“Carol, you look amazing! What’s your secret?”
If you said this to me in conversation over lunch one day, first I’d reply, “Thank you! You’re so kind!”
Then I’d say it’s not about doing just one thing, but it’s a set of lifestyle changes that you must embrace. It’s an approach I’ve chosen to create over the last decade to de-age myself and restore my vital, exuberant energy and appearance.
I’ve found that there are plenty of low-cost, easy, ordinary ways to look younger.
I’d like to share some signs of premature aging and my secrets to anti-aging. I’m confident if any of these work for you, you’ll feel revitalized from the inside out.
Signs of Premature Aging
First, let’s look at the signs of aging so you’ll know how to spot them when they make their debut. Do you recognize any of these premature aging signs?
Noticeable loss of a glowing complexion
As we age, our complexions naturally lose some of their youthful glow.
Although this is a natural process, it doesn’t have to happen unnaturally early. You can stimulate your skin to maintain a youthful vibrancy with proper skin care products.
For example, a 5% to 20% glycolic acid pad can improve the overall look of facial skin. If you have sensitive skin, start with the lower percentage and if you have oily skin you may need a higher percentage.
Alternate the glycolic treatment nightly with a retinol-based product. This routine can help you promote collagen production and plump up the skin, so it looks more youthful.
Some people just naturally have dark circles under their eyes and others develop them due to lifestyle habits like smoking, tanning, getting poor sleep, drinking too much alcohol, or experiencing persistent stress.
Dark circles arise from hyperpigmentation, thinning skin, and constricted blood vessels near the eyes. Place cold cucumbers or tea bags on the area below your eyes for an instant eye-brightening effect. Cold compresses also work, and be sure to drink plenty of water to support eye and skin health.
In terms of reasonably-priced dark circle treatments, try antioxidant skincare products and those that contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, kojic acid, azelaic acid, and topical vitamin C.
Fine lines tend to develop around the eyes, nose, and mouth due to the aging process. Without treatment, they can deepen into permanent creases in our faces.
The key to addressing fine lines is to soften the skin. Use a daily moisturizer that includes line-fighting treatments like alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Deep peels, dermabrasion, ultrasound therapy, and laser resurfacing are also options if they’re within your budget. Injections like Botox can give you results for a while, but don’t last forever.
You may want to try natural topical options, like an everyday moisturizer, before investigating more intensive (and expensive!) possibilities.
Dry, inelastic skin
Inelastic skin, also known as elastosis, can develop over time due to the natural impact of aging plus sun damage and exposure to the elements. Protect your skin with an SPF sunscreen of 15 at the absolute minimum, which can lessen the impact of aging by 24% or more according to recent research.
Supplements like vitamin C and vitamin E can be very helpful for your skin cells. However, follow dosage amounts exactly, because according to the Mayo Clinic you can actually damage your healthy skin by taking excessive doses of vitamins in the hopes of looking younger.
Dull and faded skin
Perhaps your skin simply looks dull, like its color has faded over time.
Before assuming it’s just your natural skin tone, see a doctor to ensure there isn’t a deeper problem. Yellow skin can indicate a problem with the liver. Gray skin can be a sign of kidney issues. Blue means you may be experiencing reduced lung function.
If these issues have been ruled out, you may need a daily moisturizer plus some of the topical treatments and supplements discussed above.
According to the latest dermatology research, your first two treatment options for wrinkles should be topical retinoids and nonprescription wrinkle creams. Retinol, antioxidants, and peptides have all been proven to reduce the look of wrinkles.
A healthy diet with limited alcohol intake has also been shown to have a positive effect on the skin, including wrinkles. When you eat lots of wrinkle-fighting foods like green veggies, avocados, carrots, olive oil (healthy fats), and berries, you are fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your skin healthy and plump.
Aging can cause sagging in our skin, which creates the look of jowls along our jawline and the classic flappy underarm for women. Although sagging skin is tough to combat, it’s not a lost cause.
Dermatologists at the American Academy of Dermatology have found that firming skincare products produce surface-level effects but can’t generally penetrate into the underlying levels of the skin. Noninvasive skin tightening procedures, like ultrasound, laser therapy, and radiofrequency, have shown positive effects for skin tightening.
Fat on the belly
Belly fat accumulates as we age because of hormonal changes that happen later in life. Menopause and muscle loss contribute to weight gain that sits right around the belly and hips.
It’s a myth that any cream or gadget can help you target the belly specifically for fat loss. Instead, eat a healthy diet with the appropriate amount of calories, get regular exercise, and prevent body-wide weight gain.
Fat on the back of arms
Many women find themselves wondering why they seem to be gaining weight on the backs of their arms. The answer: It’s a combination of hormonal, genetic, and lifestyle factors.
