This blog is dedicated to my favorite hints and tips that will make you look younger to others and perhaps feel more confident in yourself. But first, I feel you deserve an explanation.
I brand myself as the pro-aging advocate, ready to stamp out ageism as a destructive force. So it would seem outrageously hypocritical to focus on helping readers look younger. But that’s exactly what I am doing today. Here is my reasoning.
In the battle against ageism, we are searching for new and exciting images of aging.
We want others to see the vitality, adventure, charm and surprise we experience as we grow older. Of course, there is a definite connection between how we feel and how we look, including whether we have a youthful view of life or a view that has dimmed with age. Vibrant older people need to be more visible and relevant if we hope to change the cultural image of aging.
But for now, this is what we have—by looking younger, you get seen for the dynamo you are…you contribute to the revolution.
So, what can you do to preserve your youthful appearance? Here are my top 12…
#1. Sugar: It’s the enemy to good skin when ingested, but it makes a great scrub, as does salt. Mix it with facial oils, especially rose oil. It exfoliates the top layer of skin (epidermis) to allow for regeneration. I’ve been exfoliating with sugar every month for many years. It makes my skin feel smoother and look brighter.
#2. Posture: Your overall posture is what people see first. Sit and stand up straight. Do what the news anchors do. Before you sit down, grab the bottom of your jacket, shirt, sweater or blouse and pull it down with both hands. Sit down still holding the garment. Remove your hands and the tightened material will cause you to sit up straight.
Alternatively, if your shirt doesn’t reach, watch where you gaze. Joel Harper, personal trainer to the stars, offered a great posture tip in his book Mind Your Body. Simply look straight ahead. In our heads-down world, we tend to cast our eyes downward, pulling our head and shoulders down. By simply keeping your gaze up, your seated posture straightens. Voilà!
#3. Gait: Walk tall and balanced. Stride out PROUD. Even folks who use walkers can do this—the new ones are now higher, so there’s no more “walker slouch.” Try balance, yoga and Tai Chi exercises for gentle ways to improve your posture and gait.
#4. Dress with flair: As Albie, the protagonist in the film The Birdcage, said so pointedly, “One wants a bit of color.” If you’re in a fashion rut, check out the website, Advanced Style, which features stylish seniors. Or choose your favorite store, whether Chanel or H&M, Men’s Warehouse or John Varvatos. Look at their windows and mannequins. Copy what you see…it’s all in your closet already.
#5. Remove your hair: No, I don’t mean on your head. I mean on your chin! Nothing signals that you gave up on your looks more than inappropriate facial hair—women’s top lip and cheeks…men’s eyebrows, ears and nose hairs.
#6. Condition your hair: Follicles get ultra-dry as you age. Good news, white and grey are “in” for hair color. Even young fashionistas are stripping their hair to make it look white—but you still need luxurious strands.
#7. Grey hair is in…grey teeth are out: Try nonperoxide whitening toothpaste and/or whitening strips, or get professional whitening from your dentist. I tried Zoom, Supersmile and whitening mouth wash. They all help, but I can’t get my teeth Chicklet white. My default? Bright red lipstick. Take care of your gums. Do you remember what Julia Roberts got caught doing in Pretty Woman? She was flossing. Good job!
#8. Wear glasses, contacts and hearing aids if you need them: They don’t make you seem as old as you do when you can’t see or hear.
#9. Lift away flabby upper arms: They are caused by sarcopenia, loss of fat and elasticity. Before you put on that sleeveless blouse or tee shirt, do 25 or more upright rows and triceps curls. No weights? Use soup cans. Or do push-ups. You can do them on your knees if the full push-up is painful.
#10. Don’t sag: Here’s where the plastic surgery and filler industry racks up trillions. I have no objection to any of these, though as many celebrities have learned, there are good and bad plastic surgeons. For the inside story, listen to my interview with Dr. Gregory Wiener, celebrity plastic surgeon, on Botox, lipo, implants, derma planning and more.
For an immediate fix under $20, try a Frownie. These are sticky patches invented in 1884 that pull back the skin. So help me, they work. If you don’t have the patience to use them each day, just wear a headband, like the girls in Grease. It will pull back the facial skin and bring back memories.
Sagging is less of a biological and cultural problem for men than for women. Rats! But, if you are sag-sensitive, consider a man-bun or ponytail. Hair tightened in rubber band pulls up the sag. Got a man bun? send pictures for my radio photo archive.
#11. Wear a hat: The screen stars of the 1940s understood the importance of being seen in the right light. Since you can’t travel with a lighting director…women, wear a broad-brimmed hat, and men, a fedora for just the right amount of light and shadow. Wow. You look marvelous.
#12. Cream yourself and use sunscreen: Skin gets dry, itchy, acidic and inflamed, starting around age 50…not attractive. My mother, who had great skin into her 90s, gave me sage advice—”Moisturize.” She sought eternal beauty…so she used Revlon’s Eterna 27.
But there may be more to moistening the skin than just good looks. A pilot study published on March 5, 2019 in Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, showed that skin inflammation lets cytokine molecules loose in the bloodstream. Cytokines make us more prone to heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Subjects between the ages of 58 and 95 creamed their body twice a day for 30 days with a cream containing lipids, like cholesterol, free fatty acids and ceramides. The result was the reduction of three cytokines—interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha—to the levels of people in their 30s.
Full disclosure: The research for this study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and NeoPharm, the company that makes the over-the-counter cream.
This study reinforces the importance of my mother’s sage advice—Use sun protection and moisturize.
Bottom Line…glow from the inside and you will look better on the outside. Good nutrition, exercise and joyful living all contribute to good looks.
Your skin is the BIGGEST organ in your body. Just like your heart and lungs, your skin will be healthier longer if you start taking care of it early. Like the brain, skin is regenerative. Even after neglect, you can glow if you start to care for yourself now.
The pep in your step, your self-confidence and the beautiful energy that comes from doing what you love all show on your face and in your demeanor. Channel my mother every time you feel you don’t have time for yourself—she would say, “Go ahead…you deserve it.”