Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Rant - Expression lines

So I was walking through a mall the other day, and there was a sign on one of the carts that advertised a cream to prevent expression lines. By this I'm presuming they mean wrinkles. And I suppose that "expression lines" is a positive way to put it, since they are lines brought about by expressions (be they smiles or frowns or anything in between). "Wrinkles" has inherited a negative connotation - we get them with age, there are a million and a half products to minimize them, and smooth skin is culturally considered more attractive. But what's so wrong with wrinkles that we feel we can't even use the word?

My response? What-evah. Wrinkles are part of aging, and why does aging have to be bad?

Ok, so maybe I'll feel differently when I have more wrinkles. Being 30, I don't have too many. I never did understand the issues that people have with age, women not being able to admit to how old they are. I say wear your age, experience, and wisdom with pride. And sure, some people are old but not wise, wise but not old, experienced but not wise, you get my drift.

I did notice some wrinkles recently. Above my eyes and below my eyebrows. I looked at them like "where the hell did those come from?" Then I squinted my eyes (like I do when it's sunny, yes I know I should wear sunglasses more often), and I furrowed my eyebrows, and I realized that's where they came from. I find it more fascinating than worrying to find wrinkles - I'm intrigued to know what expressions my face makes that create the wrinkles.

But yeah, nobody wants too many wrinkles when they're young. Super-wrinkly faces are better left to the elderly. So what can we do to help delay the onset of wrinkles?

1. Stay out of the sun. My father told me about two of his co-workers who were related who would go out and bronze in the sun every weekend. The younger one had smooth skin and a perpetual tan. The older one, who he assumed was her grandmother, had tanned but very wrinkly skin. Turns out she was her mother and was only in her 40s, yet she looked at least in her 60s.

2. Sleep on your back (and get enough sleep). Not getting enough sleep wears down our bodies and our minds, adding to stress, forgetfulness, and lack of energy. Not being as healthy can wear on your body just as much as your mind. Think about all those people who look 60 when they're really 40 because they look like they're bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. Also, they say you should sleep on your back, because sleeping on your stomach or side might cut down a bit on circulation and lead to wrinkles.

3. Stop smoking. It leads to wrinkles (if only that were the worst thing it led to).

4. Hydrate and moisturize. Drink lots and lots of water. Being dehydrated can dry your skin out as well. And especially now that it's damn freezing outside, use a moisturizer. Hydrated skin is a bit plumper (in the good, anti-wrinkly kind of way). My skin gets really dry in the winter, though I haven't been using my shower moisturizing bar because it makes the tub really slippery (and I need to buy another non-slip pad for the bottom), and I don't feel like starting the winter with a bang on the head.

5. Eat a healthy diet. You don't have to follow a diet fad (actually, probably better not to, because those fads usually fall by the wayside), just eat a healthy diet that's high in good fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil) and low in bad fats (all those yummy pastries, cookies, ice cream, etc), eat red meat and alcohol in moderation, and eat plenty of veggies. In the words of Michael Pollan "eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I'm not vegetarian, but I'm making a concerted effort to add more plants to my diet. Plants have lots of water in them, which is good for hydration, as well as all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating a healthy diet helps the body deal with UV radiation and pollution (which I'm sure going to need after spending 15 minutes in the exhaust-filled subway station last night after work).

6. Be happy. Research shows that healthy, happy people tend to show fewer wrinkles than their unhealthy, unhappy counterparts. Exercise helps with this, both with feeling more confident and happy about yourself, and to improve your attitude. Age has a lot to do with a state of mind. I'm sure you've seen someone who was looking confident and happy up to a certain point, then something happened and all of a sudden they look 10 years older than they did just a few months before.

Not as much of a rant as I intended. What are your feelings about wrinkles? Do you remember what your first one is from? Do you try to figure out what expressions you're making that create the wrinkles (or am I just an odd bird for wondering that)?


Leah J. Utas said...

We should stop being so scared of words. Say what it is and be done with it.
As for wrinkles, give me a face that looks like its wearer has had a life.
I turn 50 tomorrow and I have a much more interesting face than I did at 20. I stopped smoking 28 years ago so that has helped me to not wrinkle very much.
Don't recall my first one but it was probably around the eyes and likely from squinting.
Meanwhile, I come from young-looking stock. My dad moisturized after shaving every day starting at the age of 30. When he was in the hospital, in his 70s, the nurses kept asking him his secret.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

I'm lucky in my genes as dad is 64 and looks like he's in his 50s, and same for my mother. My grandmother is 86 but looks like she's in her 70s. She has relatives younger than her who look like they've got 10 years on her.

Charlotte said...

Right now while I'm 30, I'm totally with you on this rant. I hate the fear of aging that is so pervasive. Age = wisdom (or should, if you've lived right). BUT I'm so critical of my body now that I have a feeling once the wrinkles really start appearing I might freak out some

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Or, alternatively, maybe the wrinkles will help you not freak out because by that point the whole age-body thing will be put more in perspective? A stretch, but maybe yes? :)

Romny said...

I don't know you but happy 50th Leah J. Utas!

I am a believer in aging gracefully and if that includes a few wrinkles then so be it. I also have the lines around the eyes and brow. I also have the lines around the mouth. I don't think of them as a sign of getting older, I think of them as someone who is living. I think the term is Laugh lines?

These days people are too eager to put poison into their bodies just so that they can't express themselves? Huh!?That doesn't make sense.

I am also a recipient of good genes. My mom is 64 or 65 and she looks like she's in her late 50's early 60's. I also moisturize every morning. It's helps a lot. But I didn't know about sleeping on your back. I have a tendency to sleep on my side because either I'm cold or I like to curl up.

JavaChick said...

Also lucky to have the good genes, but am slowly seeing the changes that come with growing older, and I've heard others talk about it, so here is my take...

Do you "feel your age"? Whatever age you are - does that feel right to you? Because I'm 38 but somehow that seems wrong. I still don't feel like a grown up. Even though I have a job and a husband and a mortgage. The years are just flying by and it's hard to keep up.

People are always surprised to hear my age, they always think I'm younger, but when I look in the mirror I can see that I am getting the fine lines, that my skin is not as smooth and firm as it once was, I can see the white hairs starting to shop up. And it can be a bit disconcerting. Because I don't feel any different - so why do I look different?

I think that maybe our mental image of ourselves does not always keep up with the actual physical manifestation. So mentally you are still your 20-year-old-self, but when you look in the mirror what you see is the older version. I've heard other people [older than me] say something to that effect - that they look in the mirror and wonder: who is that person staring back at them.

It kinda doesn't seem fair.