Lose ten pounds, eat only organic berries grown in the magical mountains of Tibet, blah, blah, blah.
We understand that resolutions are hard to keep-really, we do-so here are three easy (and free) beauty tips to follow in 2011.
[ The Pros and Cons of Facials ]
1. Drink More Water
Yes, you've heard it a million times, but do you ever really do it?
The benefits of drinking 6-8 glasses a day are endless, but we're sticking to the ones pertaining to vanity here. (You know, the important ones.)
The debate whether drinking water actually helps hydrate your skin is an ongoing one, but it certainly can't hurt. One thing we know water does help with is flushing toxins out of the body. With inadequate amounts of water flowing through the system, toxins can build up and escape through skin pores, which can contribute to acne-even as an adult.
Another area water helps with is diminishing the dreaded under eye circles-as one of the main causes of dark circles is dehydration. Water retention also causes swelling under the eyes (salty foods, anyone), and downing a few extra glasses will help de-puff skin. (Coincidentally, it is also said to increase skin's plumpness.)
Lastly, filling up on water can help you eat less, and in turn, help you weigh less. Have you ever heard that hunger is often mistaken for thirst? Try it! Instead of reaching for a handful of pretzels, drink a glass of water first and seeing if you're still craving the salty snack after.
We're thinking you won't be.
2. Sleep More
Could there be an easier resolution? Sleep, believe it or not, is one of the best beauty treatments in your arsenal. (Beauty sleep is not just an old wives' tale.) When you don't get enough of the good stuff, it shows-not only in your disposition, but in your face.
Lack of sleep leaves skin dull, dehydrated, and believe it or not, wrinkled. On top of that, eyes look puffy and dark. Attractive, huh?
Another reason sleep is so crucial is cell regeneration, the process where fresh, new skin cells replace old, dead skin, happens quicker at night compared to daytime.
Sleep also cleans up daily damage. During the day, skin is bombarded with UV rays, pollution and other harmful environmental elements. These culprits can cause damage like dehydration, lines, wrinkles and sun spots. At night, skin repairs itself to reverse this damage. Adding an antioxidant-rich night cream can boost this repair process.
If you're one of the lucky ones blessed with the ability to have a sound sleep nightly, well, we kind of hate you. For the rest of us, here are a few tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help you catch some zzz's.
--Create a sleep-friendly environment. This means having a room that's dark, cool and free from distractions - yes, that includes your TV and laptop.
--Leave work out. Occasional work stress is inevitable. Don't take it into the bedroom. Leave work materials outside of your bedroom and think of your room as a place for rest and relaxation.
--Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Sometimes it's tough to keep a consistent schedule, particularly on the weekends, but it's an important part of fostering healthy sleep habits.
--Don't eat right before bedtime. Nobody likes to go to bed hungry, but if it's possible, finish eating several hours before you plan on going to sleep.
Finally, if you've done all these things and still can't get a good night's sleep, don't fret. It happens to the best of us. And we're ladies. That's why we have make-up.
[ Packing a Punch With Vitamin D ]
3. Get More Sunshine
It might not be possible to get it year-round, but when it is available, 20 minutes of direct sunlight per day are the doctor's orders. Yes, we know you have heard all the bad things about sun exposure. But there are lots of good reasons to let the sun shine in, in moderation. Aside from its link to longevity, here's why:
It increases the circulation of the blood.
It stimulates the production of more red blood cells, increasing the oxygen content of the blood, and thus increasing muscular endurance.
It increases liver function and stimulates the liver to produce a drug-metabolizing enzyme. This increases one's ability to withstand pollutants in the environment.
It stabilizes blood sugar levels (which may help you eat less).
The ultraviolet rays are antiseptic. A short morning sunbath (before 9am) several times a week will kill germs and promote wound healing. Even reflected light from windows can destroy bacteria in the dust on window sills and floors.
It increases muscle tone. People who exercise in the sunlight build muscle faster than those who exercise indoors. (Crazy!)
It increases body metabolism.
Sunlight has been shown to relieve depression and to improve sleep.
Everybody looks better when they're a little sun-kissed!
How to Get Your Sun:
Like we said, small doses (20 minutes per day) of sun is best. Don't run out and fry yourself for 2 hours-that's not healthy no matter how good you think it looks.
Take into consideration the hour of the day you're getting your sun (10 am to 3 pm). As the sun moves more directly overhead, its intensity increases.
After you get your dose-full, wear sun-screen-because more wrinkles shouldn't be part of your resolution.
About the Author: Nicole Fabian is Associate Editor of ThirdAge.com.
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