Beauty: The three S’s

October 19, 2017
sleep, suntanning, smoking, beauty

sleep, suntanning, smoking, beauty

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.

Pamela says:

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.

My thoughts:

sunbathing, suntanning, sunbaking

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, cigarettes, ashtray

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!

alarm, sleep, sleeping

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:

Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways

It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.

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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee October 19, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Interestingpost. The sleep is my issue, and not really on purpose, just busy….will try to get more!

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I need more sleep too. It’s not that I’m too busy though. I just wake early. Doesn’t matter what time I go to bed. Makes no difference.

  • Reply Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject October 19, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Great post MIn! I spent too much time trying to tan my pale white skin when I was younger. As a consequence, I’ve had dozens of skin cancers removed, with one requiring 40 stitches (and I was only 25 at the time!!). Sun damage is seriously scary stuff. Having lost my Dad to melanoma, I’m now much more careful about the sun, but I fear the damage may already have been done. Luckily, I was never a smoker and most of the time, I sleep pretty well, even though it’s often only 6-6.5 hours per night (I’d like it to be 8!) 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Thanks Lyndall. I roasted myself when I was young too. Nothing removed yet but I am way overdue to have my skin checked and I know I will not escape unscathed. Like you I too do fear the damage has already been well and truly done. I am so sorry to hear you lost your Dad to melanoma. I regret that peer pressure led to me becoming a smoker but I’m very proud to have given up many years ago. As for sleep ~ I’m sleeping well but just not as long as I’d like!

  • Reply JODIE FILOGOMO October 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I have to admit, that suntanning is pretty much my only huge regret from my youth. Of course, it was the norm, so I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude to let it pass by. At least now, I can embrace my pale skin. Of course, now I’m paying the price, but that’s life!!

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Good to hear you’re embracing your pale skin Jodie. I think pale skin in beautiful but of course when I was young I did not! xo

  • Reply Deborah October 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Oh god yes Min, as a child of the 80s I used to be out there with my Coconut Oil plastered over me and the number of times I burned to a blister was ridiculous.

    We’ve certainly come a long way since then!

    As for the sleep thing, my GP has given me sleeping tablets and they’ve made such a difference to my life. They’re the sort of thing I once vowed I’d never take but after months (at a time over many many years) of never getting to sleep before 2am or so they are a godsend.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Oh yes, me too ~ coconut oil & baby oil. I blistered a number of times too. One time resulted in the freckles I now have on my chest. I’m glad you’re getting better sleep now. Sleep really is so critical to everything! I know this from all the years of sleep deprivation when the kids were babies. Lack of sleep affects just about everything!

  • Reply Leanne | October 19, 2017 at 11:39 am

    When I think back to all those days of getting burnt and peeling I could weep a little. I am fair skinned and have lots of “spot and dots” and now have a regular appointment for checks at the skin clinic. My only saving grace is I started wearing a sunhat at 17 (and got mocked for it at the time) but it certainly helped my face I’m sure! I’ve never been a smoker (thank goodness!) altho’ I’ve been tempted a few times because smokers are always so skinny! Sleep and me – well it fluctuates – based a lot on my husband’s snoring – but that’s when the spare bed comes in handy sometimes!

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Oh Leanne, I could weep a little too! I peeled a lot. I blistered. I roasted myself. I’m fair skinned too but I was always brown as a berry ~ a little surfie chick! Lucky you having never been a smoker. Wish I never was, but I succumbed to peer pressure and the desire to fit in. Glad it is in the past now though. As for sleep and snoring, LOL yes thank goodness for the spare bed!

      • Reply Leanne May 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm

        Hi Min – I just re-read this post and my answer would have been exactly the same! I wonder if the next generation will look younger than us in Midlife because we made them stay out of the sun and most don’t smoke – they just need to figure out how to maintain their 8 hours of sleep a night and they’ll look like 30 year olds forever! Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
        Leanne |

        • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

          My daughter has the most beautiful skin Leanne. It’s lilly white as she doesn’t bake herself like I used to but it’s flawless and absolutely beautiful. I think the younger generation will fair better than ours when it comes to skin and lungs (far fewer of them smoke than our generation)!! xo

