Photo by Justine Sweetman
How do you feel about wrinkles? If you’ve been listening to the messages of modern consumerism, then you probably have some aversion to them and other signs of aging. Big fashion, beauty, and media businesses would have us believe that youth is the pinnacle of life, but that belief isn’t rooted in reality. The reality is that aging is simply a part of life, and that our wrinkles and laugh lines can be cherished for the stories they tell about the lives we have lived.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH ANTI-AGING CULTURE?
To grow old is a blessing, a privilege that is often taken for granted. Why shame ourselves for the effects that time has on our bodies? Just as defining our value by our skin color, gender, or economic status would, defining our value to society by our age reinforces a culture in which we feel constantly imperfect and unworthy.
This culture encourages young people to grow up more quickly - by moving out on their own, consuming the trendiest new styles, and acting older than they are - yet quickly switches the script to fetishize youth as soon as we become adults. This culture of shame is constructed to sell more products to us; creams, injections, and clothing that promises to “fix” us to fit the prescribed standard.
But we don’t need fixing. As a for-profit business in the skincare industry, we are hyper-aware of the way that we market our products. Meow Meow Tweet is in the business of selling vegan, fair trade, palm-oil & cruelty free, and hand-crafted skincare products, but we aren’t in the business of selling shame. We believe that taking good care of your body and skin is part of a happy and healthy life, but we also celebrate the fact that it looks different on everyone.
The prevailing image of health in our society is of someone who exercises a lot, eats healthily, and cares diligently for their skin. But not everyone has access to this kind of lifestyle, and even those who do adopt these habits will have different routines as well as results. Wrinkles, tummy rolls, and stretch marks exist on healthy people. What looks healthy on you may look completely different on another body or face, because there are many ways to be and look healthy.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO AGE GRACEFULLY?
When people talk about aging “gracefully” they too often use the term to cover up a disdain for showing our age. We prefer the term “aging gratefully”, because it expresses a certain love and respect for our bodies and ourselves, no matter how old we are or how we look. Rather than aging “gracefully” by looking younger for longer, aging gratefully means appreciating our bodies for what they are. It means celebrating the things we have learned and experienced and looking forward to the things still to come.
Being grateful for your life is a great entry towards treating your body with respect and prioritizing self care. When we lead with gratitude and let go of shame and societal expectations, we make room for taking care of our true selves instead. Instead of spending time and energy on “fixing” ourselves, we can focus on treating our bodies like temples by giving them the love and nourishment they need.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SKIN AND AGE GRATEFULLY
It is undeniable that our skin changes as we age, with some of those changes being completely unavoidable and others being caused or exacerbated by personal habits as well as our environment. Exposure to free radicals like UV rays, pollution, or harsh chemicals can cause our skin’s natural defenses and inner structures to break down more quickly, resulting in wrinkles, sagging, dry skin, blemishes, and slowed healing.
Getting in the habit of wearing a sunscreen (like our Everyday Sunscreen) is one way to protect our skin from those damaging sources. Keeping your skin properly hydrated can help your skin recover from damage and retain its resiliency. This is one reason why our Geranium Palmarosa Face Toner is an all time favorite - it has glycerin in it to naturally draw moisture to your skin as well as antioxidant-rich essential oils to help repair wounds and keep your skin healthy.
After hydrating your skin, we recommend following up with a moisturizer in order to lock in the moisture, help with cell turnover and regeneration. If you have sensitive or dry skin, we recommend our Skin Cream. If you have blemish prone or oily skin, our Juniper Carrot Seed Face Oil is a lighter alternative with essential oils to help heal wounds and blemishes.
Even if we do our best to protect and repair our skin from exposure to free radicals, the structures that make our skin look smooth and supple can naturally change and break down with age. The weakening of elastin and breakdown of collagen beneath the skin is one of the main reasons why we begin to see wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging as we grow older. Additionally, as we age our blood circulation tends to slow down, which can result in dull or sallow looking skin.
One great way to help encourage blood circulation and help your skin to retain its elasticity is through massage and exercise. Facial exercises help tone the muscles in your face and tighten your skin, while facial massage (check out our Generational Beauty Cheat Sheet for more info on this) helps promote blood circulation.
A combination of these techniques and other lifestyle habits can make all the difference. These products and techniques probably won’t prevent you from getting crows feet or laugh lines, but perhaps those are signs of a life well lived that we can embrace instead of banish?
Written by, Faye Lessler a California-born, Brooklyn-based freelance writer and founder of lifestyle blog, Sustaining Life. She loves to write mission-driven content while sipping black tea in a beam of sunshine.