Win the War on Age

While I certainly have started engaging in a fair amount of skin treatments over the past few years, I know that my lifestyle has been the major factor in being able to maintain healthy and vibrant skin. The best possible way to fight the aging process is to arm yourself with the knowledge to win the war.

I notice that most celebs that look fantastic, claim it’s their diet or workout regime and rarely cop to having work done. Yea right! But I now understand why they are so hesitate to admit to spending thousands of dollars on professional treatments. I think if they admit to Botox, fillers, peels or surgery that the mindset of the general public is, “Oh well that’s why they look good. They spend all that money on beauty treatments and surgery.” When in fact, these women are living healthy lifestyles and taking care of themselves everyday. They are putting the work in to look good. And nobody likes hard work being diminished.

Sure, the treatments work and contribute greatly.

But you can’t be an alcoholic, smoke every day, never wear sunscreen, eat whatever you want and rarely work out, get some Botox and look like a million bucks. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

I’ve been working out my entire life. I started dancing at the age of three and went on to do that professionally. I took up fitness competitions and a couple of years back began racing in triathlons. While I have smoked the occasional cigarette on social occasions, it’s never become a habit. I drink about a gallon of water a day, usually without exception. I don’t leave the house without sunscreen on my face and neck. Ever. And for the most part, I eat whole unprocessed foods. I drink alcohol at most once a week. It’s a lifestyle. And even if I never started my skin treatments, I know I would be ahead of game. So lets break down some of the habits you should live on a day-to-day basis to battle the process of aging.

Sun exposure is the absolute worst thing for your skin.

Gone are the days when you can spend all day out in the sun or take the weekly trip to the tanning bed. Sure, everyone looks better and thinner with a beautiful tan, but that’s why Mystic and self-tanners were invented. And believe me, they’ve come along way. You can find great self-tanners that won’t leave you orange and can be applied sans streaks. Other than causing the obvious freckles and dark spots, the ultra-violet rays from the sun break down elastin fibers. The breakdown of these fibers is what causes sagginess and loss of volume.  In other words, WRINKLES! The only way to combat this is to wear sunscreen religiously. The experts recommend an SPF of at least 30. Even though I apply sunscreen, I still usually wear a hat when I’m running outside, playing at the beach or going to be outdoors for a long period of time. It can sweat off, like any lotion, and you can never be too cautious.

There are studies that show that smoking is the only behavior possibly worse than basking in the sun for aging. I can easily pick out the heavy smokers by the sound of their laugh and the wrinkles around their mouth. And how does it work exactly? Apparently, smoking restricts the blood supply to your skin, which is what causes the lack of suppleness. And let’s not forget stained fingers and yellow teeth. Definitely not signs of youthfulness.

Oh and about those cosmopolitan martinis you like so much. Like most things in life, moderation is the key. Alcohol causes dehydration, which affects the health of your skin. It also causes redness and broken blood vessels. Take it from a former bartender; you can spot an alcoholic by the broken blood vessels around their nose. Most importantly, drinking has a negative impact on your levels of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important because it helps build collagen and regenerate new skin cells. Collagen keeps your skintight and naturally decreases with age. By drinking, you speed up that process. Besides affecting the quality of your skin, drinking also has serious physical implications. When you drink, you deplete your glycogen stores, which means you aren’t able to recover from your workouts as efficiently. Working hard in the gym is important, but so is recovery. Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns as well, and getting plenty of rest is a key ingredient to health and beauty.   In addition to taking in all those extra calories you probably don’t need, your body metabolizes the alcohol you consume before any carbohydrates or fat.

Experts have also said that booze breaks down amino acids and stores them as fat.

And of course, your daily nutrition impacts your age. More and more research is showing the important of food to our bodies in so many different ways.   An inadequate diet can lead to dry and brittle hair. A vitamin deficient diet can cause fatigue, which won’t exactly help motivate you to get to the gym.   If you are one of those girls who can eat whatever you want and still be thin, I suggest you stop. First, we call those girls “skinny-fat.” You look thin, but your actual body fat is very high. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about looking young, because eating chicken nuggets all the time is probably going to kill you. For the most part, stick with whole, unprocessed foods. Drink a lot of water. Look at labels. Make the smart choices, while still allowing yourself some guilty pleasures like my personal favorite, key lime pie!

I think I’ve covered the big four: Sun exposure, smoking, drinking and eating. This certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day at the beach, sipping on margaritas. Just remember to put on that sunscreen and not to make it an everyday event. In the end, being and feeling youthful and beautiful is a lifestyle. It’s hard work and something we must strive to attain in every aspect of our lives, not just the day of our facial appointment. Good clean living: that is the way to win the battle.

Lea Waide

Lea is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of BeyondThirty.net.  She is a former professional dancer and IFBB fitness competitor, triathlete and all around fitness and beauty aficionado. Her passion is sharing her knowledge with women beyond the age of thirty, who are looking to continue to feel beautiful and fabulous.

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