Hormones like estrogen cause lipid deposits to develop in certain parts of your body, and your DNA influences which parts of the body tend to be fattiest for you. Arm-strengthening exercises blunt the effect of fat buildup.
Many people notice their hands seem drier as they age. This is due to the thinning of the skin and other skin aging changes that cause a drying effect.
Use a moisturizing lotion daily to slather your hands in moisture. After washing and drying your hands, reapply the lotion to prevent a resurgence of dryness.
Try sleeping with a humidifier in your room, and it should improve the dryness you experience in your skin. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to prevent dry skin.
Sleep cycles are interrupted
There’s a long list of reasons you may experience poor sleep as you age. The National Sleep Foundation says poor sleep comes from a changing sleep architecture, which may include:
- Hormonal changes
- Circadian rhythms
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Relationship/sexual problems
- Environmental causes
- Other health issues that interfere with sleep
Get to the root cause of what’s causing poor sleep quality. Is your room too hot to sleep comfortably? Does your partner snore? Are your legs restless at night?
Pursue a sleep study that could reveal your underlying sleep problems. Most aging adults still need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but it often helps to go to bed earlier than you used to.
Too little or too much sleep can both be bad for you. Sleep fewer than 7 hours per night and you have a 12% greater risk of early death; sleep more than 9 hours and you could decrease your total lifespan by as much as 38%.
Maybe it’s getting harder to get started in the morning and you feel bleary-eyed for a while after waking.
While you might want to turn to a cup of coffee, research shows exercise and eating a healthy diet are actually more effective at combating fatigue. The National Institute on Aging says these are the top ways to fight fatigue:
- Low impact forms of exercise, like yoga or tai chi
- Avoid naps over 30 minutes during the day
- Ensure you don’t have an underlying illness
- Check your medications for sleepiness side effects
- Avoid junk food, smoking, alcohol, and caffeine
- Go to bed at a regular time and don’t stay up too late
20 Lifestyle Secrets That Will Keep You From Aging Prematurely
Now let’s look at the 20 health tips anyone can use to fight premature aging and embrace your unique energy at any stage of life.
1. Learn your Energy Type and LIVE it.
First, make sure you know your personal Energy Type because you’ll age more quickly in your appearance when you’re not living in alignment with your true energy.
This misalignment of your true self creates energetic stress that will age you on all levels – mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am over a decade into knowing and living true to my Energy Type, so I know this has been foundational to everything else I’ve done.
2. Start Dressing Your Truth.
The fashion industry tends to age you faster than anything by masking your true beauty with clothes, accessories, makeup, and hairstyles that do not honor your Type of beauty.
When you dress true to your Type of beauty, it takes years off of you! (Actually, it helps you look amazing at the age you really are.)
And I don’t say that just because I created the Dressing Your Truth program. See for yourself how real women dressing their truth express this anti-aging effect.
3. Heal your emotional issues (And lose the emotional weight!)
There is no anti-aging procedure that can make up for emotional pain and repressed emotions. Our emotional wounds show in our faces and bodies. I’ve spent many years healing my life, and the past few years I’ve moved some big emotional mountains.
People will say to me, “You look like you’ve lost weight!”
Well, it’s not weight loss, but I’ve lost years of emotional trauma that was weighing me down. That weight is now gone and it shows in my face and body.
4. Change the way you think.
Do you still think in terms of lack and struggle and not enough? I wrote Remembering Wholeness 14 years ago about this very process. And today I’m grateful I have trained my mind to be my ally in creating an amazing, prosperous life.
Nearly every day, I have the thought, “How much healthier can I get?” I truly believe these thoughts, and I am excited to see what they create.
5. Clean up your diet.
Everything you eat either ages you or prevents aging. So I choose to eat real, whole foods. I’ve gotten rid of sugar and white flour and replaced them with green smoothies.
I eat all organic, local real food. I tend to eat more of a paleo diet, with occasional healthy grains like quinoa and oats. Here are some resources to help you get started, but choose what is correct for you:
- Saving Dinner
- Green Smoothie Girl
- The Bulletproof Exec’s store
- Super Healthy Kids – I’m a fan of their Premium Meal Planning service.
Moving your body releases endorphins, supports the immune system, and prevents high blood pressure and heart disease. I choose to work out 5 days a week and the 7-Minute Workout app is my best friend.
It really only takes 7 minutes! Just put it in your schedule and do it. Your body will thank you!
7. Get a monthly facial.
Most women consider getting a facial an act of self-pampering. I’ve been getting a facial every month for close to three years now. I’m fortunate that my esthetician knows her Energy Type and understands Energy Profiling.
So she knows I am a Type 3 woman who tends to experience hyper-pigmentation, deeper facial lines, and breakouts. My esthetician, true to her Type 4 nature, has been able to help me perfect my skin.
I no longer have breakouts, the hyperpigmentation is minimal, my facial lines have been reduced, and my skin is the smoothest it has ever been.
