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Try Meditation for Beautiful Skin

Calm and peaceful woman meditating at home

Beauty gurus are throwing around the latest creams and beauty treatments. Nutritionists are shoving in our faces the latest diets and super foods, to guarantee long and healthy lives. Fitness gurus are coming up with fitness routines meant to strengthen our bodies.  While having a balanced diet, active lifestyle and appropriate skincare routine can help us achieve our skincare goals, there is one thing missing.

With the current state of the world becoming more and more stressful and making us more prone to anxiety, we are looking for ways to make our bodies, minds, and souls healthier. The stress is taking its toll on our physical and mental health, and we are looking for a break to recharge.

Taking care of our minds and souls, taking care of our emotional health is becoming crucial in feeling and looking good, inside and outside. And one way to do that is by incorporating meditation.

But what is meditation exactly?

Meditation and Its Benefits

It is impossible to control everything in our lives, but what control is the way we react to them. According to Buddhism, that is the way to go and meditation is one practice that helps transform the mind. By improving clarity, concentration and calmness, we are able to achieve mindfulness and change our perspective on life.

Meditation is a set of techniques meant to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focus. Meditation is a thousand-year-old practice and has been used worldwide as a religious practice, but many people are practicing it now independent of any religion. By practicing meditation, one can achieve a deep state of peace, calmness, and awareness.

Infographic on the benefits of meditation

It is proven that meditation can not only improve mental and emotional health but also physical health:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves emotional health
  • Improves self-awareness
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Reduces memory loss
  • Makes us more kind
  • May help against addiction
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps with pain management
  • May decrease blood pressure

It’s evident that the various ways that meditation can improve not only our general well being but also our close environment. By being calmer, less anxious and kinder, we are improving the relationships with those around us.

One may feel that meditation means concentration and requires mental effort. To a certain extent, meditation practice does require these, but in a different way. Meditation does not require to concentrate on a particular object or idea for a long time – keep reading to find out what type of concentration is needed during meditation practice. Meditation is not simply an exercise. By having the correct posture and breathing does not mean you are meditating. And lastly, meditation does not require mental effort – but rather introspection. Meditation is basically an effortless activity.

Types of Meditation

If you are a beginner, all the types of meditation and how you can best get started may confuse you. Before delving into how you can meditate, let’s have a look at the 4 main types of meditation.

  • Mindfulness meditation – Mindfulness refers to paying attention to what is happening right here and right now. For example, you can focus on your breath, the feelings in your body, or you can listen to relaxing music.
  • Mantra meditation – A mantra can be a sound, a word or a phrase that you repeat it in order to bring your mind and body to a deep state of rest.
  • Energizing meditation – In energizing meditation, breath is manipulated in order to do certain body movements. If you are looking for a boost of energy in the morning or during the afternoon, this is the way to go!
  • Compassion meditation – As the name says, compassion meditation focuses on being kind and loving. Focus on loving yourself as well as showing love and kind ness to the others. This helps improve self-love, as well as empathy.

How to Meditate

One of the best parts of meditation is that you can do it anywhere. A meditation session can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, all depending on your needs. If you are a beginner, this basic exercise will help you get started and see immediate benefits to your mood.

  1. Sit/lie comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Do not focus on breathing – rather, simply breathe normally
  4. Now focus on your breathing and how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation
  5. Notice how your body moves – from your nose, shoulders, to your chest, ribcage, and stomach.
  6. Do not change the way you breathe during this exercise – just simply focus your attention on the way it naturally happens
  7. It’s ok for your mind to stray away – as soon as you notice, make sure to focus back on your breath

This is a simple meditation exercise that you can start with. You can practice with 5 minutes to start with, and then take it from there, for longer periods of time. If you are in need of some help, there are some very popular smartphone apps that can guide you through meditation sessions of various lengths.

Looking for a more energizing meditation? Maybe you do not like to drink coffee in the morning, but you are looking for a way to wake up faster? Or you are in that afternoon slump and are looking for a pick-me-up? While it’s so tempting to go for a shot of espresso or a can of energy drink, think of the effects they have on your body. And then give energizing meditation a try.

You do not need a lot of time – even 30 seconds are enough.

  1. Sit with your back straight. Put your feet flat on the ground (if you are sitting on a chair) or in lotus-style post.
  2. Hold out your right hand, with your thumb and finger in a “V” shape
  3. As fast as possible, block youth right nostril with your thumb and exhale out of your left nostril
  4. Switch to block your left nostril with your finger and exhale from your right nostril
  5. Inhaling comes naturally, so keep your focus on exhaling.
  6. Every other second switch from one nostril to another.
  7. Keep doing this for 30 seconds or even a minute.

Woman pinching her nose while meditating outdoors, near a lake

The Benefits of Meditation for the Mind and Soul

No doubt that meditation is an amazing tool and more people should incorporate it in their lives. Just as we are focusing on doing our daily run, or getting the right intake of greens and water, we should focus on our spiritual side. We should focus also on what we are feeding our mind and soul. Are we taking care of ourselves inside and outside?

Meditation is so powerful not only because of its benefits, but because it’s free, can be done anywhere and for any amount of time. As long as it’s done with meaningfulness and consistently, just like any other healthy habit in our lives.

