Put your best face forward: Three easy ways to age well

Help slow down the aging process by wearing sunscreen, eating healthful foods and choosing not to smoke.

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Barbara Quinn / The Monterey County Herald

I didn’t like being called “freckle face” when I was a kid. So when my mom took me to the pediatrician for a routine check up, I asked him if he could make my freckles go away. He kindly told me he could, “but you will never be able to go out in the sun again or your freckles will come back.” So I got used to being “freckle face.”

Freckles may be the least of our skin worries as we grow older. Like it or not, gravity tugs our skin downward each decade after the age of 35 or so. And there is really no such thing as anti-aging. The best we can do is to age well, according to dermatologist Dr. Raja Sivamani at a recent webinar sponsored by the Almond Board of California (yes, almonds can be good for our skin).

I was fascinated with the photos Dr. Sivamani showed us that compared the faces of 60-something identical twins. One was a non-smoker. The other a smoker. Can we influence the rate that our skin shows the signs of aging? Definitely, yes!

Smoking, for example, puts a tremendous amount of oxidative stress on the skin. The result: A face that ages rapidly.

“Photoaging” is the damage to our skin caused by sun exposure. It shows up in the form of wrinkles, dark spots and leathery skin.

Besides not smoking and the dedicated use of sunscreen, we can also protect our skin from the inside out with certain nutrient components, says Dr. Sivamani.

Carotenoids — various color pigments in plants — are photoprotective, for example. That means they work like a sunscreen to guard against sun damage. These carotenoids include lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes and watermelon red, beta carotene that gives orange and green color to carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and other greens and astaxanthin (asta-zan-thin), a lesser known carotenoid responsible for the reddish pigment in salmon and other marine animals.

While Sivamani advocates certain dietary supplements to achieve healthier skin, he says eating whole food sometimes has a better impact.

Almonds are a good example. They offer a good source of dietary fiber (fiber feeds the good bacteria in our gut which can promote healthy skin, believe it or not) and vitamin E, which helps protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun. One recent clinical trial found that older men and women had slower wrinkle development after eating a handful of almonds every day for 4 months.

No, there is no magic formula that will stop our skin from its downward sag. But each time we put on sunscreen, consume healthful foods or choose not to smoke, we help slow down the aging process.

Now is the time to start, says Sivamani. Our choices over time can really help us put our best faces forward.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition.” Visit www.barbaraquinnessentialnutrition.com for more.

Talk to us

More in Life

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche. Ceviche includes raw seafood — in this case, shrimp — that is “cooked” with lime juice, so buying good-quality fresh shrimp is a key element of this recipe. Those with health concerns prohibiting them from consuming raw seafood can saute the chopped shrimp in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and then chill in the refrigerator before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. (Lauren J. Mapp/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Pineapple recipes offer a slice of summer sunshine

Here are three tropical dishes that either don’t need to be cooked or don’t require turning on the oven.

USA, Washington, Royal Slope. Glamping at Stillwater Creek vineyard
Northwest’s sauvignon blanc offers summertime refreshment

This white wine is ideal alongside grilled chicken, sushi or poached white fish, lentils and green vegetables.

Queso fundido with chorizo
Queso fundido with chorizo is the Mexican version of fondue

The hot dip made with ooey gooey cheeses is the perfect way to kick off a meal of tacos or enchiladas.

Lamb Cumin Miso Donburi With Onsen Tamago. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Richard Vines
A Japanese rice bowl with lamb and egg from a London chef

The egg is the trickiest part. If you haven’t poached an egg this way before, it’s worth practicing ahead of time.

After the house became too noisy during pandemic mayhem, this working mom moved her office to the driveway. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Her pop-up home office makes pandemic life easier — and quieter

After the house became too noisy, this working mom found silence in the tent trailer on the driveway.

Neuschwanstein, “Mad” King Ludwig’s dream. (Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli, Rick Steves’ Europe)
Rick Steves revisits three enchanted German castles

The nation’s castles date back to medieval times, and today serve as amusement parks and classrooms.

New: Try our online puzzles

These are quick and fun, and you can play on your mobile device or your computer.

Having trouble concentrating? Put down the phone! (Dreamstime)
Making the most of your reading time during the pandemic

By Laurie Hertzel Star Tribune By Laurie Hertzel / Star Tribune (Minneapolis)… Continue reading

Dr. Paul on telemedicine and the changing face of health care

Hundreds of patients are seeing their doctors through video visits because of the pandemic. There will be no going back.

Most Read