The One Anti-Aging Vitamin Your Skin Needs

 

If you are a beauty product lover like me, then you have probably tried about a million products. I have no less than five serums that I currently alternate between to maximize hydration, reduce fine lines and obtain that coveted youthful glow.

 

I know it’s overkill. In fact, you only need 4-5 products in your skincare arsenal for great, glowing skin and to prevent the damage that causes wrinkling, sagging, pigmentation and other effects of aging.

 

If you are going to use one vitamin on your skin, I believe it should be vitamin C. My personal favorite is an antioxidant serum with a 10% concentration of pure vitamin C from SkinCeuticals called Phloretin CF.  Vitamin C serums are absorb more readily by the skin than creams and other formulations, so you really are getting the most effective product with a serum and not wasting your money on something that doesn’t work.

 

antioxidant serum, topical vitamin C

 

So why is vitamin C *the* skin vitamin of choice, you ask?  Well for starters, there is a ton of research supporting the abilities of this powerful antioxidant to reduces the signs of aging and prevent further damage.

 

Studies have shown that topically-applied C can:

  • Reduce pigmentation (goodbye unattractive age spots)
  • Protect your skin from damaging effects from the sun 
  • Aid in collagen synthesis (hello firmness and elasticity)
  • Reduce inflammation, helping with conditions such as acne & rosacea

 

While vitamin C isn’t the only vitamin that an help give you great younger-looking skin, it’s a really important one. If you are only going to invest in one topical skin product, then topical C will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

For additional benefits, take a multivitamin with at least 100 milligrams of vitamin C and eat foods rich in C like papaya, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries.

 

Do you want to learn more about how you can get the amazing skin you’ve always wanted?



Baby, It’s Cold Outside! My Favorite Winter Dry Skin Fixes

No matter where you live, winter weather can be very drying.  Over the years, I’ve tried countless products to keep my skin from getting too dry.  Some work, others not so much.  Here are a few of my favorites that I think you’ll like too.  Your skin (and lips!) will thank you for it! 🙂

For hands:

I’ve been looking for a hand lotion that was “the one” for years.  Last year, I finally found it – Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl.  I’m telling you… this stuff is the business!  It’s touted as an anti-aging hand and cuticle cream, has an SPF of 25, and it smells amazing.  I wish I could insert a scratch and sniff sticker here, really!!!  It is a bit pricey, but if you are looking for a great hand lotion to keep your hands soft and young-looking then look no further – this is it!

For body:

I also discovered my new favorite body lotion last year, Epicuren Lemongrass After Bath Moisturizer.  Until then I had always bought lotions, used a third to a half of the bottle and gotten sick of it.  This was recommended to me after I had laser hair removal on my legs.  I’m telling you, this is the first time in my life that I remember using an entire bottle of lotion (and I bought the BIG bottle)  Can’t rave about it enough!

 For face:

People are always telling me that I don’t look my age (keep those comments coming, people!).  While I know genes account for some of it, I also believe in my skincare regimen.  I use La Prairie Anti-Aging Day and Night Creams.  The day cream has SPF 30.  Both smell nice and are not too overpowering fragrance-wise.  I swear by these products.  Add a little vitamin C-based serum underneath during the winter months for extra moisture.

For lips:

I find lipstick and lip pencils very drying this time of year. I found a perfect solution to keep a little color on my lips while keeping them from getting all dry and cracked – Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms (my favorite shade is Red Dahlia).

Those are my favorite products to beat dry skin.  What are your favorites?  Tell me about them at the bottom of this post.

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bananas

We were looking to add a little kick to our classic sweet potato side dish a few Thanksgivings ago, and this new favorite was born!

Aside from being delicious, sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which is known for all of the following:

  • Prevention against cancer and heart disease
  • To slow the progression of cataracts
  • To prevent macular degeneration
  • To boost immunity
  • To protect the skin against sunburn
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriasis

Try this take on sweet potato casserole if you like them a little bit sweeter.  This has gotten rave reviews from everyone I’ve ever served.

Ingredients 

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 6  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

  1. Peel sweet potatoes & cut into 2-inch segments.  Boil until you can pierce with a fork or until tender enough to mash (but don’t overcook).
  2. Drain and add to a large pot over low heat for mashing.  Begin to mash with a potato masher while slowly adding the cream & butter.  Mash until  lumps have disappeared.  After the cream & butter are incorporated, add the bananas, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Mash until smooth.  Season to taste with additional salt & pepper.

