Go the way of fine wine with these tips and tricks.
The search for anti-aging strategies and solutions is as old as human civilization itself. Throughout history, us humans have chased the proverbial Fountain of Youth. We’ve gone to extreme lengths to uncover the secrets to looking young, bright and beautiful forever. While science isn’t likely to lead us to immortality any time soon, the progression of research and technology has brought us a long way towards a better understanding of how to live healthy, happy, long lives.
So how did our forefathers and foremothers chase the dream of eternal youth? How has modern science helped us look as young as we feel inside? And how might future breakthroughs give us more effective and optimized methods for anti-aging?
Let’s start from the beginning – or as close to it as historians can get us, that is.
One of the first, most successful, and longest lasting human civilizations of all time, the ancient Egyptians, were not just pioneers in written language, architecture and mummification – they also invented their own anti-aging tricks.
One common anti-aging agent was fenugreek, an herb commonly found in the Mediterranean region, as well as parts of China and India. The Egyptians processed fenugreek in a lengthy and complicated ritual involving drying, threshing, winnowing, boiling and more to produce an oil that was then applied to the skin to keep it looking soft, bright and youthful for years to come.
There may also be some modern science to back up this ancient anti-aging trick: As a powerful antioxidant, fenugreek mitigates oxidative damage done to our tissues, thus abating the kind of inflammatory effects that can cause premature aging. So even if you don’t have time to produce fenugreek oil the way the ancient Egyptians did, you can help yourself by adding a bit of fenugreek to your next meal.
Fish oil, a potent antioxidative, may be another effective anti-inflammatory for fighting the signs of aging. Arlene Noodleman, MD, says, “Anti-inflammatories are the best anti-agers out there. From improving heart and immune functions to helping hair grow and skin look supple, they truly do wonders. I take three 500 milligram capsules of omega-3 fish oil in the morning and at night.”
Famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra went a step further than fenugreek – she bathed daily in donkey-milk baths to maintain her famous beauty. (Some historical texts claim this feat required a regular milking of over 700 donkeys to accomplish!)
That might sound a bit over the top, but as with the fenugreek anti-aging trick, there may be some science to this solution as well: milk’s alpha hydroxy acids possess anti-aging and skin-softening agents, the same natural chemical compounds found in modern day chemical peels and other anti-aging cosmetic products. Apparently Cleopatra was on to something.
While Cleopatra may have preferred donkey milk, it’s likely that her Roman lover Marc Antony preferred an even more surprising anti-aging method – crocodile dung. Public baths were filled with a mixture of earth and freshly-harvested crocodile feces. The same mixture which was also used to make anti-aging face masks.
In this case, modern science doesn’t have much to say on the medical benefits of crocodile dung as an anti-aging solution. (We can’t imagine there’s much funding for proper testing to be conducted.) But one of its medical uses did add genuine value for ancient Greeks and Romans: birth control. A mixture including dried crocodile feces was used as a diaphragm, apparently to successful outcomes. Let’s just be glad we live in an era of modern medical science.
Although Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back thousands of years, today’s Chinese citizens – and other devotees across the world – still swear by ancient anti-aging methods like pearl powder, facial massage and acupuncture.
Tang-dynasty ruler Wu Zetian, for example, believed in ruling firmly and fabulously. She maintained a lifelong dedication to her skincare routine. Her anti-aging solution of choice was Chinese motherwort, a common herb from the mint family. Every morning, she faithfully washed her face in cold water with a powder concocted from motherwort. Whether it was the genuine medicinal effects of the motherwort or just good genes, Wu Zetian remained a famed beauty well into her old age.
Modern anti-aging methods also make use of TCM precepts on pressure points and massage. According to Maya Kron, a New York-based acupuncturist, you can try your own Chinese-style massage at home to release tension in your face and boost your skin’s elasticity.
