tend to get shorter over the years, which can lead to the dramatic deterioration in health often associated with old age. Thankfully, regular exercise and mindfulness—as well as all of the above healthy lifestyle approaches—can actually slow down, halt, or even reverse shrinking telomeres!23,24,25,26 This in effect makes your body biologically “younger” than your chronological years—and is something that can be accomplished from a place of nurturing self-love, rather than fear or resistance.
You are, and always have been, a miraculous work in progress. As you begin to appreciate yourself as you are in this moment—and release any limiting old vs. young thought patterns—you’ll discover a gentle compassion for your constantly developing self, and for others. Your choices involving hair color, makeup, clothing, shoes, and lifestyle then become just a matter of expressing your unique personality in a fun way, rather than trying to prove anything, hide anything, or cheat time. That’s true freedom. And as nice as that feeling is, the best is truly yet to come.
1. Dweck, A. C., & Meadows, T. (2002). Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) - the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific Panacea. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 24(6), 341-348. doi:10.1046/j.1467-2494.2002.00160.x
2. Ansel, J., Lupo, E., Mijouin, L., Guillot, S., Butaud, J., Ho, R., … Pichon, C. (2016). Biological Activity of Polynesian Calophyllum inophyllum Oil Extract on Human Skin Cells. Planta Medica, 82(11/12), 961-966. doi:10.1055/s-0042-108205
3. Hahn, H. J., Jung, H. J., Schrammek-Drusios, M. C., Lee, S. N., Kim, J., Kwon, S. B., … Ahn, K. J. (2016). Instrumental evaluation of anti-aging effects of cosmetic formulations containing palmitoyl peptides, Silybum marianum seed oil, vitamin E and other functional ingredients on aged human skin. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 12(2), 1171-1176. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3447
4. Silva, A. C., Amaral, M. H., Sousa Lobo, J. M., & Tichota, D. (2014). Design, characterization, and clinical evaluation of argan oil nanostructured lipid carriers to improve skin hydration. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 3855. doi:10.2147/ijn.s64008
5. Bensouda, Y., Qiraouani Boucetta, K., Charrouf, Z., Aguenaou, H., & Derouiche, A. (2015). The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 339. doi:10.2147/cia.s71684
6. Boucetta, K. Q., Charrouf, Z., Derouiche, A., Rahali, Y., & Bensouda, Y. (2014). Skin hydration in postmenopausal women: argan oil benefit with oral and/or topical use. Menopausal Review, 5, 280-288. doi:10.5114/pm.2014.46470
7. Faria, P. M., Camargo, L. N., Carvalho, R. S., Paludetti, L. A., Velasco, M. V., & Gama, R. M. (2013). Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment with Hair Dye. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 03(03), 40-44. doi:10.4236/jcdsa.2013.33a1006
8. Meier, L., Stange, R., Michalsen, A., & Uehleke, B. (2012). Clay Jojoba Oil Facial Mask for Lesioned Skin and Mild Acne Results of a Prospective, Observational Pilot Study. Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine, 19(2), 75-79. doi:10.1159/000338076
9. Lee, B. H., Lee, J. S., & Kim, Y. C. (2016). Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice. Toxicological Research, 32(2), 103-108. doi:10.5487/tr.2016.32.2.103
10. Clarke, S. F., Murphy, E. F., O'sullivan, O., Lucey, A. J., Humphreys, M., Hogan, A., . . . Cotter, P. D. (2014). Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity. Gut, 63(12), 1913-1920.
11. Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging,191(1), 36-43. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006
12. Pagnoni, G., & Cekic, M. (2007). Age effects on gray matter volume and attentional performance in Zen meditation. Neurobiology of Aging,28(10), 1623-1627. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.06.008
13. Luders, E., Kurth, F., Mayer, E. A., Toga, A. W., Narr, K. L., & Gaser, C. (2012). The Unique Brain Anatomy of Meditation Practitioners: Alterations in Cortical Gyrification. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,6. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00034
14. Luders, E., Clark, K., Narr, K. L., & Toga, A. W. (2011). Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners. NeuroImage,57(4), 1308-1316. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.05.075
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19. David, L. A., Maurice, C. F., Carmody, R. N., Gootenberg, D. B., Button, J. E., Wolfe, B. E., . . . Turnbaugh, P. J. (2013). Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature, 505(7484), 559-563.
20. Shehata, A. A., Schrödl, W., Aldin, A. A., Hafez, H. M., & Krüger, M. (2012). The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro. Current Microbiology, 66(4), 350-358.
21. Woodmansey, E. J., Mcmurdo, M. E., Macfarlane, G. T., & Macfarlane, S. (2004). Comparison of Compositions and Metabolic Activities of Fecal Microbiotas in Young Adults and in Antibiotic-Treated and Non-Antibiotic-Treated Elderly Subjects. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70(10), 6113-6122.
22. Park, D. C., Lodi-Smith, J., Drew, L., Haber, S., Hebrank, A., Bischof, G. N., & Aamodt, W. (2013). The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults. Psychological Science, 25(1), 103-112. doi:10.1177/0956797613499592
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Roberta Pescow is a writer and the proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. As someone who’s been passionate about holistic wellness most of her life, she understands that the skin is the body’s largest organ—and its first line of defense. That’s why she knows how important it is to use only the purest, natural skincare ingredients. Roberta loves sharing all she’s learned over the years to help others reveal their healthiest, most beautiful skin ever.