Saying goodbye to 2018 and welcoming 2019 is a reflective time of the year for me. It’s a time when I ask the question, “what’s most important to me this upcoming year?”
And when I really get down to it, high on the list is taking care of my physical health and appearance.
From my physical appearance, I would list my weight, my muscle tone, and my skin & hair condition as being what I concern myself with most. For me, staying healthy and in good body weight has been important for a long time, but maintaining a youthful appearance is only something that I started paying attention to post 40.
I guess I’m not saying anything new as this is pretty general. The only difference is that – as an aging male- I didn’t put much emphasis on how I’m aging until relatively recent times. In contrast, most women become aware of the passing of time on their looks much earlier.
As a 50-year-old male who’s been in the business of Looking Younger for 15 years now, I thought it appropriate to put together a few short tips on what both us guys and you gals can easily implement to make this year’s passing relatively unnoticeable on your face and body.
1. Youthful hair – overwashing and drying our hair with curling irons and a hair dryer can really do damage to healthy hair strands. As a kid (and way into adulthood), I took 1-2 showers/day, washing my hair and blow drying it. Of course, most of that time, I didn’t realize that I was actually doing damage to my hair. But as an aging male, I had every reason do everything I could to make my hair healthy, strong and shiny.
So, first of all, when possible try to towel dry your hair and just let it dry naturally. Overheating it with dryers, irons, and curlers aren’t going to do much to save the strands. They will dry out, weaken and thus become fragile and break. Second, if you have long(er) hair, you also should try to wait for your hair to dry before brushing. The heavier weight of your wet hair makes brushing/combing more difficult and can end up breaking the hair strands. Finally, and not surprisingly, a good, high protein diet is essential for maintaining shine, strength and new hair production – all giving you a more youthful look.
Younger Face and Neck
2. Younger face, neck – One of the most important things in maintaining a youthful appearance is taking care of your skin. We all know that, over time, the skin changes in texture, color, and elasticity. Facelifts, chemical, peeling and laser skin rejuvenation and tightening, microdermabrasion are all solutions that should be implemented into your facial rejuvenation maintenance program, but there are other things – even simpler – that you can do at a younger age, to help in keeping your skin younger looking.
The most important of these long-term prevention measures is using a good sunscreen. Generally, a minimum SPF 30 cream is recommended and should be used as part of your daily routine. Not just when the sun is shining. There’s a big choice out there so I would recommend asking your dermatologist which sunscreen is best for you.
The second thing that can improve upon your looks is decreasing the amount of sodium(salt) intake in your diet. Salt makes you retain water and thus makes you look a bit puffier and older than you should – especially under your eyes.
Finally, there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep. The body produces lots of hormones while you sleep and that just makes you feel and look great.
3. Youthful hands – the back of our hands have very thin skin and less underlying fatty tissue than many other parts of our body. So as we age, and this fat begins to dissipate, the visible signs of aging become more apparent, earlier. In addition, we have to deal with the changing texture of the skin, pigmentation age spots, visible veins, and lax skin.
As with the face and neck, there are many options that your plastic surgeon or dermatologist can recommend for you. Laser skin tightening, fat or synthetic fillers, sclerotherapy, microdermabrasion just to name a few.
Regular use of a good moisturizer or hand lotion can really make a difference over time. You see all that washing and cleaning with detergents and chemicals, soaps, etc can take a big toll, over time, on the skin. Water leaves the skin making it dry and feeling rough. Using a good hand lotion or cream not only helps to restore the lost moisture, but it also helps to keep the moisture in your skin in the first place. So, if you want to keep your hands (and nails) in good shape, don’t leave out this of your routine.
4. Teeth – if we look at the things we notice first on another person, we gain good insight about what others see on us. Just take a look at someone with stained or discolored teeth. Need I say more? In so much as I realize it’s difficult to avoid certain foods like heavy dark sauces, coffees or red wines, I say it’s possible to decrease consumption of them or find substitutes that can be equally pleasing to the palate without causing discoloration to the teeth. Nothing sets us apart better than showing bright teeth with a great smile.
5. Regular Exercise – Yes, we’ve all heard it millions of times. Exercise! The reason exercise is good for the skin and can slow down the visible signs of aging is because exercise increases the circulation to the skin. And, good circulation is what is needed to nourish cells for elastin and collagen production, defend again infection and inflammation, and maintain healthy fat tissue which gives you a youthful look. Just look at baby’s face.
In closing, the aging process can be a very slow and subtle one if we take the right measures early enough. A plethora of treatments are available nowadays that can give you back your youthful look, but as the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I hope you’ll implement some of these tips into your 2019. Happy and healthy New Year!
Randy Simor MD
If you like infographics like this one below, follow us on Pinterest
Learn about what brown pigmentation spots are and what you can do about them when they appear.