My Last Official Birthday

Hot Flash with Barbara Bishop| In two weeks, I’m going to have my last official birthday. I will be 59. Shhh, don’t tell. I certainly don’t act like 59, and most people guess my age to be 49. I have a few tricks that I’ve used over the years to maintain my youthful look.

I’ve talked to many women who shrug and say, oh well. I was young once. It’s too much of a hassle to keep it all up. Ladies, I’m certainly not giving up looking my best. And it does not take hours or thousands of dollars to maintain a youthful look.

With skin rejuvenation products, facial treatments that don’t involve surgery, and hair care products, there are plenty of options for women over 50 who want to keep and enhance their natural beauty.

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Your skin seems like it’s the first to go when you age. I was blessed with beautiful skin from my grandmother, who had no wrinkles until she was 90 years old, so I’m very lucky. But I still continue to tweak it. I’ve included a few of my top tips, below.

8 Natural Beauty Tips for Your Skin

• A few simple steps are all you need to care for your skin as you get older. These basic beauty tips can get you started.

• If you smoke, stop. Research shows that smoking prematurely ages your skin. I smoked at 16. I got a bad cold at 17, and stopped. Thank goodness for colds!

• Avoid sunbathing and tanning salons. When I was in my 20s, the rage for getting the best face tan was using foil and baby oil. I’m surprised my head didn’t blow up! And I’m lucky that it did not cause major sun damage. Now I avoid the sun. Who knew? Contrary to what most people do, stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The sun’s rays are the strongest then. If you must be outside, wear a protective hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sunglasses. Freckles, age spots, and blotchy complexions are linked to sun exposure. Kinda dorky, but you’ll be a beautiful dork.

• Wear sunscreen religiously. Use products with at least 7 percent of zinc oxide and a SPF 30 or higher – with both UVB and UVA protection every day. Sun damage can result in such changes as fine wrinkles and an uneven skin tone. Even if you are not going to the beach, you can get too much sun exposure driving around town. Get in the habit of wearing sunscreen every day, sunshine or not.

Check your skin often for skin cancer. If there are skin changes that worry you, call your doctor right away. Older, fair-skinned people are at high risk for cancer and must have a yearly check. It could be something small that can easily be remedied, but it also can be deadly like melanoma. I wouldn’t take the gamble. Plus, when I go to my dermatologist, I get all kinds of cool samples.

• Soothe dry skin. Use a humidifier. Also use moisturizing soaps and lotions. See your doctor if you still have issues.

Eat right and hydrate. Good nutrition helps the body repair skin. Drinking lots of water helps hydrate skin from the inside out. The only problem with drinking all that water is that I wish I could pee and drive at the same time!

• Try anti-aging products. If you’re over age 50, over-the-counter creams and lotions can help enhance your natural beauty by rejuvenating your skin. Pentapeptides (a chemical compound in many new products) may help prompt skin cells to produce more collagen, which is the support structure that gives skin a firmer look. Prescription treatments and retinoid creams are also options. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in my lifetime trying to find the perfect moisturizer and foundation. My go-to brands are NARS and Sheishido.

• Know about skin treatments. Injections of Botox can ease wrinkles in the upper third of your face. It’s inexpensive, doesn’t hurt too much and the results are amazing. Chemical peels can remove fine lines and smooth skin, especially around the eyes and mouth. Wrinkle fillers can plump up your skin and erase fine lines. I’ve done them both and both are very effective and not terribly expensive. Microdermabrasion erases ultra-fine lines, rejuvenates your complexion, and improves skin tone and color. Laser resurfacing can improve sun-damaged skin, scars, wrinkles, and other facial problems. I’ve had microdermabrasion. It removes dead skin cells, and leaves you face very dewy, exposing fresh skin that was hiding behind dead skin. When I get a facial, it’s included in my facial. Ladies, you don’t have to have surgery to look young. Besides, no one needs those big, honking lips, or have a face lift where you’re stretched so much that you can’t close your mouth or eyes. What were women thinking when they did this? Eeeww.

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