Look your best at any age

December 2012

Enjoying a healthy lunch outdoors

No matter how many birthdays you’ve had, age is just a number. For many people, what matters most is to feel — and look — their best. You can take these simple steps to help you look great now and stay looking your best as you get older.

Protect your skin

Your skin, more than anything else, can give away your age. As you age, your skin becomes thinner and drier. It also becomes less plump, smooth, and elastic. That’s when those telltale wrinkles start to creep up. If you take good care of your skin, it can make you look a lot younger than you are. Taking care of your skin means three things:

Use sunscreen

Being exposed to the sun can also lead to wrinkles, age spots, and other problems. And, of course, it puts you at risk for skin cancer. One of the best ways you can protect your skin against skin damage is by putting on sunscreen with and SPF of at least 30 every day, even on cloudy days.

Wash your face at night

Also make sure you clean your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser at the end of the day to remove dirt and makeup. Just be sure to be gentle. Harsh soaps or cleansers can be irritating and can strip your skin of its natural oils.

Use moisturizer

After you clean your skin, use a good moisturizer. Like sunscreen, it can help you protect your skin from the elements. Also, it can help you avoid dry skin that shows wrinkles easily.

Watch your diet

What you eat can make a big difference not only in how you look, but also how you feel. If you want healthy, glowing skin, be sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products (like milk, yogurt, and cheese), and lean proteins (especially fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts, and beans).

Not only will these healthy foods help your skin keep that healthy glow, but you’ll also feel better physically. Eating a balanced diet packed with nutritious foods is an important part of staying healthy and fit — which, of course, will help you look your best.

Stay active

Workouts do more than help you lose weight. Exercise helps flush toxins from your body and skin, giving you a healthy glow. It can also help you improve your posture and muscle tone, which can help you look and feel better.

Sleep well

The term “beauty sleep” exists for a reason. When you rest, your cells — including the ones in your skin — basically repair themselves. Lack of sleep can not only give you puffy eyes with dark circles under them, it can make your skin look dull, dry, and lifeless. So definitely try not to skimp on sleep if you want to look your best.

Manage stress

How you feel on the inside can have a huge impact on how you look on the outside. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other things that affect your emotional health have been linked to negative physical changes. For example, stress can aggravate skin conditions like psoriasis or rosacea. It’s even been linked to hair loss and brittle nails.

To project the best outer self, take good care of your inner self. Try to reduce your stress as much as possible and practice relaxation and stress relief techniques like yoga, meditation, or even taking a walk outdoors in a park or garden.

Don’t smoke

No matter what your age, a healthy lifestyle can help you look and feel better.

Finally, if you smoke, do everything you can to stop. Smoking is not only harmful for your body, but it can make you look much older. That’s because nicotine and other harmful substances in tobacco prevent the proper flow of oxygen and important nutrients to your skin cells, causing wrinkles.

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