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Are you making yourself look older?

September 16, 2013

You probably are. No, I don’t mean to be rude and I’m not here to tell you to check your teeth for lipstick, but we’ve all got bad habits. Well, they age us. Simple as that. Because we’re friends and I love you, I’ll call you out on those habits, ok?

Ok! Let’s get started. We’ll run through this quick. Just rip it off like a bandaid.

What’s making you look older.

Skin “ages” not just because some arbitrary time on the clock has ticked by, but because of the things you do to it, over time. Yes, biological ageing does affect the body’s ability to maintain youthful looking skin, but so do bad habits….and probably more so than the “ravages” of time. Skin health, like the health of any other organ, is a factor of lifestyle choices. With poor choices, the skin loses its ability to behave like healthy, undamaged skin, because it’s structure (collagen) has been, essentially, broken and disorganized and no longer functions as it should.


I’m not even getting into this. Smoking is a filthy habit. Not only does it clog your pores but it stops your skin from producing collagen, vital to keep skin from wrinkling and sagging. Just. Stop. It.

Right. Moving on.

Sun exposure.

It has been known for over 100 years that the sun destroys the skin’s ability to function optimally. 100 years! Impressive, no? I know, it’s easy to forget sunscreen. Just wear it on most  days, or at least on days when you’re outside most of the day. That’s better than never at all. I won’t judge.

Bad diet.

Did you know that a more alkaline body chemistry reduces skin sugar levels and prevents both skin dehydration and signs of early aging? So how do you make the internal body more alkaline: Eat more fruits and vegetables!

Poor dietary choices causes inflammation in the body, which as you have probably guessed, shows up on your skin like a little road map. Michael Pollan said it best in In Defence of Food “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

That’s pretty much the best summary for a healthy diet I have ever heard. Simple. Effective.


Hello, cortisol. Hello, fight or flight instinct. It’s killing you. Deep breath! Step away from any and all screens and observe a fluffy cloud. See the nice cloud? That tree rocking gently in the wind? That bird building it’s nest? The squirrel foraging in your trash? Perspective. Life goes on outside of our inner dramas and crisis. This too shall pass, and all that. Take a walk, meditate. Don’t kill yourself over getting dinner on the table on time or fulfilling ALL the orders, answering ALL the emails, making ALL the oily experiments, smell ALL the essential oils, change the diaper, breastfeed, diaper, breastfeed, soothe grumpy baby, sing to happy baby…oops, that’s my inner loop.

Still aren’t convinced less stress means younger-looking skin? Practising meditation using a mantra (or a specific focus of cognition) boosts serotonin and melatonin levels, both of which are crucial for healthy collagen and skin barrier function!

So what can you do?

Obviously, you can start by doing the opposite of everything above: Don’t smoke. Eat lots of nice plants. Try not to stress so much. Cover up in the sun.

That’s a great start!

** Actually! Stress might not be SO bad for use, as long as we believe that it isn’t killing us…watch this TED talk to learn more.