This post is part of The Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown-Up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
Sun, Smoking and (lack of) Sleep … Nothing will make you look older than your years than indulging in these beauty crimes! Prevention is better than the cure.
The fastest way to look old is to lie in the sun. Sun damage is now considered the most important factor in skin ageing, accounting for 90 percent of the damage you see. If you don’t believe this, just compare the skin on your hands with that on your bum! It’s never too late to protect your skin, so start slathering on the SPF 30 religiously.
The next biggest age accelerator is smoking, which affects your skin at a cellular level. In response to the toxins in tobacco, your body forms ‘free radicals’ – unstable molecules that damage cell DNA. Smoking also hardens the arteries, restricting blood flow and preventing oxygen getting to the skin. It increases production of an enzyme that breaks down the supply of the skin’s main building material, collagen. It also reduces the body’s stores of vitamin A and blocks absorption of vitamin C – both vital for healthy skin. And we haven’t even mentioned those nasty smokers’ lines that radiate from a constantly puckered mouth …
It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! When you’re asleep, your skin cells go into overtime, renewing themselves and repairing damage. Research shows that between 10pm and 2am your skin cells are most actively rejuvenating themselves.
Sun-tanning. Oh if only we knew when we were younger. Would we have listened though? Vanity is very high on the priorities when you’re young and gorgeous and to have a natural glowing tan was everything back in the day! The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign came a bit late for myself and my peers, in 1981. The habit was formed and the need for a tan was already established and part of our culture. There was very little education or knowledge about the risks of sun exposure back then. I’m grateful things are different nowadays so that our kids are more informed and hopefully have established good sun safe practices as part of the culture for themselves and their own children. Certainly we are seeing a lot of awesome fake tan options and the younger generation seem to have well and truly embraced the fake tan [some are still better than others don’t you think?] Personally, I’m more a fan of the natural look. There is nothing wrong with fair skin!
Why tanning is bad for your looks: Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage. In fact, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. There is also the fact of: more freckles, more moles, pigmentation, leathery skin, and the hugely increased risk of skin cancer!
Smoking. Scary stuff that Pamela tells us, but all very true! I’ve revealed this before on the blog but sadly I used to be a smoker. I gave up many times over the years but I’m proud to say that I am most definitely an ex smoker now and it’s been 9+ years since that last cigarette. I was considered late to start smoking and was made fun of and made feel ‘uncool’ for not smoking and of course that peer pressure is what eventually led to me taking it up and ultimately becoming addicted to it. Oh how things have changed!! Smoking is very uncool now. You can’t sit at your desk at work, with a strategically placed ashtray, and puff away like you did in my earlier days in the workforce [that was quite normal and acceptable and almost everyone was doing it]. Thankfully, again, these days there is more education and awareness around smoking. As a result, far fewer kids of today have taken up smoking than the youth of our generation. Hopefully, it will eventually be a habit from the past that people look at as some very odd thing that people used to do in the ‘olden days’.
Why smoking is bad for your looks: Negative impact on your skin; yellow stained fingers; stained teeth; premature aging and wrinkles; thinner hair (yep toxic chemicals in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals as well); increased scarring (wounds won’t heal as well); dental problems – greater risk for all kinds, including oral cancer and gum disease; increased risk of developing cataracts, and more!
Sleeping. Ahhh sleep. When we were young we could sleep for ages. A sleep-in on weekends was a given! When we become parents we are desperate for sleep. We crave sleep but we never can get enough! Then the kids get older and finally we get some more sleep again – hooray! Then the peri-menopause and menopause years creep up on us and all of a sudden we can’t sleep as good as we used to. I know that if I get 7 or more hours of sleep in a night then that is a super duper fantastic night and I am thrilled. I average 5-6 hours most nights. I seem to be able to exist on that amount of sleep but more of the 7+ hour nights would be good. Apparently changes in our sleep patterns as we age are quite normal. After a little research, I found out the following:
As you age your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you’ll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep (an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle). When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you’ll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night. That’s why many of us consider ourselves “light sleepers” as we age. You may also:
- Want to go to sleep earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.
- Have to spend longer in bed at night to get the hours of sleep you need, or make up the shortfall by taking a nap during the day.
In most cases, such sleep changes are normal and don’t indicate a sleep problem.
If you would like better sleep, you might find some of the tips I provided in my post 1O tips for better sleep helpful.
Why lack of sleep is bad for your looks: Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Basically the saying we have heard all our lives “I need my beauty sleep” is very, very true!
Were you a sun-worshipper in your younger days? Have you compared the skin on your hands to the skin on your bum [Pamela’s words!]? Shocking difference isn’t there!! Did you ever smoke? Have your sleep patterns changed as you’ve aged?
Ciao for now,
P.S. At the time this post publishes, I will be away in Perth being a busy tourist trying to see as much as I can in a very short time. Because of this, I won’t be able to reply to your comment until I return but I will reply! I also won’t be able to read and comment on all the linked up posts this week but will try to do so for some when I return but most likely not all of them as I usually try to do.
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.