Other recipes you might like:

Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic Soup

Easy Peasy Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms

Read more about Meatless Monday!

 

The Ultimate Anti-Aging Fix

Why is it that when we talk about aging we tend to focus mainly on our skin?  Is it because that is what is visible to us or the only thing we perceive we can control?

When I talk about prevention as the key to healthy aging, I’m not just talking about wearing sunscreen or having the best anti-aging lotions & potions.

In my post, The Science of Prevention, I talked about the basic preventive measures that are important for a healthy lifestyle:

  •   Not smoking
  •   Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight
  •   Being physically active
  •   Consuming a healthy diet
  •   Not drinking excessively

If you are a regular reader of my blog or newsletter, you will have heard me say this before… genetics only accounts for about 50% of the state of your health.
The other 50% depends on your lifestyle and environmental factors.

What are YOU doing to influence the 50% that you can control?

Even if every woman in your family struggles with being overweight or all of your siblings have high cholesterol, it doesn’t mean that YOU have to!

If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this:

Prevention is the key to good health.

Sometimes the only difference in success and failure is getting the help you need.  To read more about working 1:1 with me and your very own one-of-a-kind Personalized Wellness Plan, click here.

The Asian Superfood Series – Part 1

If you have been following me over the last couple of weeks, you will have seen me eating my way across Asia 🙂

I have eaten some incredibly delicious foods, many of them containing Asian superfoods with surprising healing properties.

One such superfood is wasabi!  I have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of wasabi.  However, when in Rome (or Tokyo, as it were…).  I’ve enjoyed wasabi in sushi on this trip, as well as in marinades in dressings.  You can use a little wasabi in recipes that call for mustard.  With it’s richness in cancer-fighting antioxidants, why not give it ia try?

Another great Asian superfood that I order any time I see on ANY menu is the shitake mushroom.  Shitakes are rich in vitamin B2, zinc, and selenium — which makes them a great anti-cancer food.  They also contain a compound called ergothioneine.  Ergothioneine has many benefits, some of which include, conserving levels of other antioxidants (like vitamin C and vitamin E), as well as protecting against damage from UV radiation.  Try shitake mushrooms in recipes that call for portabello mushroom.  My favorite way to eat them is right off the grill with just a touch of sea salt!

El Scrapeo enjoying shitake mushrooms off a charcoal grillKaren enjoying grilled shitake mushrooms in Tokyo

Karen enjoying grilled shitake mushrooms in Tokyo

I’m off to try new foods now :-))

Join me next week to learn about more Asian superfoods!  If you have any favorites, please share them with me below.  Happy healthy eating!

 

You Can Dance, for Inspiration

 

I started dancing when I was about five years old.  First, I was enrolled in ballet class.  I still remember the sequined orange costume and frilly tutus we wore that year as “Florida Orange Blossoms” in my dance studio’s recital showcasing routines representing each of the fifty United States. 

 

I eventually added tap and jazz to my repertoire, but I quit dance classes when I became a teenager because I thought I was way too cool and way too busy doing things teenagers do like three-way-calling all of my friends to talk about boys.

 

Aside from a semester of ballet in college that I thought would be an easy ‘A,”  it was close to twenty years before I ever took a dance class again.  I was vacationing at a women-only spa in Southern California, and the program offered about a dozen exercise and yoga classes every day.  I didn’t think I had enough rhythm to join the cardio dance classes, even though they looked really fun.  I couldn’t resist on the last day since I heard that a well-known choreographer from the east coast was coming out to teach the class.  That hour was SO MUCH FUN that I stayed for the second dance class and had a ball dancing to tunes from the Grease soundtrack that I’d played about a million times as a kid.

 

Due to my job and other preoccupations, it was still a couple of years before I made dance (or any kind of exercise) part of my regular routine.  I discovered both Zumba and NIA (the acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action) dance at approximately the same time.  While both dance classes, the two are completely different.  In Zumba, you feel like you are in a music video.  You move non-stop, but it is so much fun the sweat and breathlessness doesn’t seem to matter.  NIA is a completely different experience.  While still a cardio workout, NIA emphasizes self-expression, body awareness, and enjoying the movement.  After my first NIA class, I remembered how much I used to love to dance.  Dance has a way of making us feel lighter in spirit, which is great for type-A’s like me who feel the need to control.  