Anxiety and stress start out in our minds but can lead to many physical problems, such as illnesses, burnout, and shortening our life span. By having a daily meditation routine, one is becoming calmer, pushing anxiety away. The simple act of focusing on our breathing can instantly calm our entire body. Starting your day with a 5-minute meditation session sets out the tone of the day. A day where you are a better version of your self, more rational, more calm, less irritable, kinds to the others and more empathetic.

In the midst of our stressful daily lives, between jobs and side hustle, families and bills to pay, meditation is an escape. Do you know how you are going away on an exotic island to take a break from work and recharge our bodies? Well, meditation can do the same to your mind. Your mind can break away from reality for a while and let your thoughts go to a peaceful place and time. Let your mind be on a vacation, far away. This is an opportunity to leave behind the painful thoughts, the emotional labor of daily life and let yourself recharge.

Woman meditating at work to de-stress

Those 5 minutes that you dedicate to meditation can be crucial in helping you deal with life. By reducing stress and anxiety, meditation helps you be more focused on what is actually happening. By being less stressed, you are able to come up with clear solutions to your problems.

The Benefits of Meditation for the Skin

We have already seen previously that meditation has so many benefits. One of the most amazing ones is how it reduced stress and anxiety and improves self-awareness and emotional health. But have you ever wondered about the physical benefits meditation can have?

Stress is wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds, stealing our joy and youth. And that quite literally. Stress can cause premature aging of the body, and its impact on the skin is the same – it can induce breakouts, tire the skin, and even lead to wrinkles. When you are stressed out, your body produces the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol blocks the supply of oxygenated blood to the skin, meaning that stress literally damages the skin, by dehydrating it and making it more sensitive. And this can lead to wrinkles, breakouts, irritations, and inflammations.

Now, meditation is being more and more embraced worldwide as a holistic approach to well being. Meditation can save the day and give back our health. And we may even say that it can play a major role in saving and improving our skin too. Because skin care is part of health care.

There is actual scientific proof that meditation helps with skin care. This study from the University of Sheffield shows how meditation truly helps. Researchers compared two groups of people suffering from psoriasis. One has used meditation regularly and one has not.  This study showed that the group of psoriasis sufferers who used meditation healed four times faster than those who did not use meditation. On top of this, meditation also improved depression, quality of life and reduced skin shame. If this is not proof that meditation works, I don’t know what is!

By meditating just a few minutes per day you will be able to increase the oxygen delivered to your brain. More oxygen means rejuvenated skin, and cell and tissue repair. Plus, all the energy brought by the meditation practice will give you an extra glow inside out. As meditation also improves your blood pressure and sleep, you will be able to be more rested – and this, in turn, is having beneficial effects on the skin!

The environment around us today is not doing our health and skins any good. We are buying the latest creams for our skin, to repair the damage that comes from inside and outside. We are desperate for quick fixes but it all ends up the wrong way. In this day and age, there is one cure that can dramatically improve our lives and our health. And that is to start from the inside, from our souls and minds. Having an internal balance and good emotional health shows and have a real effect on our physical health, not only on our minds and attitudes.

So many of those who care for their skin are seen as superficial narcissistic by doing so. But our skin is the biggest organ and should require most of our attention. On top of having a rigorous skincare routine and chugging your 2l of daily water intake, how about some meditation? Why should we not do the best we can for our skin? Why not try to incorporate even 5 minutes in our lives for meditation? Such a small effort, done consistently, will become a habit from which we will reap immense rewards.

So, are you going to give meditation a try?

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8 Surprising Everyday Causes of Skin Trauma

Woman checking her skin in the bathroom mirror

In order for your skin to stay healthy, and to look its very best, you need to keep it as safe and protected as possible.

It doesn’t help that there are so many surprising ways in which your skin experiences trauma each and every day. In fact, much of the time, you probably won’t even realize it until it is too late.

Here are eight everyday causes of skin trauma that you should be aware of, along with a few tips on how you can protect your skin from each one.

Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating is a must when it comes to healthy skin, but this is something that you do still need to be a little restrictive about.

There is no denying that the skin always tends to feel so clean, fresh and re-energized after it has been exfoliated. This can often make it tempting to exfoliate more than you should.

However, over-exfoliating can lead to some serious skin damage…

The outer layer of your skin is so important. It protects your skin from environmental harm and enables it to properly retain moisture.

Over-exfoliating soon causes damage to this important outer layer, preventing this natural barrier from doing its job.

How do you know if you have been over-exfoliating?

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Redness
  • Tightness
  • Dry patches
  • Skin irritation
  • Flakiness
  • A stinging or burning sensation

If you are experiencing those symptoms, stop exfoliating immediately. Once your skin heals, you can start this back up again, so long as you reduce the frequency of your exfoliation sessions.

It isn’t just exfoliating too frequently that can cause this…

Exfoliating aggressively can have the same effect. If you scrub hard at your skin while exfoliating, this is something you should stop doing immediately. A quality physical exfoliant should contain just the right amount of abrasive particles to slough off those dead skin cells, without you needing to apply too much pressure.

Sun Exposure

Okay, so sun exposure may not exactly be a surprising cause of skin trauma.

After all, everybody knows that the sun’s UV rays can lead to cancer!

