For centuries the female of the species has fought the outer reflections of aging- wrinkles, age spots, dry skin and poor skin color. The main defense was usually a moisturizing lotion applied directly to the skin to prevent dryness. Those that could afford it might resort to various kinds of surgical procedures to tighten and lift sagging skin around the eyes and chin. Not many options to choose from. Once, only a womanly pursuit, men now find themselves needing to take better care of their skin.

Thanks mainly to the revolution in the natural health care industry, driven by a hungry market of consumers we now have an entire arsenal of new products available to battle telltale signs of aging. The shelves now lined with natural beauty care products can make choosing confusing if you don’t know what to look for. But before we look at some of the newest and best products that can help you look younger, let’s look on the inside first.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and is a direct reflection of internal harmony and health. The skin has several important jobs including insulation, excretion of certain waste products as well as absorption, and protects us from the outside world. As we age the skin naturally looses it elasticity through use and abuse, over exposure to sun and wind, smoking, illness, poor diet and frowning. Frowning uses 72 muscles in the face and deepens the unattractive downward lines, where smiling only uses 12 and draws the lines of the face upward and outward.

Care and feeding of the skin includes a balanced diet of whole foods, grains, fruits, vegetables and plenty of fresh pure water. Sulfur containing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi are particularly good to help keep the skin surface smooth. Other important supplements that feed the skin internally are vitamin B complex, vitamins A & E, and primrose oil. You can also feed your skin externally with cocoa butter, jojoba oil, sesame oil, aloe vera and citrus seed extracts high in vitamins A, C, & E.

Here’s what else the experts have to say:

After the age of 13 soap is out for the face. It is too drying and tends to leave a film on the skin that clogs the pores and keeps the skin from breathing. In it’s place use a moisturizing cleanser that does not contain alcohol followed by a toner. The toner will help tighten pores yet allow the skin to breathe.

Two-three times weekly use a moisturizing mask of citrus enzyme. My favorite is a green papaya enzyme by Zia Cosmetics. These enzyme masks exfoliate outer dead skin cells and allow newer cells to be more fully moisturized. Your skin will have a newer softer feel and a natural glow.

An antioxidant moisturizing cream with vitamin C is next. Apply twice daily. Vitamin C applied externally has been proven to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Exercise your face. Sagging skin reflects underlying muscle tone. Firmed toned facial muscles naturally reduce sagging and the hollowness that appears in the cheek muscles and neck with aging. Use a spring-loaded facial exerciser that fits in the mouth. They exercise many of the major muscle groups around the mouth, neck and cheeks or learn a facial exercising system. Both are very effective.

Regardless of your age you can have more youthful looking skin. Work first with foods, pure water, inner balance and peace. And, remember a smile is always your best beauty cream. Till next time, Rebecca.