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Cartoon: If you want to stay young looking, don't grow up.

Seven Things You Need to Know to Stay Young Looking

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

So, you want to stay young and beautiful forever, but you are getting older. There are more lines in your face, you're putting on a bit of weight and bits of your body are starting to sag a bit when they didn't use to sag at all − at least so it seems.

If you are like a lot of people, you would like to look young forever. In doing so, you support a multi-billion dollar beauty industry, that does not necessarily support your quest for youthful looks. But, do not despair! In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about staying young forever.

1. Anti-Aging Creams Do Not Work

Have you ever seen old-looking rich people? Of course you have! Think about it. If there was a anti-aging cream that really worked; even a cream that used wickedly expensive ingredients, surely the wealthy would buy it and use it. If this were the case, all wealthy people would look young. They do not. They get old like you and I.

The truth is, to date there have been no scientifically valid tests that demonstrate that anti-aging creams really work.

That said, taking care of your skin is advisable. Using moisturising creams if you have dry skin, using sun-block when you go out on a sunny day and going easy on suntans when you are younger will keep your skin looking younger as you age.

2. Botox Sort of Works

Botox is a poison, however small amounts of it injected into your skin paralyse muscles which results in the smoothing out of wrinkles around your eyes and lines in your forehead as well as the tightening of your jawline (depending on where you are injected). Fewer wrinkles, of course, can make you look younger.

Botox injections are typically effective for three or four months, after which you need to get another injection if you want to continue the wrinkle-reduction.

However, because Botox paralyses muscles, people who receive the injections in their face can subsequently have difficulty in smiling -- this has even led to depression in some women. Recipients of injections may also find they are less expressive in their faces as a result of the injections.

On a more positive note, there is a new, but small body of evidence that suggests Botox can rejuvenate skin, at least around the eyes.

Botox had plusses and minuses, though to my mind limited smiling is a super-negative. If you do decide to have Botox treatment, be sure to have it done by a competent doctor. Botox is a poison and improperly administered can have nasty side effects.

3. Dye Your Hair

If your hair is starting to go grey, you can dye it. After all, grey hair is a sign of aging even though many people start getting grey hairs in their 30s. That said, once your hair goes all grey, consider leaving it as it is. A full head of grey hair can look more natural and real than a full head of dyed hair.

Moreover, once you reach a certain age, I reckon it is better to let your hair grow in its natural colour. I believe Ronal Reagan would have looked younger with grey hair than with jet black hair (even if he claimed it was his natural hair colour).

4. Shave Your Head

In addition to going grey, many men start losing their hair as they grow older. Although male pattern baldness often begins in men in their 20s, it can age a chap. Comb-overs (in which you grow hair in the side long and comb it over the bald area) and growing your remaining hair long and tying it in a pony tail both seem to accentuate age rather than demonstrate youthfulness.

As many men have discovered, the best way to tackle male pattern baldness is to shave the entire head and go bald. Not only does this look more youthful than letting the remaining hair grow, but it can make you look more virile, masculine and dominant.

5. Eat Well and Eat Less

Many people gain weight as they gain years. Being seriously overweight not only makes you look older, but also makes you susceptible to heart problems, diabetes and high-blood pressure which age you even more.

If, like many people, you spend most of your day behind a desk and you get to that desk by driving a car, you simply do not burn off as many calories as you used to do. This means you need to eat less and healthier or else you will continually gain weight as you eat more calories than your body burns off.

Instead, go on a sensible diet that is about reducing calories and sugar sustainably.

6. Exercise

Regular exercise is also important as you grow older. Mind you, there is no need to lift weights or go to the gym daily. Instead, walk 30 minutes a day five times a week, use your bicycle for local errands and swim regularly. Such exercises keep you in shape, are easy to do and are not too physically demanding. Indeed, walking is not only great for the body, but it is also good for the mind. I make a regular walk part of my working day.

7. Don't Grow Up

I've saved the best for last. If you want to stay young in appearance, don't grow up! Stay young and playful. Laugh regularly and don't be embarrassed by it. Smile as much as you possibly can. Play games. Run when you are excited. Jump in the air. Joke around with friends. Dance for the sheer joy of it. Stick your tongue out at your boss when she isn't looking. Get dirty. Roll around on the ground. Skip stones. Jump on rocks to cross the stream not because you need to cross the stream but because you want to jump on the rocks. Imagine you are a superstar. Most of all, when you want to do something and your inner voice tells you that it is too childish, stick your tongue out at your inner voice and do it anyway!

In other words, do not afraid to be childlike. Instead, embrace the desire. When I reconnect with old school friends, I see that the ones who haven't grown up seem the youngest. They may have grey hair and wrinkles, but they are not much bothered by either. They are too full of life, of playfulness and a notion that life is to be enjoyed, to worry about growing old. As a result, they seem younger than others who desperately dye their hair, go for anti-aging treatments and take life too seriously.

That child that you were not so long ago still resides within you. Let her − or him − out to play and play with that child yourself. It is the simplest and best way to stay young.

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