  • Reply Kathy Marris October 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Yes to all of these! I used to lather myself in baby oil and fry in the sun when I was a teenager. I still like to get a little bit of a tan, but always wear sunscreen. I was also a smoker for about 13 years. Fortunately I gave up this disgusting habit before I had kids. I consider myself to be a light sleeper but I do normally get 7 to 8 hours a night. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Wow ~ 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. I’m so jealous! It’s generally 5 to 6 for me!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl October 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t smoke, I don’t tan but I am a bit sleep deprived. Oh well, only one out of three ain’t bad.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:30 am

      You are doing very well SSG! Just watch you don’t nod off at inopportune moments! haha

  • Reply Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies October 19, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Urgh lack of sleep is my issue! My days are so busy that any catching up is a dream. My husband can snooze at an instant –
    not that I’m at all jealous x #Lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Ugh ~ it’s not great being tired all the time. Due for a holiday?

  • Reply Jenni | Unclutter Your Universe October 20, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Being a light sleeper and having a partner how snores most evenings is not a good mix, at the best of times but seems to be a lot worse at the moment, so it’s something that I need to address.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Oh dear! Has your partner been checked for sleep apnea? Have you got some earplugs? Good luck Jenni. Hope you get a good night’s sleep soon!

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit October 20, 2017 at 6:40 am

    I wish the sun wasn’t so bad for us, because I do love it. Spray tans are now my go-to because a BBQ chook looks so much more appealing than a boiled one.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Haha ~ love your BBQ chook vs boiled chook reference! I love the feeling of lying in the sun too. It’s no wonder though because that’s what I grew up doing. I haven’t had much luck with spray tans. One looked too orange. Another ended up looking non existant. I don’t bother with fake tan either. I get a bit of colour naturally [with sunscreen] but mostly don’t bother with looking tanned at all these days.

  • Reply Natalie October 20, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I don’t smoke, I don’t tan, and sleep ok most of the time. I judge my sleep quality by how I feel when I wake up and during the day, not the number of hours.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Yay! You’re doing great with ‘the three S’s’ then Natalie!!

  • Reply Jo Tracey October 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    I’ve never been a smoker, but absolutely was a sun worshipper. These days I get a lot of incidental sun, so wear sunscreen daily & carry a cap in the car. As for sleep, yeah, I’m not great at that. Hubby jokes I could hear a frog fart in a car miles away. All I can say is thank goodness for ear plugs.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Hahaha heard any frogs fart lately Jo? Oh the sun worshipping was such a normal part of our youth wasn’t it?

  • Reply Jo November 2, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Oh Lol! It’s a sign of our generation isn’t it. Tanning (especially baby oil), smoking, and burning the candle at both ends. Hands up, I’m guilty of all three – it was great while it lasted of course, until we knew better. Now I’m like Jo, can hear a frog fart at a hundred yards (my poor hubby – we sleep with a loud fan on come rain, snow or shine), no smokes for 26 years and paranoid about sunscreen, caps and long sleeves in the sun.

    • Reply Min November 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one guilty of all three Jo! We knew no better then though … but we do now!

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond May 9, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Hi Min I can remember growing up and smothering myself in baby oil and then looking like a lobster! If only we knew then what we are doing. I’m lucky I haven’t had skin cancers yet! I have never smoked so that is a tick but on the flip side I have never been a good sleeper – even with all the exercise I do. Thanks for linking up and sharing at Midlife Share the Love Party and have a beautiful day. #MLSTL

    • Reply Min May 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      I smothered myself in Baby Oil too Sue … or Coconut Oil. I have fair skin but I was always brown as a berry – just as I liked it. I know I will suffer for it eventually. I was also a smoker, sadly. Though I’m very proud to no longer be and haven’t been for over a decade now. My sleep is up and down lately but I usually get 5-6 hours. xo

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt May 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Hi Min, saw this on #MLSTL and I’m happy to admit that two of the three S’s are good to go. I get plenty of sleep and don’t smoke. AS for tanning? Well, as a boomer who grew up in San Diego, between friends’ pools and nearby beaches, I lived in the sun! Yes I wore sunscreen, but…well my redheaded skin has taken a little beating. Now I’m a windsurfer and SUP’er, so I cover up the best I can and use self-tanner on my white legs. Great article that women of every age need to read!

    • Reply Min May 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      I used to bake myself in the sun as a teen and young adult too Terri. I loved being tanned. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Reply Michele Morin May 9, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Hope you are enjoying your trip!
    This is all such good advice.

