We’re all familiar with that old adage, “prevention is the best medicine.” It’s much easier (and more cost-effective) to prevent an illness than it is to treat one. Most people know that diet and exercise can help avoid ailments like heart disease, but many don’t realize that taking a proactive approach is also critical to looking younger longer. Thanks to advancements in cosmetic surgery, women in their 50’s are feeling more confident in their appearance than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you should rely on surgery alone.
Because I’m a facial plastic surgeon, many of my patients are surprised to find that I wholeheartedly endorse preventative medicine. Although I practice facial rejuvenation, my ultimate goal is to help people look and feel their best. I regularly recommend the following tips to my patients to help them adapt a healthier lifestyle.
This is tough to do here in Florida, but it’s the single most important step you can take to ensure the health and beauty of your skin. Sunburns can lead to skin cancer as well as premature aging via the loss of elastin and collagen. These proteins provide thickness and resilience to the skin, both of which are an important part of maintaining a youthful appearance.
When staying out of the sun isn’t possible, be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours or less. In my interview with WFLA, I recommend using sunscreen lotion over sprays. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. This degree of coverage allows you to enjoy the wonderful outdoor activities that are a huge part of living in Tampa Bay while avoiding the sun’s damaging rays. Check out our blog post about the difference between chemical and physical sunblock to learn which one is better for you.
Proper hydration is critical in Florida’s hot and humid climate, especially during the summertime. If you don’t drink enough water, dehydration can occur which takes a toll on your skin. The outer layers become parched and dry like a microscopic desert, causing flaking and cracking. In severe cases, dehydration can also lead to headaches, muscle cramps and even fainting.
So how can you stay hydrated while enjoying your favorite summer activities? I’m sorry to inform my lifelong boating companions that beer is not a source of hydration. Instead, I recommend loading up on water with electrolytes. Recommendations for daily water intake vary based on gender, weight and level of physical activity. But if you plan to be outside and active during the hottest months of year, make an effort to consume extra water.
Antioxidants help reduce aging because they absorb free radicals, which are the products of cell damage, metabolism and environmental injury. Free radicals speed the aging process by causing damage and destruction to the cell wall, DNA and the mitochondria. Antioxidants bond with free radicals, allowing your body to remove them and reduce the damage they may cause.
There are many different types of antioxidants, and it can be difficult to know which ones to incorporate into your diet or skincare routines. The ones that I have personally found most effective in reducing inflammation include vitamin C (ingested and topical), resveratrol (ingested) and turmeric (ingested). Try them, and I believe you will feel the difference.
To look and feel your best for as long as possible, incorporate movement into every day. Exercise helps strengthen your heart, increases mental function and can even reduce the body inflammation that comes with aging. Walk, swim, jog, run, cycle, dance, circuit train, hit the elliptical or hop on the treadmill—your activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, just do something.
Resistance work should also be included (using weights or bands), as bones need to be stressed to remain strong. This is especially important for women; the risk for osteoporosis and osteopenia increases with age.
What you put into your body is precisely what you get out of it. To fire up your metabolism and fight aging, you need to eat non-inflammatory, complex foods that contain essential proteins, vitamins and minerals. Generally, with the exception of meat, the darker the food, the better it is for you.
When it comes to starches, choose sweet potatoes over potatoes, wild rice over bleached rice and whole or sprouted grain bread over white bread. For vegetables, opt for leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for darker fruits. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are the healthiest. As a Floridian, it pains me to say this—but citrus fruits are highly inflammatory. They contain a high level of sugar, so it’s important to moderate them with small portions.
Alcohol should also be consumed sparingly due to the high level of carbohydrates and empty calories. However, you don’t have to write it off entirely. Red wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol. So every now and then, it’s worthwhile to slow down, have a glass and relax.
While plastic surgeons are always learning new ways to enhance people’s appearances at events like the International Symposium of Facial Plastic Surgery, anyone can apply these four simple steps to their everyday routine, allowing you to look and feel your best while achieving younger looking skin. For more anti-aging tips, skincare advice and special offer, subscribe to our mailing list.