Appearance

An important element of keeping healthy is your attitude. People who think positively will live longer than those who are negative, or those who succumb to depression.
“Positive Thinking” is a start, but do you have an underlying concern about how you appear to others? Expressions like self-image and self-esteem come to mind, part of which is dependent on how you feel (or think others feel) about your personality, achievements and abilities.
But important also for many people is their perception of how they physically appear to others. One aspect of this is body-image, but probably far more common is a concern about facial appearance, as this is often what drives a first impression of age.

For people in their 60s or later, there’s of course the realization that you are not just getting older, but you’re also looking older. Some people don’t worry about this at all, but many others do, and it chips away at their goal of having a positive attitude.

Signs of appearing old that you may not welcome:
● Your hair is going (or has gone) gray.
● You’ve a lot more wrinkles on your face, and you feel they’re obvious to everyone.
● There are visible issues with your teeth.
● (Men) You’re showing severe male pattern baldness.

Maybe you don’t mind looking old, but if it bothers you, and is affecting your confidence and self-esteem, what can you do about it?

Skin

Aging skin on your face, with sags and wrinkles, is a clear giveaway to your age. Some of this is caused by sun damage, so it’s vital to use sun blocker if you don’t want it to get worse. For men, a sun tan lotion with a high SPF is ideal, and for women the same, or else a foundation or moisturizer with a similar SPF.
SPF gives the protection rating, usually anywhere from 15 to 50. Most skin specialists recommend at least SPF 30.

If you already have those wrinkles, then for women, of course, sensibly applied makeup can take years off your appearance, and conceal marks and blemishes. But beware that over-use is as much an indicator of old age as the wrinkles. There are many videos on YouTube that show how mature women can achieve a good and subtle result with makeup.

Hundreds of skin products are marketed as ‘anti-age’ but nearly all make this claim simply because they contain sunblock. If you actually want to reverse aging in the skin, the only proven skin treatments that have some (limited) effect are those containing a significant amount of Retinol or Hyaluronic Acid. For both these compounds, look on the label or container for the percentage of the active ingredient.
If the percentage isn’t stated, then the quantity is probably too small to be effective.
And don’t expect instant results. It’ll take months of daily use before you can expect to see any improvement in your skin texture.

If you want to go further, without going as far as cosmetic surgery, then there are treatments on offer at your skin clinic or surgery, for improving your skin, remedying defects and/or making your appearance more youthful. Some of these treatments require local anesthetic, and most are expensive!

● Small spots, warts or lumps on the face or body can be removed by a doctor specializing in the treatment of skin conditions.
● Facial hair can be an issue for women, and this can be removed permanently using Laser or IPL devices, at many beauty salons.
● Chemical peels strip off the surface skin cells, to allow new ‘younger’ cells to replace them, and freshen the surface.
● Botox is of course one of the most popular facial treatments, for example to hide brow lines. It works by stopping muscle activity, and needs repeating every few months.
● Injectables like Juvederm and Profhilo are also popular, to fill crevices and lines, and again they need repeats. Generally, they use hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring compound in the skin, but which declines with age.

Hair

Graying hair can be colored, for either men or women. This generally works fine, particularly if you stick to something close to your natural color. Older women used to be identifiable by their pink or blue rinse, but that’s only practiced now by those who are old enough not to care! For men, ‘Just for Men’ is the usual option.
But with all these products, do carry out a sensitivity test first.

For men, thinning hair on the scalp can be addressed with lotions like Propecia, but they have limited effect, and have no effect at all on some men. A more permanent approach is hair transplanting, but unless you’ve Elton John’s money, it’s expensive and results often aren’t up to expectations. Sadly, we men await science to provide better options.

Teeth

Your teeth are an important aspect of your appearance. It goes without saying that you should be having regular visits to the dentist for cleaning, inspection, and repairs. But what else can you do?
The most obvious age factor is yellowing of the teeth, and for this your dentist can apply an effective whitening treatment. Sadly, ‘whitening’ toothpastes and dental strips have little effect, and home whitening kits can cause problems if not used carefully.

If you have a missing tooth, with a visible gap, and which you’re self-conscious about, you could consider having an implant. They are expensive and, like all dentistry, there is some pain involved. But the results can be dramatic. If you can’t face the pain, or the cost, then a partial denture might be worth thinking about.

Sources

Video on makeup for mature women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-SZA1tkViU

WebMD on Retinol: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/retinoids-for-aging-skin#1

Harvard Medical School on Retinol: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/do-retinoids-really-reduce-wrinkles

Mayo Clinic on facial fillers: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/facial-fillers/about/pac-20394072

Link to my post on “Positive Thinking

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