However, there are so many other ways in which sun exposure can damage your skin…

The main one that people are concerned about is accelerated aging. UV rays can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and dark spots so much faster than you would have otherwise experienced them. In fact, experts believe that up to 90% of skin aging is caused by exposure to the sun. 

Not only that, but spending time in the sun without any sunglasses on will soon have you squinting. This repeated facial expression will quickly lead to crow’s feet and frown lines on your face.

This is why sun protection is a must at all times, even on cloudy days. The sun’s rays can penetrate through thick cloud, as well as glass, meaning that you are never really safe.

In addition to wearing a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen each day, you should also take a few extra measures to protect your skin from the sun. Invest in a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses, along with a wide-brimmed sun hat.

Staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day (usually between 11am and 3pm, although this does depend on where you live) can also make a big difference. 

Times of UV rays illustration

You can also multitask your skincare by choosing a moisturizer with SPF protection. The 24K Bio-Brightening Skin Tone Moisturizer SPF 30 is a good example, which helps to protect skin from moisture loss as well as harmful UV rays.

Pollution

Even if you live in an extremely rural area, you are still going to be faced with some pollution. For those who live in populated places, pollution can really play havoc on your skin.

What does pollution actually do to the skin?

Air pollution consists of a huge variety of toxic particles and free radicals. These are literally tiny, sometimes being up to 20 times smaller than the size of your pore openings, meaning that they can very easily make their way into your skin.

What do they do once they’re in your skin?

They cause inflammation, dehydration, and serious damage to your skin cells. This results in a loss of smoothness, firmness and elasticity, with the pollution damaging the collagen and elastin that are holding your skin up. 

You probably want to know how you can protect your skin from pollution…

There are a few steps that you should take:

  • Cleansing every evening – this will ensure that any pollution particles that have settled on your skin over the course of the day are cleared away, before they have the chance to delve deep into your pores
  • Make use of antioxidants – of course, you can’t completely prevent pollution particles from entering your skin, so what do you do about the ones that manage to get in? You use antioxidants. This is the best way to neutralize the harmful free radicals that exist in pollution
  • A solid barrier – prevention is always better than cure, so preventing pollutants from entering your skin will always be a good move. You can do this by using a thick cream that forms a strong barrier over the surface of your skin, preventing any other particles from being absorbed by your skin

Harsh Ingredients in Cosmetic Products

Quite a few cosmetic products are formulated with overly-harsh ingredients that can cause quite a bit of skin trauma over time.

What makes these tricky to identify is that everybody’s skin reacts in its own way to various ingredients. This means that you really need to keep your skin type in mind when shopping for cosmetic products.

While this may be the case, there are certain ingredients out there that everybody should avoid as much as possible. These include:

  • Parabens – this preservative interferes with the hormones in your body, not only causing skin trauma but also leading to cancer
  • Fragrances – this is a blanket term that can refer to hundreds of different chemicals, meaning that you never quite know what is in a product’s fragrance. Go for fragrance-free alternatives instead
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate – these are foaming agents that are known to cause skin irritations
  • Oxybenzone – a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens, oxybenzone has been linked to skin allergies
  • BHA – commonly found in exfoliants and perfumes, BHA can depigment the skin while also leading to liver damage and certain types of cancer

Wondering why these harmful ingredients are allowed to be used in cosmetic products?

It all comes down to a lack of regulations. In Europe, there are more than 1300 chemicals that have been banned from use in cosmetics, whereas in the USA, there are less than 20. 

Hot Showers

There is nothing quite as relaxing as a steamy hot shower, especially at the end of a long day.

However, while a hot shower may help to relax your mind, as well as your muscles, it is definitely not having the same effect on your skin…

Unknown woman taking hot shower

When hot water comes into contact with the outer layer of your skin, it strips away a lot of your skin’s natural oils. It can also cause damage to the skin cells here, interfering with the way in which they work. This can lead to dryness and skin irritations.

If you suffer from eczema or acne…

Then you have probably already noticed how a hot shower can exacerbate your symptoms.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to start having cold showers (although having a cold shower once in a while does bring your skin several different benefits).

Instead, go for the middle ground, meaning a lukewarm water temperature.

Sleep Deprivation

How much sleep do you get each night?

If your answer is less than seven hours, then this could be causing your skin some major trauma.

How?

Because while you are sleeping, your skin is working hard to heal and restore itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, your skin will not be able to do this properly, meaning that it will end up suffering in the long run.

Over time, with a lack of sleep, you may notice:

  • Dryness
  • Dullness
  • Accelerated skin aging
  • Dark circles and puffiness around the eyes

Ideally, you should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The exact amount varies between individuals, but you should always be waking up feeling refreshed and energized, rather than tired and groggy. 

Stress

Stress is something that so many people experience on a daily basis, without realizing just how much damage this stress is causing to their skin.

What does stress do to the skin?

Well, when you are feeling stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is often referred to as the stress hormone. In small amounts, there’s nothing wrong with this. Cortisol helps the body to deal with a stressful situation in the best way possible.

However, the modern day lifestyle can often lead to chronic stress, meaning that you constantly have a stream of cortisol shooting through your body.

