Anti-Aging: Even the World’s Oldest Woman Made Time for It

Anti-aging rituals are becoming part of the lives of younger and younger women. Part of the reason is social, of course — for good or for ill, we live in a world that values youth over age in almost every aspect of life, including appearance.

But part of the reason is also health. As we learn more about the physiology and psychology of aging, we discover that many of the qualities we used to associate with growing older — physical frailty, lines and wrinkles, loss of mental clarity — are actually preventable or at least postponable.

That’s especially true for the health and youthful appearance of our skin. As with many other health areas, skin aging does rely in some part on genetics. But environment and lifestyle play an even bigger role. A lifetime’s exposure to UV radiation, weather, and pollution takes its toll on skin’s clarity and elasticity. As strong and flexible as the amazing skin — our largest organ — is, we test and damage it by exposure to the same oxidation processes that cause rust in unprotected metal.

Our lifestyle choices can also speed — or slow — the aging of our skin. Unprotected UV exposure (including natural or artificial tanning), smoking, substance abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, even a constant diet of junk food can negate any anti-aging steps we might take, no matter how costly.

On the other hand, anti-aging lifestyle choices can be quite simple. The New York Times recently profiled the world’s oldest woman, who passed away on April 15 at the age of 117. Emma Morano credited her longevity and energy — she worked until she was 75, and entertained visitors from around the world until only recently — to the clean air of her home by an Italian lake, her simplified lifestyle of few possessions, the 3 raw eggs she had for breakfast every day, and her freedom from male bossiness after leaving a bad marriage in 1938.

Emma’s way may not be our way, but there are anti-aging strategies found in her example we can put to good use. Spend as much time as possible outdoors in good, clean air. Eat a simple diet rich in proteins, antioxidant fruits and vegetables, and good oils that keep the skin nourished from within. Drink lots of water. Avoid stress. Interact with lots of people.

Emma, old as she was, remained as concerned with her appearance as any younger woman would. “Inside the drawer of her night table,” the Times article noted, “was a supermarket-aisle anti-aging cream that she had applied every evening before going to sleep.” Until recently, she went regularly to the hairdresser, insisting that she couldn’t let her appearance go because so many visitors stopped in to see her unannounced.

We may not be aiming for 117, but anti-aging is a lifelong process. Take a few hints from Emma Morano, and contact us at Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena for a whole range of cosmetic treatments and skin care products that will keep your skin healthy and beautiful. Our cosmetic consultant Mary Lou Brimecombe can tailor an anti-aging plan just for you!