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There are a lot of variables that contribute to premature facial aging; to name a few: lack of sleep, sun exposure, pigmentation, bad nutrition, drinking, smoking, lack of exercise, family issues… you no doubt experience some or many of them. Facial tension is not as talked about as making you look old, but in fact it does have a big impact on the appearance of your face.
The signs of facial tension can be categorized as invisible, visible, and even painful.
It takes a long time to accumulate tension in the face before you feel the pain and see symptoms of aging. The masseter, or jaw muscle, is the third strongest muscle in the body after the gluteus and the trapezius, and performs like a shock absorber. It can store a lot of tension before you feel discomfort. Underlying these warning signals are muscle spasms that prevent the muscle from lengthening.
All of your muscles have a tendency to tense and get shorter as we age. Muscle shortening is the reason why old people often suffer from poor posture. Your facial muscles suffer from shortening, too. Analyses of MRI images from patients of varying ages suggest that the aging muscles of the midface shorten and straighten, as though they are in spasm. As long as your facial muscles are tense and shortened, they’ll continue to stretch and stress your ligaments and skin tissue. In a youthful face, fat looks evenly distributed, creating smooth undisturbed lines and shadows. Muscle spasms could prolapse the deep mid facial fat, superficially creating bumps and dents on the surface of the face, and producing shadows in wrong places. The changes usually are very small, possibly as small as one millimeter, but trust me, on the face, every millimeter counts! Suddenly, everything looks the same but older, though a few days ago you looked super dandy.
What to do : Treat yourself to a facial or two – they are the first frontier for relaxing the face.
The muscles around your eyes and your mouth wrinkle your skin as they contract. If you take a look of the pattern how wrinkles form around your mouth and eyes, you can see that they line up perpendicularly with the muscles underneath. Now imagine a slight spasm on that muscle all the time. That would cause wrinkles, right? If you are able to relax those round muscles, you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of wrinkles too.
What to do: This problem is easily treated with botulism toxin injections (eg. Xeomin, Botox).
Normal activities such as chewing and kissing are good, natural exercises for your temporalis and masseter muscles (the muscles of mastication). However, too many of us clench our teeth in our sleep or as a daily habit. When you do this to any great extent, your muscles tighten and the nerve points spin out. The masseter, pterygoids and temporalis muscles, along with the neck muscles, will often go into spasm, which can lead to headaches, migraines and other fun stuff. When you clench, your jaw muscles may also feel tired the next morning. Accumulated tensions are largely due to repeated stresses that brew long and hard before we encounter them as pain in the TMJ joint, but when it finally creates enough pain to affect your daily life and create that “ I am really miserable, kill me!” feeling, it’s time to take action.
What to do :
If your dentist feels your problems are from clenching your teeth, take it seriously and consider getting a night guard. It can save you from a lot of pain. TMJ massage is also very helpful for relieving pain and muscle spasms.
Fall , the time when the fashion and retailer worlds try to make us buy more stuff we don’t need or already own. Most of the time “the next new trend” is a recycled old one from last year . This fall, please feel free to wear whatever pleases you and makes you feel beautiful and comfortable (uncomfortable pretty clothes are for young women – it’s their turn to suffer! We older ones have endured our share of torture).
Just dig from your or your significant others’ closet :
In my quest to find an answer to the question “ How can I keep from, getting old?” I stumbled upon the book “Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples” by John Robbins. The core of this book is the study of four cultures that have a history of producing long-lived people. Specifically, it looks at the Abkhasia of the Caucasus, the Vilcabamba or Ecuador, the Hunza and the centenarians of Japan. It also discusses the China Study in some detail, which was the largest anti-cancer prevention study ever undertaken. In short, the book discusses what these cultures have in common and provides informed opinions about the reasons they are able to achieve extraordinary longevity.
It was interesting reading and experiencing a kind of change of perspective about getting old as something to be avoided at all cost. This book explores aging in a healthy and natural way, and we see intimately into the lives of people who experience aging as an exchange: of wisdom for innocence, and valued experience for muscle tone.
I’d like to share what I took away from this book.
- Have a positive attitude toward aging that is lacking in our society. People in these societies cherish their old folks. There is a preservation of the social role of older people in the family and the village community. The psychological comfort of the elderly, due to the higher rate of inclusion in the affairs of the family and village, is greatly increased. People of this age are respected. Old people are invited to family celebrations, where they are given a place of honor. These societies are trying to protect their older citizens from stress, and are committed to providing better living conditions, nutrition, and care than those societies with lower rates of longevity.