This can lead to:

  • Acne – cortisol increases the amount of sebum that your skin produces, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts
  • Skin condition flare-ups – cortisol interferes with the immune system, meaning that skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea will all tend to flare up during times of stress
  • Dark circles and puffiness around the eyes – stress can easily cause sleep deprivation, which leads to dark shadows and puffiness around the eyes
  • Inflammation – cortisol causes inflammation in the body, which will accelerate the skin aging process

Of course, keeping stress levels down is usually much easier said than done…

Fortunately, there are now numerous proven stress-busting techniques out there that you can try, such as:

Keep in mind that different methods work for different people. You may need to try a few of those above methods out before you find one that works well for you in times of stress.

Sugar Consumption

How much refined sugar do you consume on a daily basis?

Chances are, it’s quite a lot.

Infographic of sugar consumption

Sugar consumption has increased so much in recent years, with some people consuming over 500 calories of sugar each day. This is likely linked to the increase in sugar-filled foods and beverages out there, with many of these being convenient options for people.

Wondering how sugar leads to skin trauma?

One of the biggest ways is due to a process called glycation. This is when the sugar molecules attach themselves to the collagen and elastin in your skin, breaking them down. Since collagen and elastin are the main structural proteins that give your skin its tightness and smoothness, a sugar-filled diet can quickly lead to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. 

If that wasn’t enough, sugar also leads to inflammation within the body. Not only can this trigger several new skin issues to arise, but it can also exacerbate any existing skin conditions you may be dealing with, such as eczema, acne, rosacea and psoriasis.

Speaking of acne…

Sugar consumption inhibits the white blood cells in your body, leaving your body more susceptible to infections. This means that any acne-causing bacteria lingering about on your skin will have a much more devastating effect. 

The best way to avoid all of this is by staying away from processed sugars, along with simple carbohydrates. Sugars from fruits and whole grains are okay, so long as you are not consuming them in excess.

You want your skin to always be looking and feeling its very best, meaning that you need to prevent all of these everyday factors from causing your skin trauma. It may take quite a while to implement the eight changes mentioned above, but your efforts will be more than worthwhile once you notice how much your skin will soon begin to thrive.

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How to Save Your Skin from Premature Aging

Woman checking her skin in the bathroom

While aging is inevitable, premature skin aging is something that you can definitely avoid.

How?

By following these tips…

Understand the Importance of Cleansing

If you are worried about skin aging, then, if you haven’t already done so, it will only be a matter of time before you end up investing in a plethora of different anti-aging products.

This is all well and good, but none of those products will make much of a difference unless you cleanse your face before applying them.

From dead skin cells and dirt to sebum and other impurities, all of these unwanted particles quickly build up on the surface of your skin, blocking up your pores. As you can imagine, applying skin care products over the top of this will mean that those products are unable to properly penetrate your skin, since there are so many things in their way.

Infographic on cleansing out skin pore

While cleansing is key to keeping your skin youthful, you do also need to make sure that you are using the right cleanser.

Go for something quite mild and gentle, and stay away from any harsh foaming cleansers.

Why?

Because while they may create quite a satisfying lather, they also often strip away all of the skin’s natural oils. Yes, you want a cleanser to clear away any excess oils on your skin, but it should still leave some behind. These oils are so important when it comes to protecting your skin from harm, especially as your skin ages.

Exfoliate to Speed Up Cell Turnover

Do you know what your skin cell turnover process is?

Well, your skin is constantly creating new skin cells, with this happening deep within your skin. As the skin cells mature, they are pushed upwards, and eventually reach the surface of your skin. Soon after that, they die off, after which your body sheds them and replaces them with the newer skin cells that are next in line.

When you are young, your cell turnover process is quite fast. For babies, it takes just two weeks, and then extends to about a month for teenagers. Between the ages of 20 and 40, your cell turnover rate slows down to about 42 days. Once you’re in your 50s, it slows down even more, and can often take up to three months.

What does this decline in cell turnover mean for your skin?

It results in the following:

  • Duller and drier skin
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age spots

This is where exfoliation comes in…

Whether you decide to exfoliate physically or chemically, exfoliation has the effect of speeding up your skin cell turnover.

Of course, in order to experience this, you need to be exfoliating regularly.

How often should you be exfoliating?

This all depends on your skin type…

Ideally, around two or three times a week, although you may find that exfoliating once a week is enough if you have particularly sensitive skin. 

Keep Your Skin Protected from the Sun

It is no secret that sun protection is important, but this becomes even more so if you are trying to protect your skin from premature aging.

Why?

Well, for starters, up to 90% of visible skin aging is caused by the sun. 

Imagine how many wrinkles you might have been able to avoid if you had been diligent about sun protection all your life!

Don’t worry, it’s not too late to start now…

The sun’s UV rays damage the collagen and elastin in the skin. Both of these are important structural proteins that are responsible for how smooth, firm and tight your skin is.

While you have likely already experienced quite a bit of damage, protecting your skin from the sun now will prevent that from worsening.

How should you protect your skin from the sun?

With a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. That’s a great starting point. 

Infographic on why sunscreen is important every day

You should also take other sun protection measures, such as:

Wondering if there’s anything you can do about the sun damage that has already been caused?

Yes, there is. This is where antioxidants come in…

Nourish Your Skin with Antioxidants

The sun’s UV rays cause the formation of free radicals in the skin, and these are what damage the skin’s collagen and elastin.

