Beautiful, Youthful Skin

I promised! So here goes one of our best kept secrets for skin care and beautiful, youthful skin.

To begin, a little quiz. What is the first thing people notice about a woman?

a. Clothes
b. Hair
c. Figure
d. Facial Features
e. Complexion

A fashion magazine performed a poll to determine the answer to this question and the result is e. complexion. I don't know about you, but I got the answer wrong. At first, I was surprised, but the more I thought about it the more it rang true. Our skin is an organ and the first line of defense against disease. It needs to be treated with care and consideration. It holds us together, literally. Okay, now I'm being dramatic, but you get the picture. I posted a picture of myself, no touch up, natural lighting, and I can honestly say my Mom has about as many wrinkles as I do. I will post a recent pic of her next week. I will coerce her into letting me do a photoshoot.

So I asked my Mom years ago, "Mom, what is your secret? You don't have wrinkles!"

And as you can imagine there is more than one answer. I will list, but not necessarily in order of importance.

1. Don't eat a low-fat or non-fat diet. You probably think I'm joking, but I'm not. This is one of the worst things you could do for your lovely skin. And if you don't believe me and my beautiful Mom then believe the preeminent, Dr. Perricone--Dermatologist to the stars and Oprah Winfrey's skin guru. I've read many of his books and I agree with everything. Essentially, if you eat a non-fat or low-fat diet for a long period of time, you will look like something that stepped out of the grave. It really can be frightening. Look at women you know who repel fat in their diet and take a close look at their skin. They're probably more wrinkled than your Great Grandma. I know this is true of the women I know who have subscribed to a low fat diet over the years. Their skin is far from youthful I can assure you. The answer is to eat good fats. Good fats include all nuts, avocados, olive, canola, safflower, sunflower oils, and sunflower seeds. We all need a little good fat every day in our diet. Use good oil on your salad. Add avocado to your turkey sandwhich on whole grain bread. Snack on sunflower seeds instead of partially hydrogenated buttered popcorn. Your skin will thank you in kind.

2. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! This is a beauty secret of many a women who have beautiful complexions. It is especially important to those of us who live in dry climate. We have a double hurdle. Utah is the driest state in the Union. I thought it would have to be Arizona or New Mexico, but no. It is Utah. Go to San Diego and your skin will be moist and supple much more naturally. And the bad news is those who live in dry climates will age 10 years quicker than those who don't. So we have to work extra hard. One of the best night creams is called DMAE cream. This little baby is touted by Dr. Perricone and Groovy Mom approved as well. My Mom and I have been lathering this on our skin for years. The other product secret is Petroleum Jelly. Yep. Cheap and readily available at any store. Dab this on throughout the day, but especially at night to seal in the DMAE cream. Now this little secret isn't documented, but has proven to be effective even for a supermodel who appeared on Oprah.

3. Use an antioxidant toner and moisturizer with sunscreeen for the day--preferably with vitamin C.
My Mom recently discovered Avalon Organics at the store. It smells of fresh peeled oranges and is hands down my favorite face cream. It is inexpensive and just plain delicious on your skin. But don't eat it! I helped my son with a science fair project one year in elementary school. He did the project on oxidation. We cut up two bananas. One banana was left to the open air on a plate un-altered. The other banana was also left open to the air on a plate, but was sprinkled with vitamin C tablets. In minutes, the un-altered banana was shriveled and brown. The vitamin C laden was still a beautiful, butter-yellow, plump banana. It made a very strong impression on me. Not only is this moisturizer full of antioxidants, namely vitamin C, but also contains a sunscreen. Sunscreens are naturally drying to the skin, but are essential. Three times a week, use an exfoliant cleanser to sluff off dead, dry skin. Men shave their face which acts to exfoliate their skin everyday. Oft times men are less wrinkled than their female counterparts.

