What is the Best Way to Age Gracefully?

Most young people give little thought as to how the choices they make every day can and will directly affect their skin. Nonetheless, beauty is connected to a holistic, healthy lifestyle, and I've increasingly become more conscious of implementing healthy habits that reflect well on my skin's appearance and align with Dr. Ellen Marmur's philosophy. As a 21-year-old, my approach to Preservation Aging® is this: be proactive. The more work and care I put into preserving my skin's youthful glow, the better able l'II be to prevent signs of aging and the fewer skin-related issues I'll have to worry about in the future.

How a Good Sleep Schedule Helps You Age Gracefully

As a college student, aging gracefully was not a priority of mine at all. Sleep is often one of the first sacrifices I'd make while trying to balance studying, extracurriculars, and maintaining my social life. However, it's important to realize that these things are impossible to maintain without prioritizing being well rested; I've started prioritizing sleep so I can be productive throughout the day, whether that means not using my phone in bed or choosing to have an early night in. Sleep is key if you want to age gracefully.

Exercise: the Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

My definition of exercise has expanded from being just a grueling workout that leaves you dripping in sweat, to any movement that makes you feel energized. My rule of thumb is to get in 60 minutes of exercise a day, even if it's just a walk around my neighborhood. This is the easiest way I keep my body moving and get some form of daily exercise without even realizing it, especially while living in New York City!

A Better Diet Leads to Better Skin

Fulfilling my body's needs by filling it with clean, nutritious food is a very satisfying feeling and a fantastic way to age gracefully. The best way to maintain full control of what ingredients you put into your body is by choosing to cook meals at home rather than resorting to eating out. I find that I lean more towards ordering takeout when I feel lazy or tired after a day at work or if I have a night class that ends late.

To counteract that urge, I began meal prepping on the weekends. By making it a habit to prepare hearty salads for the week or store pre-washed and cut vegetables to grab on the go, I've been able to hold myself accountable for eating healthy.

As a college student who lives alone, l've had to make many one-serving, quick meals that are still healthy and delicious. Choosing to cook at home more is a good discipline to make a habit, not only have I become a good cook, but I've also learned that tasty, nutritious meals don't need to be complicated or time consuming- they often require simple ingredients.

Some of my favorite, staple foods that are easy to cook with and have great skincare benefits are:

Salmon: full of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the skin, easy to cook in the airfryer for an under fifteen minute meal, and so versatile to marinate with different ingredients based on your preference. My favorite ways to eat salmon are by making teriyaki bowls, or with lemon, garlic and a side of roasted broccoli or another green vegetable.

• Avocado: a great source of healthy fats and filled with vitamins like biotin that nourish the skin, improving complexion and hydration. One of my favorite things to make as a quick snack is fresh guacamole, but I also put avocados on my salads and on toast for a filling breakfast.

Dark chocolate: Every now and then, we all need to indulge in a sweet treat, and what's better than one that also has health benefits? Dark chocolate is not only delicious, but it also contains antioxidants that can lead to a number of skincare benefits. While I prefer savory over sweet foods, I typically end the night with a piece of dark chocolate, and I especially love the dark chocolate-covered almonds from Trader Joe's- thev're alwavs stocked in my fridge!

How Proper Hydration Supports Healthy Aging

What you drink is equally as important as what you eat if you'd like to age gracefully. My best tip for staying hydrated is to find a water bottle that makes drinking water feel cool (no pun intended!) and self-caring, rather than like a chore; I never leave the house without my 32 oz. Hydroflask, and ever since using this bottle I've noticed myself wanting to drink more water.

Sometimes water can get boring, so drinking green tea (my preference is without milk, a little honey) is another great way that I stay hydrated. Green tea is filled with antioxidants that hydrate the skin- improving elasticity, thickness, moisture, redness and sun damage. I don't drink coffee, and while green tea does have caffeine (a diuretic), it's in far less amounts than coffee or even black tea, so the dehydrating effect of green tea is minimal in comparison, and it's unlikely to negatively affect the body unless more than six cups are consumed a day.

Sunscreen: the Ultimate Asset in Aging Gracefully

The number one thing I hear from adults in my personal life and on social media when discussing their biggest skincare regrets is that they didn't wear sunscreen when they were younger, especially on their face and neck. While the impact of the sun's UV rays is more detrimental to the skin in the summer, it's crucial to apply SPF year-round.

Suncare is tremendously important and cannot be stressed enough. Especially because we cannot always feel the harsh elements of the sun in real time. During the summer I often go makeup free, and l'II choose to wear just a layer of tinted sunscreen for a fresh glow. When I do choose to wear makeup, l'lI put on sunscreen as a base, but always after cleansing and moisturizing.

The Importance of Mental Health on Graceful Aging

Mental health is perhaps the most underestimated factor when it comes to its impact on skin and overall appearance aging gracefully, but I truly believe that the way we feel on the inside gets reflected on the outside. Stress causes the body to make more oil-producing hormones like cortisol, and oily skin can lead to clogged pores, breakouts and acne. On the other hand, feelings of happiness trigger good hormones like dopamine to be released; dopamine increases circulation and strengthens your skin barrier, giving you glowing skin.

Additionally, mental health is the foundation for skincare because it's what drives your motivation to maintain all the other factors of health that impact the skin (diet, sleep, exercise, etc.)

Managing my stress and promoting happiness has become a priority of mine. Journaling has always been therapeutic for me as an outlet for dealing with my emotions, and one ritual I began at the beginning of this year was writing down one thing each day that made me happy, smile or laugh.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned that changed my life entirely is that staying aware of who choose to surround myself with-particularly embracing those who support and lift me up rather than those who bring unnecessary stress and negative energy-has directly improved my mental health and my skin's overall appearance. All areas of our overall health that contribute to the skin's well-being are intertwined, therefore it's crucial to give equal attention to each of them.

Want to Learn More About Preservation Aging®?

The pursuit of graceful aging is not merely a task for the future, but a journey that unfolds in the choices we make each day. From the rejuvenating power of a good night's sleep, to the transformative effects of positive mental health practices, at MMSkincare we encourage readers of all ages to adopt a comprehensive approach to skincare.