However, free radicals can be triggered by so many other factors too, from pollution to certain cosmetic ingredients to various lifestyle choices, such as smoking or alcohol consumption.

What exactly are free radicals?

They’re basically unstable atoms. They are unstable because they are missing an important electron. In order to heal themselves, free radicals go around attacking other cells to try to steal their electrons. This then turns those cells into free radicals too, causing a vicious cycle of damage.

Antioxidants are the only way to counter all of this…

Antioxidants contain several spare electrons. When they come into contact with a free radical, they donate an electron to it, therefore healing and neutralizing it. This then turns those free radicals back into healthy cells, preventing them from causing any more damage

Many antioxidants can also work to reverse some of the damage that free radicals have already caused to the skin.

You probably want to know which antioxidants you should be using to experience these benefits…

Pretty much every antioxidant will do some good for your skin, but here are some of the best:

  • Vitamin C – not only is vitamin C an antioxidant, but it also helps to increase your skin’s natural production of collagen (which slows down significantly with age)
  • Vitamin A – one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, vitamin A not only has antioxidant properties, but also repairs the skin’s cellular structure, re-balances oil production, speeds up cell turnover and boosts collagen production
  • Niacinimide – also known as vitamin B3, this antioxidant reduces the appearance of the visible signs of aging while also increasing skin hydration
  • Green Tea – packed with polyphenols that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects
  • Resveratrol – protects against damage caused by UVB rays, while also protecting the skin’s collagen
  • Lycopene – reduces DNA damage in skin cells while increasing collagen production and improving the skin’s texture
  • Grape Seed – contains powerful proanthocyanidins, which have been shown to be even stronger than vitamins C and E when it comes to neutralizing free radicals 

One thing to keep in mind is that antioxidants work even better when they are combined. This is why it is always best to ensure that your skin care routine contains multiple antioxidants, as this will have an even greater effect in protecting your skin from premature aging says Angie, a professional esthetician.

Give the Skin Around Your Eyes Some Extra Love

The skin around your eyes can be up to ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of your face. It also contains far fewer oil glands, making this area so much more susceptible to dryness, as well as the visible signs of aging.

This is why many people often develop fine lines around their eyes before these appear on other parts of the face.

The best way to prevent this is with the use of eye serums and creams.

These will keep the skin around your eyes moisturized and hydrated, giving your skin cells everything they need in order to thrive.

Beautiful woman looking at herself in handheld mirror

You are probably thinking…

Can’t I use my regular serum and moisturizer for this?

You can, but these will often be a thicker formula than the skin here needs. Being so thin and delicate, you would be best off with a specialized formula that will allow this sensitive skin to properly breathe.

Plus, specialized eye serums and creams will also contain a few extra ingredients that the skin around your eyes would benefit from, such as caffeine and vitamin K.

If you want to give the skin around your eyes an extra moisture boost, consider using eye masks like the 24K Collagen Eye Renewal Mask. It’s formulated with skin-loving ingredients like lavender oil, collagen and gold to really smoothen and illuminate the eye area.

Not only is using eye masks super effective, it also easy to use and luxuriously pampering.

Eat A Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

The phrase “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true when it comes to skin care…

The food that you put into your body has a huge effect on the health and appearance of your skin. If you are eating a poor diet, it doesn’t really matter how many high quality topical skin care products you use – your skin will never be able to truly thrive.

This becomes even more important as you age…

The food that you eat can help to boost your skin’s slowing functions, keeping your skin looking youthful for so much longer. 

So, what should you actually be eating?

It goes without saying that a fresh diet featuring plenty of whole foods, and with few refined, processed foods, is what is going to be best for you.

However, here are a few more detailed tips:

  • A five-a-day rainbow – five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is a must, and these should feature a rainbow of different colors. Each color signifies the presence of different antioxidants, which is why a variety is so important
  • Minimal processed sugar – when you consume sugar, this causes your insulin levels to spike. Not only can this lead to acne, but sugar also destroys the collagen and elastin in your skin, leading to premature skin aging
  • Healthy fats – while some fats are bad, some are vital when it comes to healthy skin. The fats that you will find in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds contain essential fatty acids that keep your skin elastic, smooth and supple
  • Don’t crash diet – weight fluctuations are common with age, but these not only lead to stretch marks on the body, but also sagging skin and wrinkles on the face. Many diets are also lacking in certain nutrients, resulting in your skin suffering even more
  • Stay hydrated – your skin struggles to retain moisture as it ages, making it so important that you keep your skin fully hydrated from within 

Catch Up on Your Beauty Sleep

It’s called beauty sleep for a reason

Many people don’t realize that their skin doesn’t sleep when they do. Instead, while you are asleep, your skin is working hard to heal and regenerate. Your REM stage of sleep is when this happens the most, with your skin producing a high amount of collagen and elastin at this time.

As you can imagine, this is something that you should be trying to encourage as much as possible.

How?

By making sure that you are getting enough quality sleep each night. Ideally, you should be sleeping for between seven to nine hours, although the amount of sleep that you need does slightly drop as you age. So long as you wake up feeling refreshed and energized, then that’s a sign that you have had a good sleep.

Want to give your skin some extra support?