8. Use a healthy sunscreen.
I’m an active person who is outdoors quite a bit, especially since tennis is one of my favorite hobbies. I always protect my face and body with a healthy sunscreen and a huge visor.
This protects my face because I love the sun and the wonderful vitamin D benefit I receive from its nourishing rays.
9. Supplement wisely.
We are missing key nutrients in our standard diet. We need these nutrients and minerals to have energy and vitality as we age.
Take supplements according to your doctor’s recommendations, and remember the importance of your fatty acids, vitamins, like vitamin E and vitamin B12. Watch fatigue leave and fresh energy come!
10. Learn about the many advances with anti-aging treatments and procedures.
This is a world I knew very little about Botox years ago! I had no idea how far skin science has come. I decided to educate myself so I sought out a local cosmetic surgeon to learn more.
There are numerous non-invasive treatments and procedures that help eliminate wrinkles, rebuild collagen, eliminate hyperpigmentation, and more. I benefited from a few of the newer non-invasive treatments that have helped my body’s natural processes restore youth and vitality to my face.
In my practice of daily 10-minute meditation, I focus on my body and flow energy to support my body in the practice of regeneration, rather than degeneration. You can do the same, and feel the youthful energy flow.
12. Watch what you say.
Do you declare to yourself that you’re “getting old?” If so, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy! That declaration will age you just as fast as the wrong hairstyle or clothes from 3 decades ago.
With anything in life, be kind to yourself and be kind to others.
13. Invest in anti-aging skincare.
Maybe you saw Annmarie Gianni on a recent Evening With Carol. (If not, be sure to watch it!)
Annemarie has developed an incredible line of skincare that many of the Dressing Your Truth Experts and I personally use and love. It’s all-natural, organic and it’s simply wonderful.
14. Sleep on your back.
Three years ago I started sleeping exclusively on my back. I did this to preserve my complexion rather than causing facial lines from sleeping with my face pressed on a pillow for 8 hours.
I think gravity may be helping me since my skin is pulled tighter towards my hairline while I sleep! I found this pillow makes it very comfortable to sleep on your back.
15. Invest in your smile.
I was blessed with very nice teeth, but I do whiten them. A white smile looks youthful and inviting, especially if you do a lot of public speaking.
It’s a lot more affordable and easy today to whiten your teeth. Other dental procedures to improve your smile vary in cost but in my opinion, they are worth the benefits.
16. Play up your eyes.
Your eyes truly are the window to your soul. Highlight them! You can do this with makeup, or you can invest in something more.
Eyelash extensions are fairly new on the beauty scene. I’ve had eyelash extensions now for about a year and I am still amazed at the effect they have on my appearance.
17. Consider coloring your hair.
I choose to color my hair because I enjoy it and I feel I look my best this way.
However, if you choose to keep your hair gray, I suggest you select a hairstyle that honors your Type of beauty, like the many women who have been thrilled with their gray hair makeovers with Live Your Truth.
18. Get your nails done.
Getting a manicure and pedicure doesn’t have to be just for special occasions. It’ll improve the health of your hands and feet – and it feels great, too!
19. Care for your sexuality.
Unfortunately, it is too common for women to experience feelings of shame that are connected to their sexual energy.
I know this experience personally, as a result of being deeply wounded sexually in my childhood. But I am grateful for the healing I have experienced over the last 25 years of my life.
In recent years, as part of my healing, I have focused on learning more about my body’s sexual function, my sexual physiology, and how to take ownership of this intimate part of myself. I studied some enlightening books that taught me how important the female orgasm is to a woman’s overall health and vitality.
One enlightening book on this subject is Vitamin O: Why Orgasms are Vital to a Woman’s Health and Happiness, and How to Have Them Every Time!
The author, Dr. Natasha Janina Valdez, teaches that the female orgasm is one of the most powerful anti-aging functions of the female body.
What I learned in her book helped me experience my sexual energy at a new level of personal pleasure in my intimate experience with my husband. It has provided me with numerous health benefits, including more supple skin!
20. Love yourself.
I spent the first 48 years of my life hating my body. (Which I’m certain was prematurely aging it!)
But now I’ve spent the last 10 years changing that practice to one of loving, appreciating, and believing in my body. Please join me in this new practice. Take it one step at a time.
The secret to looking and feeling your best isn’t just one thing. It’s an entire lifestyle approach. I have chosen to de-age myself and restore my vital, exuberant energy and appearance. You can do the same.
If you already see some signs of premature aging, remember it’s never too late to address them. Take what is useful from my list of habits, and make your own list of what is correct for you.
As women, we are way too hard on ourselves and each other. Let’s change that.
I invite you to join the Live Your Truth lifestyle and express yourself authentically according to your personal Energy Type. There’s an entire community of women here to support and nourish you, including me.
God Bless You,