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks Michele! I did enjoy the trip. It was last year. This post was written in October 2017. I’m due for another trip somewhere I think!! 🙂

  • Reply Amy May 9, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I was a sun worshipper when I was younger; we all were! I wish I knew then what I know now. I would never lay in the sun. We didn’t know any better back then.

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      My thoughts exactly Amy!

  • Reply Debbie May 10, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Nice one Min! I think we all need reminders from time time to time. It’s interesting how attitudes have changed over the years on sun baking and smoking in particular. Shared #mlstl

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      It is very interesting isn’t it how attitudes have changed over the years! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply Victoria May 10, 2018 at 3:35 am

    I have always been a sun worshipper it is a hard habit for me to break. My dermatologist shakes his head at me every visit and keeps reminding me to use sunscreen which I do, he thinks not enough. Sleep is something I do very well I have to have my eight hours a night or I am not happy at all. But thank goodness I have never smoked and am very glad I never formed the habit.

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      I have always been a sun worshipper too Victoria. Even now I still enjoy lying in the sun. However, nowadays I limit the time and look upon it more for Vitamin D. I never allow myself to burn. I do eventually still get a nice golden glow but without the burning and blisters I used to get in my youth. OMG!

  • Reply Jan Wild May 10, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Yes definitely a baby oil girl here – ouch! As for smoking I have lost one brother to emphysema and another brother also has it. I haven’t smoked in years and now cannot even imagine doing so. As for sleep, well it’s 5 am and I have been awake for a couple of hours, I guess that answers where I am at with that, oh for the sleep I used to enjoy!

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Looks like there’s a lot of us baby oil girls around! lol I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost a brother to emphysema and another also has it. It’s so sad Jan. I’m also sorry you have sleep issues too. It’s not pleasant, I know!

  • Reply Agnes May 10, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Guilty as charged with the sun, oil, and tin foil!!! Phewff, don’t smoke! And if sleep is an issue, I know there’s a cause, it’s just a matter of finding it. There is constant gratitude for the bullets I’ve missed!

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      That’s the best attitude to have – gratitude for the bullets you’ve missed. I feel exactly the same!

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit May 10, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Ah yes! Definitely beauty crimes, I have managed to ensure all three are taken care of in my world. I smoked socially as a teen and in my early 20s. It was just a “to fit in” thing. Hated it. I managed to help my hubby quit when he was in his late 30s. Wouldn’t let me sleep in my bed if he’d been smoking plus the kids would get upset if they saw him because of the ads on TV. As for sun. I still get out into the sun but I load on the sunscreen and prefer the spray tan approach to life now. Although a tiny bit of a natural tan is kind of nice too. Back in the day though … it was baby oil all the way! YIKES!! As for sleeping, I’m a sleeper. Love my sleep. Glad it’s good for me! Thanks for the tips Min. Sharing on my Facebook page as my fave post of the week

    • Reply Min May 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      I was the same Leanne – sun-worshipper and smoked. These days I don’t smoke (thank goodness!!). I still like the sun but I limit my time in it and never allow myself to burn. I’m not really a fan of fake tan – it never looks great on me or maybe I just haven’t found the right one. Sadly, these days I don’t get the sleep that I used to get in my youth but I mostly get by with what I get. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and thanks so much for sharing it! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Kalpanaa May 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Hmmm – I didn’t lie in the sun but we get far too much sun here in India but then again we have more melatonin that protects us. I’m not getting as much sleep as I would like to – just because there is so much to do. But this is a wonderful reminder to get into bed earlier. Smoking -. not really ! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Min May 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      Good for you for not getting sucked into smoking back in the day! You’re lucky to have that extra melatonin to protect you from the sun too! If you can sleep – enjoy a good solid 8 hours a night while you can. I would love to sleep for 8 hours but I generally average 5-6 and on a rare occasion sometimes get 7! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Cherie May 12, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I spent my childhood and young 20’s in the sun. Now I can see all of those years in the sunspots on my face, and the wrinkles. But, I still don’t know if I would (if given the chance) change a thing. I loved my years in the sun!
    I was never a smoker, so no issues there. But sleep, oh how I miss being able to sleep. All those years working the night shift, and the sleep pattern changes of being a mother…I am afraid I will never get a good night’s sleep again.

    • Reply Min May 17, 2018 at 8:05 am

      I loved my years in the sun too Cherie and truth be known, I still enjoy a bit of time in the sun. The difference now though is I don’t spend so long out there and never allow myself to burn. I do hope you get a good nights sleep again! Don’t give up on that one. xo

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