This is where a night time skin care routine comes in handy…

Skin care products designed for night use will contain ingredients that support all the jobs your skin does during the night. Some of these ingredients, such as retinol, are not suitable for daytime use, making a specialized night time skin care routine a must if you want to protect your skin from premature aging.

One other thing that can help is ensuring that your pillowcases are made from silk or satin.

Why?

Because as you move your head around your pillow during the night, most fabrics end up tugging at your skin. This causes friction, which leads to accelerated skin aging.

With a silk or satin pillowcase, your skin will simply glide over the fabric, with no friction being caused.

Nobody wants to deal with fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and everything else that comes with skin aging, especially when this is happening earlier than it should. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to protect your skin from premature aging, so make sure that you get started before it’s too late!

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SUGAR AND SKIN AGING

Woman eating cake outside

While sugar can often be incredibly satisfying, we all know that too much of this sweet substance can be a bad thing. However, in addition to leading to everything from obesity to infectious diseases, sugar also hugely contributes to the aging process, causing wrinkles and sagging skin far earlier than you would have otherwise experienced.

Glycation 

When sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibers, this process is called glycation, and is something that you will want to minimize as much as possible. This is because, once the sugar is attached to the collagen, it weakens the collagen, causing the fibers to lose their flexibility or strength. This means that the skin becomes less elastic and smooth, and is much more susceptible to everything from wrinkles and fine lines to sagging and sun damage. In addition to sugar, there are other carbohydrates that quickly convert into glucose once they enter your bloodstream, leading to glycation, and these include breads, starches, pasta and potatoes.

 

Insulin Resistance and Dark Patches 

Each time you eat sugar, your body releases insulin, which enables the sugar to be stored in your cells to be used later. Over time, with a diet high in sugar, you are likely to end up with insulin resistance, as well as Type 2 diabetes. One of the symptoms of insulin resistance is dark patches and skin tags. These are often referred to as common side effects of aging, but, if you cut back on the amount of sugar that you consume, you will be far less likely to experience them.

 

How to Minimize and Prevent Sugar Damage 

The first step to preventing glycation from occurring is by cutting back on your sugar intake. This includes sugar in all of its forms, whether it be granulated, high fructose corn syrup, or cane sugar, as they all have the same effect. You should also look into vitamin supplements, especially B1 and B6, as these are able to minimize the damage that is caused when sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibers. Vitamin C is also incredibly useful when it comes to damaged collagen and skin healing, but, rather than taking a supplement, try to increase your consumption of vitamin C-rich foods instead, making fruits and vegetables such as oranges, red peppers, kale and broccoli a main part of your diet. Another fantastic ingredient for fighting against glycation is alpha lipoic acid, also referred to as ALA. While it can be taken both as an internal supplement as well as applied topically, try to do both if you are looking for maximum results.

 

There is no denying the impact that sugar has when it comes to skin aging, making it important for you to pay close attention to your sugar consumption if you have any aging concerns. From choosing healthy foods and drinks to increasing your antioxidant intake, working to prevent sugar damage now will definitely pay off in the long run.

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YOUR PILLOW IS KEY TO LOOKING BEAUTIFULLY WELL-RESTED

Woman waking up

Many people do not put much thought into the pillows that they use, but these can have a huge effect on the quality of your sleep. Pillows not only provide support, but they are also in direct contact with your skin while you sleep, making your choice of pillow so important.

Compression and Sleep Position

Compression is the force at which your face is pushed against the pillow, and is one of the leading causes of skin creases in the morning. While there will always be compression to some extent, unless you are able to always sleep on your back, there are specially designed pillows that you can opt for that are able to reduce this quite a bit. These feature a series of different elevations to ensure comfort no matter which position you prefer to sleep in, each with a small recess for your cheeks to fit in, meaning that they do not actually come into contact with the actual pillow. While sleeping on your back is an alternative, many find themselves naturally rolling over in the middle of the night, making this pillow the ideal tool to have.

Hypoallergenic and Anti-Allergy Pillows 

The filling within your pillow is extremely important, as many filling types can trigger allergic reactions. These reactions can often be quite minute, so you may not realize that they are there, but could be the reason for any redness or irritation in the mornings. While hypoallergenic pillows are great, dust mites can still build up within them over time, making anti-allergy pillows far more superior. These make use of synthetic fibres that do not emit any dust, preventing an allergic reaction from occurring.

Silk Pillowcase

The majority of people out there use cotton pillowcases, but, when your face rubs against this, the friction that is caused can lead to lines developing on your skin. Silk, or even satin, pillowcases prevent this from happening, as they will not scratch or tear at the skin, allowing you to wake up with a much smoother and fresher complexion. As an added bonus, silk pillowcases are also great for your hair, and will prevent any frizz from forming.

Copper Pillowcase

Copper oxide is a mineral that is naturally found in the skin, and plays a vital role when it comes to the skin regeneration process. Pillowcases that have been embedded with copper oxide have been clinically proven to be able to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, boosting the overall complexion.

Your choice of pillow has a huge impact on the way in which your skin looks when you wake up. If you want to improve the health of your skin while you sleep, it could be worthwhile looking into the different pillow types out there, and finding one that is able to target your primary skin issues.

