Look Good Without Cosmetic SurgeryThe other day I was walking the dog with my aunt when one of my friends passed by. He waved and went on but called later to ask, "So who is this gorgeous new friend of yours you have been hiding?" I laughed and explained, of course, but I was secretly proud that my aunt of forty-six with two teenage girls still looks young enough to be mistaken for a friend. Which led me to speculate whether fifteen years from now I would be mistaken for one of my niece's friends.
I did a spot of research of my own, and soon understood that the answer would be a big NO, if I stuck to all aspects of my present lifestyle. Here is what I found from my aunt, my dermatologist, physician and stylish friends in the know: I would divide it into checkpoints for the body, the skin, the mind and appearance.
FOR YOUR BODY
Looking young has a lot to do with a body that functions like it does not have the weight of many years upon it. A healthy lifestyle goes a long a way in assuring a younger body.
Exercise is indispensable: Nothing fights cellulite like exercise, so this one is a no-brainer. Besides, it gets the good old circulation going, and is generally very good for health. Consult a trainer who can train you into a regimen that best suits your needs and body type. If you do not have time to hit the gym, invest in exercise equipments at home. Being lumpy and saggy is not only unattractive, it also adds years to your look. Besides, exercise lets you sweat out your toxins and stress, which are the biggest aging factors.
Maintain an anti-aging diet: A diet rich in anti-oxidants will make you younger; a diet rich in fats, cholesterols and sugars will make you old before your time. Learn to love fresh, boiled or grilled vegetables, white meat, green tea, and fruits. Add a glass of rich red wine each day to your diet plan to pack in an enjoyable dose of anti-oxidants. Resist binging on fried stuff and sweet delicacies, they have toxins which will build up over the years and age you. Remember, organic food without chemicals is your best bet.
Occasional indulgence instead of a regularly indulgent lifestyle is the norm. Drink lots of water, anything below eight glasses a day and you are not flushing out the toxins from your body. They will build up over time and hasten the aging process.
Take care of your teeth: Regular visits to the dentist, and a strong tooth care routine gives you a great natural smile for that much longer. My physician tells me that teeth problems have been linked to diabetes and even heart disease, and you sure don't want to get these aging diseases because of a mere tooth problem. Healthy teeth means a healthy body, a great smile, and a longer youth. Smiles make you look younger anyway.
FOR YOUR SKIN
To look younger for longer, you need excellent skin. A skin that does not show the years is supple and well cared for. If it is radiant and blemish-free, it reduces your age by years. Following a few do's and don'ts can go a long way to ensure a gorgeous skin.
Exercise your face, too: One of the secrets to a young-looking face is well-toned facial muscles. Here are some simple exercises my dermatologist taught me that can be done at any time during the day. All of them are to be repeated at least five times, and held in position for approximately ten seconds. Fill air into your mouth to the point of bursting, then stay in position and release. Raise your eyebrows as far as you can, then stay in position and release. Shut your eyes tight till they almost hurt, then stay in position and release. Grin to the maximum extent possible, then stay in position and release.
Moisturize and use sunscreens: As we age, our skin loses essential moisture making it go all wrinkly. The same happens with over-exposure to sun. Find moisturizers according to skin type and become a regular devotee. Organic is best of course. If outside, apply sunscreen of SPF 50 every two hours. Pay special attention to your neck, throat, hands and feet. These are often ignored, but are in fact the surest indicators of age.
Sleep brings youth: Sleeping beauty is actually not just a fictional beauty. Sleep is a fountain of youth, because while we sleep our body works to repair itself. So sleeping eight hours a day lifelong will keep your body recharged. Find the best mattress and pillows possible to help you get that deep, healthy sleep. Sleep less and you are looking for bad skin, tired eyes, dark circles, and lethargy. All of these make you look older than you are.
FOR YOUR MIND
It is often said that you are as young as you feel. Keeping a positive and happy attitude towards life maintains your mind in good shape, and makes you feel younger.
Smile and laugh: Smile and laugh as much possible, smiley people have younger faces for longer. Everyone knows laugh wrinkles are attractive.
De-stress: Stress is perhaps the biggest modern aging factor. De-stress by taking breaks, spending time with family or friends, or picking up a hobby; whatever works for you. If you can get ahead of stress, half the anti-aging battle is already won. Smoking or over-drinking to beat stress is a big no-no, however. They age you faster than stress itself. Visit a spa or wellness destination at least once every two months.
Learn new things, keep young friends: Always keep your brain active: learn a new language, develop a new hobby or train for new skills. Learning new things keeps your attitude young and your mind agile. This is very important to keep you looking young. People who have a bunch of friends much younger than them tend to have a younger outlook and appearance too.
Seek spiritual nourishment: Though not for everyone, nurturing one's spiritual side can enhance youth. If there is a positive spiritual explanation you believe in, it helps you deal with life's adversities. Adversities can be the enemy of youth, and having a good philosophical approach towards them calms one's mind. It also extends youthfulness.
FOR YOUR APPEARANCE
It is just not enough to have a youthful body, skin, and mind. To look younger you need to have a youthful appearance as well. Your appearance is the biggest part of your personality and it is important to keep it looking young.
Dress well and get the right hairstyle: Dressing according to body type could drastically reduce age, sometimes by six to ten years. Fashion is not just about trends, it is also about finding clothing to complement your body. Get good advice on what works for you, and wear colors that suit your complexion. That, and the correct hairstyle, could take years off your body and face.
Use make-up, lighting, fragrance: I know that sounds like cheating, but a little help from the goddess of beauty is always welcome. Judicious use of make-up can reduce age by two to three years. What is more, it adds sophistication. Avoid being seen in extra harsh lights though, dim lights are kinder for a younger appearance. I might add that research shows using a more vibrant fragrance affects people's perception of your age. An uplifting fragrance makes you seem younger.
But most importantly, begin young. A body used to exercise, a healthy lifestyle, enough sleep, and a good skin-care regimen would age much slower. Never overdo on any of the aspects: slow and consistent is effective. However, it is never too late to begin. So pick up this checklist and begin ticking away to look younger without going under the knife!
By Damyanti Ghosh