To target your eyes – around which the skin is especially sensitive and thin, showing signs of wrinkles and aging sooner than other parts of the face – try FOREO’s IRIS eye massager. Combine the wisdom of ancient Chinese medicinal massage with the wonders of modern science by using T-Sonic™ technology to reduce visible signs of aging and fatigue.
England’s Queen Elizabeth attempted to maintain a youthful, pearly white complexion by faithfully applying ceruse, a mixture of white lead and vinegar – the opposite of what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately (and completely unsurprisingly) this eventually lead to gray, shrivelled skin.
Meanwhile, up north, Elizabeth’s cousin and would-be rival for the throne Mary, Queen of Scots pursued a slightly safer attempt at anti-aging treatment. Mary’s regular white wine baths were not just a quirky hangover from her upbringing in France – she and many of her contemporaries believe that wine could improve your overall complexion, which may be true given wine’s antiseptic alcohol content. At the very least, we can say with confidence that it’s a better anti-aging method than lead face paint.
Victorian women actually upped the ante by applying highly toxic mercury to their faces. Although mercury was initially effective by getting rid of acne, wrinkles and scars, it only accomplished this by literally corroding the surface of the skin. Talk about a bad idea!
The modern era has given us many things to be grateful for – antibiotics, the internet and Ryan Gosling, just to name a few. Also among them are practical, safe and scientifically-tested means for fighting the signs of aging.
The ultimate secret to maintaining a youthful appearance is more fundamental and pragmatic than you may realize.
You don’t have to undertake an expensive and difficult juice cleanse to get the nutrition your body needs to function optimally, but you do need to make a concerted effort to eat less sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Ava Shamban, MD dermatologist says, “The number-one ingredient that I avoid in my diet is processed sugar. The reason: It speeds up the aging process by binding to and eventually weakening the collagen in your skin, which can lead to premature wrinkles and sagging. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits every day – and I steer clear of Twinkies at all costs!”
If you have trouble incorporating vegetables into your regular regimen, try downing a glass of green juice every morning. Experiment with a blend of spinach, celery, parsley, lemon, pears, and cucumber until you find a flavor combination you like.
Aside from your essential fruits and vegetables, other “superfoods” help fight the effects of aging as well. Dr. Macrene Alexiades, NYC-based dermatologist says, “A Mediterranean diet full of fish, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and tea provides the skin with the good omega fatty acids. This diet also has the antioxidants your skin needs to maintain a healthy glow and reverse sun damage.”
Dermatologist David Colbert, MD, also recommends:
Eating sensibly is key to maintaining a youthful glow. Wearing your vitamins will also protect against signs of aging. FOREO’s DAY CLEANSER is rich in vitamin C for those essential antioxidant and purifying properties that restore the skin’s radiance while toning and refreshing, and FOREO’s NIGHT CLEANSER contains hydrating almond oil to prepare your skin for your nightly routine of serum, moisturizers and eye cream. The addition of almond oil keeps your skin soothed and soft all night while you sleep.
Other natural topical anti-aging remedies to experiment with include:
It should come as no surprise that a good night’s sleep – every night – will keep you looking youthful and refreshed. But what about those of us who struggle with restless sleep or even insomnia?
Often our poor sleep quality is due to undue stress in our lives. Not all stress is bad, but the kind that keeps you up at night when you should be sleeping certainly is.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, keep this advice in mind. Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Skincare, says, “Whether it’s a facial, massage, or even a pedicure, be sure to pamper yourself. Your health and appearance are positively influenced by increasing your emotional and mental well-being. A visit to the spa is a foolproof way to promote stress relief and relaxation.”
A little me-time is not just an indulgence – it’s necessary for your mental, and thereby physical well-being.
If you don’t have the time or money to splurge for the spa, recreate the experience at home. Before bed, after cleansing with your LUNA™ or LUNA™ mini, try these tricks for relaxing and rejuvenating tired or dull skin and helping you drift off to a sound sleep.
A sleep-tracking app may also help you remedy whatever is interrupting your good night’s sleep. Test one out for a two-week period to see the difference it can make in the quality of your slumber.