- Are in denial. Centenarians have very low level of anxiety, and are often “in denial” about the fact of aging. 80% of centenarians surveyed believe that they are not very old. Centenarians seem to have triggered a defense against awareness of the fact of aging and the inevitability of death; they think they will live forever!
The first time I discovered margaritas (and enjoying quite a few), I woke up the next morning without eyes! Who knew simply enjoying a tasty alcoholic beverage would make you wake up without eyes?! I mean, the “windows to my soul” were swollen shut – well, almost; I could see that I looked like a cartoon character, and when I went to get up, I almost tripped on the bags under my eyes – no kidding!
Completely freaked out, I put a cucumber slice on each eye and started googling “puffy eyes” – not an easy thing to do, mind you, googling and trying to keep cucumber slices on swollen eyes – and the first thing that came up in the search was Preparation H, calling it “the best kept Hollywood secret,” a miracle product with immediate results! Being Russian and unfamiliar with the product, I thought it was an extravagant eye cream. Ok, so I was in a hurry and didn’t read the product description, AND it’s not exactly easy to read with swollen eyes with cucumber slices on top! I was desperate, and I ordered my American husband to get me some – stat! He looked at me slightly glassy eyes, then asked me in a concerned voice why I needed it. When I explained that I was going to put it on my eyes, he gingerly said “Honey, I don’t think it’s a good idea to put hemorrhoid cream on your eyes.” It took me a few seconds to process “hemorrhoid” and connect it with ass, during which time my husband contemplated whether I had gone mad or if this was just another cultural difference between him and his exotic Russian wife.
Being kind of educated in the area of topical treatments, and remembering that painful hemorrhoids needed to be shrunk to reduce pain and inflammation, I connected the dots and proceeded without fear – I was going to put butt cream on my face! If it could work on your butt, why not on your face? And besides, celebrities were using it, why shouldn’t I? I’ve always loved multi-purpose products – shampoo/conditioners, cheek/lip stain, Swiss Army knives – butt/eye cream sounded a like a great addition!
2. Essentially every organ and cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor. More than 200 genes, and some have estimated up to 2,000 genes, are directly or indirectly regulated by it.
3. A deficiency of this hormone is related to poor calcium regulation and a variety of diseases, including osteoporosis, osteomalacia, poor cardiovascular function, muscle weakness and spasm, depression, various types of arthritis, various types of cancer, especially breast cancer with calcified precancerous lesions, inflammatory bowel disease, tooth and gum disease, chronic fatique syndromes, and various autoimmune disorders, including diabetes type 1, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D. Medical doctors are routinely testing for deficiency in circulation.
5. In doctor’s office the D3 measured in circulation is the prehormone 25-dihydroxy-cholecalciferol, called calcidiol, and not the cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol that we take as a supplement, the actual effective hormone is 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, or calcitriol, which is not routinely tested to determine Vitamin D3 deficiency.
6. Long-term use of common medications are producing nutrient deficiencies associated with many common disease processes. Cholesterol lowering drugs called statins are now the most widely prescribed drug in the world. Cholesterol is required to make Vitamin D. Therefore, anyone taking statins can be expected to have a deficiency in it. Other commonly prescribed drugs that may cause nutritional deficiencies and vit D deficiencies are oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement drugs, anticonvulsants, diabetic medications, high blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory NSAIDS, beta-blockers (hypertension and asthma), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines.
I lived near the Black Sea my whole life until I moved to Texas. All of my summers were spent on the beach. I was working on my tan very hard from May until August. Pale and pink was avery bad look in my circle. Tan lines were a bad thing too – that’s why I didn’t have a swimming suit! You could call me and my friends nudists, but we weren’t part of a cultural and political movement advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public . It was simply vanity – to have bronze skin everywhere, no white spot allowed.
Every year, every summer, I did it again and again. I liked my tanned, golden-bronze look. It was so disappointing when it started to fade every fall – I hated being pale, so not pretty. When I got lucky and started to work at a very fancy fitness club for very rich people, I saw this big shiny silver thingy, my first tanning bed. It was a miracle! I could be pretty, bronze and without tan lines, all year round. And, it was free; employees had to be tanned to advertise the new service, as it was the first tanning bed in the whole city. We were saying that tanning beds were very safe and good for the skin; that they had filters to remove dangerous UVB/UVA rays and were therefore much better than the sun. People loved it, and it was working non-stop.
At that time there wasn’t a lot of information about the connection between premature aging, skin cancer and ultraviolet rays. We heard something, we read something, but really didn’t believe it. How could something that makes you look and feel good be dangerous? No way!!!!!