4. Always use sunscreen. I can not emphasize this enough. People who tan break down the collagen in their skin and lose elasticity. Sun is very damaging to the skin. Apply sunscreen every morning regardless of whether you plan to be in the sun that day or not. Majority of sun damage is incidental--through the windshield in your car, walking to and from stores, etc. If you were a tanner in your youth, sun damage will show in your 30's, 40's, and beyond. Sun damage is accumalative over time. If you accrued a bad sun burn as a child, the effects of it will be seen in your adulthood--sad, but true. Protect your skin. Protect your health. UVA and UVB rays are not your skin's friend--too much and you are at increased risk for skin cancer.  Wear a sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF--sun protection factor. This may be in your moisturizer or separate. If your sunscreen is separate from your moisturizer, apply the sunscreen first, or you render it uneffective. Wear face make-up. Women who consitstly wear foundation, have much nicer skin than women who go El Natural.

5. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from damaging UVA and UVB rays, but also the skin around your eyes where we tend to get crows feet. This is typically not a tough thing to subscribe since sunglasses are so very chic, stylish, and hip. Sunglasses are a fashion statement. So don a pair of your favorite shades not only for the poolside or ski slopes, but every day as you drive in a car, go for a walk, go to the store.

6. Drink 8 glasses of water every day. Our body needs water for proper cellular function, weight loss, and beautiful skin. Water ensures that our skin will be hydrated and supple. The body is comprised of  60% water. We need about a gallon of water every day. Many ailments would be improved if we were more properly hydrated. Drinking water is one of the simplest, cheapest ways to enhance and help the quality of your skin. Water helps flush our bodies of toxins and waste. We can not go three days without water. Our kidneys would shut down and we would parish. Fill your water bottle. Keep a quart jar in the refrigerator filled with chilled water. Squeeze a little lemon or lime into your water for a little extra refreshment. Water is essential to life and the life of your skin. Drink up!

7. Eat an antioxidant diet. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat salmon, tuna, walnuts, almonds, flax seed oil, canola oil, and avocados to get your daily supply of Omega-3 oils. If you want a 3 day face lift, Dr. Perricone suggests you feast on Salmon, broccolli, and blueberries for three consecutive days. To find a complete guide to Dr.Perricone's 3 day face lift diet--the diet the stars follow before walking down the red carpet go here. Dr. Perricone is one of the leading experts in skin care.

8. Aerobically exercise 30 minutes a day. Do you want to know a beauty secret of pageant queens? Many of them exercise moderate to vigorously the morning of a pageant. They know that the increased circulation and oxygenation to the skin will give them the healthy glow that no make up artist can. My Mom and I used to train and run marathons. After a long run, we would always notice how radiant our skin was especially after we cooled down, showered, and applied our make up. We could not achieve the effect any other way. Of course, we were drinking our water, wearing sun screen and sunglasses, and eating a relatively healthy diet as well.

9. Sleep on silky satin or silk pillow cases. This is one of my Mom's quirky suggestions, but it seems to make a big difference especially as she ages. My Mom's mother was a beautiful seamstress who made all their pillow cases out of satin or silk. When my Mom established her own homestead, she used store bought cotton. Then one morning she woke up to creases in her cheeks and skin and let out a yelp. She blamed the pillow cases and replaced them with store bought silky satin ones. Now she wakes up with little to no extra, unwanted creases in her skin. I too have adopted this little tip and you know what she is right. "Mother knows best."

10. Grow old gracefully. Pass on botox, collagen injections, restylane, etc. Forget surgical face lifts. Some of these gals end up looking like monsters with frozen faces and expressions not to mention the risks involved. Poor Priscilla Presley now has lumpy skin due to faulty collagen injections. I had a patient in her mid 80's who looked so strange I couldn't quite put a finger on it until I realized she had a face lift. Her cheeks were pulled so tight they were smooth, but it didn't match her forhead or eyes which were still laced with age related wrinkles. She looked odd--off. She was otherwise attractive. I really believe if she would have left well enough alone, she would have looked a lot better and more natural. There is a certain amount of aging that no one is able to stop no matter how hard we try. Smile. It increases your face value. Live large. Be happy and gracious and it will show in your face. Laugh lines are more than acceptable.