We all grew up listening to fairy tales and being constantly reminded that it is important to stay beautiful, both physically and mentally. Although the norms for physical attraction have continually changed over the years, we all know that glowing skin, symmetrical facial features and a fit body are essential for a person to look beautiful.
The ideals for beauty differ greatly between men and women. Men are expected to have a square face, chiseled jaw, rugged brow and broad shoulders. Women on the other hand, must stay slim and petite, while maintaining shapely figures and radiant complexions. Although intelligence and truthfulness are also sought-after qualities, it’s a person’s physical attractiveness that makes the first impression. Hence, it is essential that we focus on our appearance to get more positive attention from others.
Factors that affect beauty
One of the biggest factors affecting the way we look is, of course, our genetics. We inherit physical traits and predispositions from our parents. Obviously, we don’t get to choose what attributes they pass down to us. If we have a bulbous nose, chances are at least one of our parents or grandparents has the exact, same bulbous nose.
Media influence and societal change is another factor. What we see in movies, television, magazines and the Internet influences our perceptions of what is and isn’t beautiful, and may make us feel self-conscious about our own appearance.
The aging process also comes into play. We may wish to look youthful and attractive for a long time but no matter how hard we try; we cannot stay young forever. We must accept the fact that we cannot look like a 20-year-old when we’re actually 40.
Those who can afford to do so, may shell out lots of cash to try to preserve or improve their looks and be more beautiful. Paying for skincare, hair care, makeup and other beauty products is just the tip of the iceberg. According to industry experts, more than $60 billion is spent each year in the United States for various beauty treatments and cosmetic surgeries, with around $12 Billion spent on plastic surgeries alone. Many women see procedures such as facelift, liposuction and cosmetic surgeries as the last resort to remaining attractive in old age. However, simply living a healthy lifestyle can also go a long way in maintaining an attractive, more youthful appearance.
How lifestyle affects beauty
Here are just some of the ways our lifestyles affect our appearance:
Weight: Excessive weight may have been a symbol of prosperity for medieval emperors and kings, but it can have a major effect on our health and looks as we age. Excess fat accumulation can lead to stretching of the skin, which will begin to hang if we lose weight at an older age. The best practice is to prevent drastic weight changes and keep body fat under control to avoid loose skin.
Mood: Unusual mood swings might be someone’s characteristic attribute, but it can severely affect the way he or she looks during middle or old age. Frowning frequently and staying angry for long periods of time can tense our facial muscles and create wrinkles. The wrinkles usually go away when we’re young, but as we get older, they tend to remain, making our faces look uneven and frail. Maintaining an easy-going outlook is our best bet, and that’s not only good for facial muscles, but also for our mental and social well-being.
Diet: It’s been said, we are what we eat. Put another way, if we want to avoid looking like McDonald’s hamburgers during old age, we need to keep a close check on what we consume. Eating a lot of highly processed foods and ready-to-eat meals might save us time as we rush through our busy days, but it’s not the best choice nutritionally. As we age our body metabolism slows down and our dietary needs change. While eating a well-balanced diet is important throughout our lives, it’s especially critical as we age. Including a healthy amount of unprocessed meats, fish, vegetables, salads, fruits and fatty acids is the best way to keep our skin healthy and radiant—and keep all our bodily systems functioning optimally.
Sleep Cycle: Our sleep habits can have a big impact on our bodies and physical appearance. According to experts, the best time to sleep is between 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., so the body can heal itself and properly absorb nutrients. Getting a minimum of six to eight hours of sleep each night is recommended. Lack of sleep, routinely staying up very late at night, and erratic sleep schedules can cause problems such as dark circles and bags under the eyes, indigestion, high blood pressure, poor body metabolism, weight gain and a decline in cognitive function.
Smoking and Alcohol: Excessive smoking and alcohol are major contributors to visible lines and wrinkles on the skin and other signs of premature aging. A cigarette contains numerous carcinogens and irritants that can damage the skin and make it appear dull. Alcohol, too, dehydrates skin and cells, adding to a wrinklier and frail appearance. The best recommendation is to avoid tobacco usage and only consume alcohol in moderation.
Physical Activity: We cannot hope to maintain a great figure by simply lying on the couch. It is important to exercise regularly to remain healthy and physically fit. Be it cycling, running, swimming, karate, yoga or dance, it is essential to have a regular routine where we indulge in a physical activity. Regular exercise not only strengthens our muscles but also helps maintain a balanced metabolism to keep our skin look healthier and attractive.
While fashion and standards for beauty will keep on changing and evolving, it is a healthy lifestyle that will ensure we look and feel our best, even at an old age. Following the suggestions discussed here will not only improve physical appearance, but also boost mental and emotional health as well!