Aging gracefully: love the skin you’re in
Let’s clear something up: aging gracefully doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to look 16, nor does it mean “giving up” and giving in. It means loving the body that contains your beautiful spirit, and treating it with care and attention no matter what it looks like.
Maybe to you that means a glorious shock of white hair and barely-there makeup. Or maybe it means rich, deep brown hair and bold red lips at 80.
It’s okay to look anyway you want to look, and it’s okay to acknowledge the fact that aging is a natural process that takes a toll on our bodies, and reflects on our faces. Laugh lines, crinkles at the corners of our eyes and gray hair are all part and parcel of aging.
How you choose to embrace it is what matters, and you can do that gracefully whether you want to look your age or not!
One of the very best ways to embrace aging is to treat your body with the respect it deserves. Eat a healthy, balanced diet; try to get enough sleep; stay as physically active as possible; manage your stress levels; and see your doctor for regular check-ups and age-appropriate health screenings. Remember that your mental health plays a huge role in your physical well being, so stay connected to the people around you by reaching out to family and friends, and giving back to your community by participating in Foresters volunteer activities. Visit MyForesters.com to find out more about the kinds of volunteer opportunities available right in your own community.
Taking care of your hair and skin is another way to embrace the aging process. According to Medicinenet.com,1 as we age, skin loses elasticity and becomes more fragile and transparent. It also becomes rougher, dryer and bruises more easily. Make sure you’re always choosing products with UV protection – that includes sunglasses – and protect yourself from sun exposure.
As for our hair, in addition to gradually turning gray, according to The List2, our hair begins to become finer at around age 40. It also loses volume, breaks more easily, grows more slowly, and tends to get dryer as we get older. You may also notice a change in texture and a lack of shine as time passes.
All these changes are natural parts of aging, and while they may sound pretty scary all lumped together, remember, you can be proactive and take steps to care for your hair and skin to make it as beautiful and as lustrous as it can be. Look for products designed for older women’s specific needs, and take the advice of the American Academy of Dermatology3:
- Stop using bar soap. Use a gentle, creamy, fragrance-free cleanser or emollient.
- Use warm, not hot, water. Hot water strips skin of its natural oils, which can contribute to dryness.
- Use a soft cloth to wash your skin. More abrasive buff puffs or bath brushes can be too irritating.
- Don’t dry off completely. After you bathe, pat the water off of your body and apply a fragrance-free moisturizer formulated for dry skin before you’re completely dry. That extra bit of moisture will help keep your skin hydrated.
- Wear gloves. Protect your hands from harsh chemicals and sunlight while you’re doing gardening and housework.
- Use sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day.
- Get screened for skin cancer starting at age 50. Your risk of skin cancer increases as you age, so have an annual screening, and always talk to your doctor if you see something suspicious.
Visit Bellatory for advice on taking care of your specific kind of hair as you age.
We may sometimes find ourselves a bit startled when we look into the mirror and see an older person staring back at us. But remember that aging is a privilege denied to many, so honor the process by taking good care of yourself inside and out, and by embracing all of the opportunities to grow and change that this phase of your life has to offer.
You are as beautiful now as you ever were. Believe that.
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