 

Dancing for exercise isn’t a new concept, (remember those infomercials for Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons?) but the popularity has increased in the past couple of years making it pretty easy to find a variety of classes no matter where you live.  In addition to benefits such as a decrease in blood pressure and weight loss dance has also been shown to provide benefits such as improved mood and energy, stress reduction, and increased self-esteem.

 

A study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York with close to 500 participants aged 70 and older measured cognitive activities such reading and doing crossword puzzles as well as physical activities like swimming, golf, and dancing to see if doing any of these activities reduced the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Frequent dancing reduced the risk of dementia by a whopping 76% — way more than any other activity that was studied.

 

There are plenty of dance classes/styles to choose from, so choose something appropriate for your current fitness level.  Start with beginner level class at first and move up as your confidence and skill increases.

 

Want to know how many calories you are burning?  Check out this Calorie Burn Calculator for info on calories burned while dancing and tons of other activities.

 

The most important thing?  Have fun!!

 

Controlling Stress May Be the Key to Fewer Age-Related Diseases

I’ve written about stress before, but I was compelled to write on this topic again after some of the interactions I’ve had this week.

Psychological stress and anxiety can’t be completely avoided, they are a part of life. Did you know that there is a 50% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) for people who deal with chronic work stress? That’s a 50 percent greater chance than the average person has of developing CVD if you are stressed at work and don’t change your environment.

Stress can further increase the diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Before running to the doctor for a prescription to make the symptoms disappear, it is important to identify your stressors. It may be work-related, family-related, or a combination of things. Stress is a reaction. The brain is involved in a person’s stress response (e.g., interprets what is threatening) and then regulates both how your body responds both physiologically and behaviorally.

Studies have found that the following can help decrease your body’s response to stress:

1) Exercise. Exercise increases the level of telomerase produced. Telomerase is an enzyme that protects loss of DNA from important end region of our chromosomes called telomeres. Think of a telomere like the protective piece at the end of a shoestring. Studies have found that elite athletes have very long telomeres.

2) Your Social Network. I’m not just taking about how many Facebook or Twitter followers you have! People with a strong partner relationship and close friendships have been found to be at lower risk for diseases associated with aging and to have less of a stress response to situations such as public speaking (which can evoke fear in many).

3) Better quality of sleep. The average person needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. People who got a better quality of sleep and woke up feeling rested have, on average, longer telomeres than those who suffered from poor quality sleep.

4) Nutrition. Individuals diagnosed with obesity and insulin resistance had shorter telomeres than others, whereas those who consumed a diet containing antioxidants and added supplements such as omega 3s had longer telomeres.

The lesson to take from this is that if we can embrace these preventive measures, we can increase our body’s resilience. As resilience increases, so does our ability to age well.

3 Easy Ways to Get Younger Looking Skin

younger looking skin, reduce wrinkles

Out of the 20,000 – 25,000 genes that comprise the humane genome, researchers have discovered that approximately 1,500 have to do with the aging process. While we can’t influence our genes, there are still many measurable actions that we can take to have great looking skin. Want to know what you can do to keep your skin looking youthful as long as possible? Keep reading…

1. Stop Smoking. Yes… here is yet another reason to QUIT smoking. As you age, your body naturally breaks down collagen which is why skin wrinkling occurs. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and breaks down collagen, causing your skin to age prematurely. Did you know that in as little as 2 weeks after quitting, your circulation begins to improve? Becoming an ex-smoker has many benefits.

Bioderma sunscreen, sunscreen from France

courtesy of Bioderma

 

2. Wear Sunscreen. Beware, sun worshippers! Not only does sun exposure cause premature aging, it is the leading cause of skin cancer. Trust me… I remember days of basking in the sun. Most of us have been there! After having a few moles removed and biopsied in later years, I’m much smarter about wearing sunscreen year-round. Take a lesson from someone who has been there… always apply sunscreen before exposure to sun and reapply often. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, your neck and your lips.

3. Drink more H2O. If your skin lacks moisture, you’re going to have problems. Make sure and drink eight glasses of water per day – more if you are exercising, flying, drinking alcohol or other activities known to cause dehydration. Use a moisturizer that has both hydrating and strengthening effects to maximize moisture retention. Eating foods high in water content like strawberries and broccoli is another way to boost hydration, and with these two in particular, you’ll get a boost of vitamin C as well.

Do you want to know more about easy ways you can get gorgeous, younger-looking skin?