The final trick in the anti-aging trifecta will also help improve your sleep.
Almost no practical advice has the potential to improve as many assets of your well-being – youthful appearance or otherwise – as does exercise.
Activities like running, walking, swimming and cycling improve your cardiovascular health and keep your heart healthy and strong for years to come. Getting your heart rate up regularly also brings regular blood flow to the surface of your skin for a healthy, youthful glow. Lifting, weight-training and bodyweight resistance exercises build strength for longevity as well as a healthy musculoskeletal system into old age. HIIT workouts are quick and give you a combination of the endurance and strength work you need from a fitness regimen.
It’s not easy to adopt a regular exercise routine, but it’s necessary for maintaining a youthful appearance, sleeping better at night, having more energy during your days and living a longer, happier and healthier life.
First thing’s first: fundamental to any anti-aging makeup routine is moisturizing. Apply moisturizer twice daily to your face and neck – once in the morning with an SPF of at least 15 (yes, even in the winter), and again at night with a heavier moisturizer for recovery while you sleep. (Make sure to sleep on your back to avoid rubbing your face in your pillow!)
Don’t neglect your eyelashes, either. Apply moisturizer to your eyelashes so they don’t grow brittle or fall out – just be careful not to get any moisturizer in your eyes.
Your hands also need regular moisturizing. Not only is the skin on your hands prone to drying and cracking, especially during the chilly winter months, but also the relatively thin skin on your hands tends to show signs of aging earlier than other parts of your body. (Classic beauty Grace Kelly famously applied moisturizer to her hands religiously for just this reason.)
Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physician’s Formula, claims, “I’ve stopped using foundation every day, because it settles into wrinkles and makes them more noticeable. I start with a concealer just where I need it (under-eye area, blemishes, etc.) and follow it with an allover application of tinted moisturizer.” Try it for yourself – the difference is night and day.
Avoid dull skin and hair and achieve a youthful glow with some easy makeup magic:
Speaking of bright, don’t neglect good oral health practices. If you can maintain healthy gums and a white smile as you age, not only does it help you maintain a more youthful appearance, but also it enhances your overall health – regular flossing, for example, protects against heart disease.
Good oral health – and the youthful appearance it gives you – is easy to maintain with a few easy steps:
Regular and consistent face washing routines are the not-so-secret key to maintaining healthy and young skin long into your old age. While your mother might have taught you to cleanse with soap and warm water, it’s the 21st century – time to update your routine with skincare of the future that unites pragmatic cleansing with advanced technology. FOREO’s LUNA and CLEANSER range for practical skincare that provides the benefits of gentle silicone bristles with powerful deep-cleansing T-Sonic™ pulsations. The LUNA™’s reverse side offers an added anti-aging benefit: after you’re done cleansing, turn it around, set the pulsations to a gentler setting and apply the concentric circles to your under eyes for an anti-aging massage.
While many are willing to pursue plastic surgery or less invasive treatments like Botox, for those of us looking for simpler or more affordable options, topical retinoids provide proven anti-aging benefits. In fact, according to scientific research, compared with other anti-aging agents, retinoids are among the most promising treatments available for anti-aging. As NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad says, “Topical retinoids have been shown to improve the skin’s texture and the appearance of fine lines, so for women looking for potent anti-agers, retinol is the one must-have ingredient to help keep skin young.”
The search for new pioneering anti-aging methods will not slow down any time soon. Some will leave us scratching our heads wondering, “What will they think up next?” Is cryotherapy one of those or the next big thing in anti-aging?
Some initial studies have supported what athletes, coaches and sports doctors have known all along – exposure to cold helps prevent against injury and heal soft tissue injuries. Does whole-body cryotherapy go a step further to maintain youthful, firm skin? The truth is that there are simply not enough studies yet to confirm or deny whether the surging popularity of cryotherapy clinics is justified. Only time – and further funding for formal scientific studies – will tell.
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.