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SEVEN RULES FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

two girls running

A healthy lifestyle is key when it comes to a long and happy life, but when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices, many people end up struggling, and then give up on their healthy lifestyle aspirations. If you have been looking to make a few healthy changes in your life, here are seven rules to get you started.

Regular Exercise 

Regular exercise is key when it comes to healthy living, with the recommended amount being 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. Even if you do not enjoy working out at the gym, make the effort to take a brisk walk every evening, as even this small step will have a huge influence on your overall health.

Diet and Nutrition 

The food that you eat has a direct impact on your health, and you should really be trying to eat as many fresh and whole foods as possible. From a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, in a wide range of colors, to brown rice and whole wheat bread, instead of the refined alternatives, start making healthier choices when it comes to the food that you put into your body.

No Smoking 

Every year in the USA, smoking kills one in five people, and even if you would only consider yourself to be a social smoker, smoking occasionally is still causing irreparable damage to your body. This is the most preventable cause of death and disease out there, so, if smoking is one of your vices, then this is a habit that you need to kick as soon as possible if you are trying to be healthier.

Get Enough Sleep 

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to healthy living, as sleep deprivation will quickly lead to a variety of health problems, from heart disease to diabetes. The average adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and you should wake up feeling fresh and energized rather than tired and groggy.

Manage Your Stress Levels 

Chronic stress keeps the body’s cortisol levels elevated, which then results in a range of health issues, from a decreased metabolism to depression. There are many ways in which you can manage your stress levels, and the key here is to find the method that works best for you, whether this may be doing some exercise or spending time on a hobby that you love.

Drink Enough Water 

Water plays so many crucial roles within the body, from eliminating toxins to increasing energy to stimulating brain functions, and is actually your most important nutrient. The recommended water intake for the average person is two litres a day, so make sure that you are drinking at least that.

Take Some Time Out 

Your brain works so hard each and every day, and deserves to have a breather once in a while. Whether you regularly enjoy a weekend getaway, or take up yoga and meditation, try to find ways in which you can encourage your brain to relax and unwind.

Healthy living does not need to be difficult, no matter how unhealthy your current lifestyle may be. By setting yourself small, achievable goals, you will slowly be able to work towards a healthier, and happier, lifestyle.

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YOUR CHARACTER MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL

Woman with glasses

Many people believe that beauty is skin-deep, but the concept of beauty actually goes much further than that. From kindness to confidence, these are some character traits that have a huge influence over how beautiful you really are.

Kindness 

While being kind is often viewed as a weakness or vulnerability, the way in which you treat and speak to others should always come from a caring and genuine place. Even when it comes to interacting with strangers, kindness should still be at the forefront of this, as this is the one human quality that is able to get you far in life. You should also be aware of your thought processes, banishing away any unkind thoughts and replacing them with compassionate ones instead.

Confidence

Self-awareness, as well as dedication to growth and self-development, leads to a quiet confidence that will help you to succeed at just about anything you put your mind to. In addition to this, having a strong sense of confidence will also affect your posture, having you holding your head higher and your back straighter, resulting in elegance and a classic sort of beauty.

Optimism 

People who are optimistic tend to spend more time smiling, and experience far lower stress levels than pessimists. Having a positive attitude will not only influence the way in which you view the world, but also the way in which other people perceive you. Generally, people would much rather be around others who are happy and positive, rather than those who are filled with a negative energy.

Humble 

Being humble is a character trait that is often extremely underrated, but is one that others will really appreciate. Rather than thinking too highly of yourself, and exuding a sense of arrogance, being humble is the best way to actually encourage others to come around to your way of thinking.

A Good Listener 

By practicing all of these above qualities, it is likely that you will automatically become a much better listener. This is important when it comes to beauty, as being a good listener means that you are able to provide a shoulder for others to cry on, and will understand when to give advice, or when to just stay quiet and commiserate. Being a good listener is a skill that you can work on and develop, and will help you out in just about every aspect of your life.

So many people strive to be more beautiful, but tend to only focus on their external appearance, rather than looking deeper at what lies beneath. From kindness and optimism to being humble yet confident, these are some character traits that actually have a huge influence over how beautiful others perceive you to be.

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WHY WE CELEBRATE THE MATERNAL BOND

mother and daughter

Many scoff at the concept of Mother’s Day, believing it to be a marketing ploy thought up by greeting companies to help them to sell more product. However, presenting your mother with presents and cards on Mother’s Day has long since been an important tradition all over the world, and is one that will likely continue to hold strong for centuries to come.

The Origins of Mother’s Day 

For centuries, it was traditional for people to return home to their “mother” church on Laetare Sunday, which is the middle of Lent. Since families were reuniting on this day back in their home town, this would provide mothers with the opportunity to spend some precious time with their children. On the way home from church, many children would pick wildflowers from grass verges, presenting these to their mother when they returned home, kicking off the tradition of Mother’s Day flowers.

Mother’s Day Becomes Official 

In the early 1900’s, American social activist Anna Jarvis lobbied the government for an official day in which mothers should be honored. She did this after her own mother died, proclaiming that she would give her life to the cause. In 1913, activists in England also began pushing for the cause, and, by 1938, Mothering Sunday had become a popular celebration across the UK and the USA.

Mother’s Day Commercialism 

By the 1950’s, Mother’s Day had become so widely celebrated that businesses began to take notice of this new opportunity, and find new ways to profit from it. Anna Jarvis, the woman who had initially lobbied for an official Mother’s Day, had noticed this, and was finding it quite concerning, as she had been striving for a special day of sentiment, rather than profit.

When is Mother’s Day Celebrated?

Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates around the world. The two most popular dates are the ones celebrated by the USA and the UK, which, this year, would be May 14th and March 26th respectively. However, other countries have their own dates for the day, from the last Sunday in May in France to the 8th of December in Spain, and this celebration is also combined with paying tribute to the Virgin Mary.

While the commercialism of Mother’s Day may be hard to ignore, it is important to understand the roots of the day, so that you can appreciate the sentiment behind it. Although you may still want to purchase gifts for your mother, you should also take the time to plan something sentimental, whether this may be a special day out for the two of you or a bonding activity that you would both enjoy, as this will really show your mother just how much she means to you.

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BEHAVIORS THAT ACCELERATE THE SIGNS OF AGING

Smiling Woman holding spoon

There are a number of different factors that have an effect on the way in which an individual ages, and while you may not be able to do anything about some of them, there are many others that you can have full control over. From smoking to sunbathing, these are some of the behaviours that are known to accelerate signs of aging, as well as ways in which you can put a stop to them.

 

Smoking

Just about everyone that smokes is already aware of just how bad this habit is for them, but many do not quite understand the exact effect that smoking will have on their skin. Smoking directly damages the collagen and elastin within your skin, both of which are responsible for keeping the skin firm and tight, meaning that, before long, you will soon be experiencing wrinkles, fine lines and loose skin. Smoking also damages skin tissue, while reducing its blood flow, meaning that it is not being delivered adequate supplies of oxygen and nutrients, quickly leading to an unhealthy complexion.

 

Sun Exposure

The sun causes up to 90% of facial wrinkles, making it no surprise that those who stay out of the sun for the majority of their lives are able to enjoy their youthful appearance for much longer than sun-worshippers. While sunscreen will provide your skin with a certain level of protection, you should also be taking the necessary steps to keep your skin physically sheltered from the sun, whether this may be covering it up with clothing or staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day.

 

Weight Fluctuations

Whether it is weight gain or weight loss, frequent weight fluctuations will quickly have quite the negative effect on your skin. The reason for this is that each time your skin is stretched out while it is still young, it has enough elasticity to bounce back, but, with age, elasticity declines, meaning that frequent expanding and constricting will result in loose skin. The best way to manage this is to find out what your ideal weight is, and try to stick to this as much as possible.

 

Sugar-Filled Diets

While it is common knowledge that too much sugar is harmful for the body in general, it also has a direct impact on the way in which your skin ages. The more sugar that you eat, the more collagen and elastin is damaged, meaning that skin becomes wrinkles, dry and loose. Completely cutting sugar out from your diet would be the most beneficial way to deal with this, but, if this is too difficult, try limiting your sugar intake to no more than 10% of your total calories for each day.

 

Even if you heavily invest in the finest of anti-aging products, they will not have much of an effect if the above-mentioned behaviours are a part of your life. Whether this may be smoking or the over-consumption of sugar, these are the changes that you really need to make if you want to tackle aging.

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IDEAS TO STAY FEELING YOUNG FOREVER

Woman in Sweater Holding Wine Glass

Aging happens to everyone, but rather than letting this overcome and define you, take the necessary steps to keep yourself feeling young. Whether this may be visiting a theme park each month or signing yourself up for classes in something new, these ideas will help you to feel much younger than whatever your age may be.

 

Back to School

It is never too late to learn something new, and not only will this keep your brain and curiosity engaged, but you will also end up with some new knowledge and skills. Whether you visit your local university to learn a new language, or sign yourself up for some private art classes, learning is a great way to keep your youthful spirit alive.

 

Try Something New

Childhood is all about discovery and exploration, but this usually dies down once adulthood is reached. To bring back that sense of childlike joy, commit yourself to trying something new each week, whether this may be a new activity, a new restaurant or visiting a new place.

 

Visit a Theme Park

Trying out a few adrenaline-pumping rides at a theme park is a great way to instantly feel years younger, as the process of feeling scared, and then experiencing relief, releases endorphins. If you find that this method works for you, then resolve to visit a new theme park every few weeks, so that you can maintain that feeling of vitality in the long term.

 

A Day Off from Adulthood

Being an adult can be tiring, so a great way to indulge your youthful self is by taking a day off every couple of weeks. Whether this means allowing yourself to lie in until noon, leaving the dishes to pile up in the sink, or skipping all of your usual daily chores, take a day off from your adult responsibilities and enjoy the carefree youthful feeling that comes with this.

 

Let Music Take You Back

Music has the extraordinary power to really transform how a person feels, making music a great way to instantly pick yourself up and feel young again. There are likely to be specific songs or genres that really work for you, and once you have discovered what these are, whether it may be music that gets you moving, or the songs from your teenage years, create a few playlists that you can turn to whenever you need a youthful fix.

 

While you may not be able to physically reverse the effects of aging on your body, it is definitely worthwhile making the effort to stay feeling young in your mind. Not only will this lower your risk of many health issues in the future, but it will also make your life a much happier one.

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