Tag Archives: Beauty

The problem with relying on good looks

When you are young, slender and beautiful, the world is your playground. A sparkling smile, a flip of the hair and a batting of the eyelashes accomplishes far more than the average person would suspect.

It’s a catch situation:  you know you’re gorgeous; and because you know it, you ooze confidence and charisma; and because you ooze all this charm, people notice you wherever you go; and because people pay attention to you all the time, you know you’re gorgeous.

Whether anyone will willingly admit it or not, if you’re beautiful, things seem to come easier. It therefore becomes quite natural to rely on your good looks to get your way.  Unfortunately, that’s where the real danger lies! Forget the other jealous and insecure women who are not at all enchanted by your youth and beauty, it’s when your good looks start to wane with age that the real challenge is afoot.

Speaking from experience, I relied heavily on my good looks in my twenties.  Tall, pretty face, slender body – I got used to the attention I attracted simply by being attractive.  No wonder I went into crisis mode when I hit thirty!

The ageing process isn’t for sissies

For the vain woman (and yes, I hang my head in shame), it feels like a death sentence. Your attention is taken away by younger, prettier girls and alas, you find yourself in the shoes of the older, jealous woman that you pitied in your earlier years.

beautyTo quote Liz Smith, “One of the best parts of growing older?  You can flirt all you like since you’ve become harmless”.  It’s an appropriate quote, especially to me.  Flirting in my younger years was my weapon of choice; now, flirting is not really something that I can get away with in too many situations. If I’ve learnt anything it’s that physical beauty is not permanent and it’s not ageless.  Relying on good looks alone will only get you so far and no further.

Yes, I do still nostalgically dwell on my twenties at times, but with age has thankfully come a little more wisdom.  It’s far better to be revered for your inner beauty, intelligence and strength of character, than simply as a pretty face that can be easily forgotten.

True beauty is timeless and that is something that can only come from within.

What did we do without the mobile phone?

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...In the short span of just over 40 years – the first mobile phone call was made on 3 April 1973 – the cell phone has become an indispensable device in our day-to-day lives. To give you an idea of just how popular the mobile phone has become, consider the latest statistics issued by Gartner, Inc.:  in the second quarter of 2013, 435 million mobile phones were sold and of that, 51.8% were smartphones!

Almost every person has a cell phone today. In fact, we don’t leave our homes without the damn things.  The mobile phone has literally become an invaluable addition to how we communicate!

A quick Google search on the best mobile phones on the market will spew out pages and pages of search results highlighting the merits of owning such a technological piece of mastery. Which brings me back to my headline: “What did we do without the mobile phone?”.

Shocker:  the mobile phone double chin

True, while owning and using a mobile phone has many advantages, there are some distinct disadvantages too!  The handy little device that acts as both a communication and an entertainment tool can also be the beauty grim reaper. I’m talking here about the slack skin on the neck, the double chin, the crow’s feet around the eyes and the deep vertical furrows between the brows that can be caused by using your cell phone.

DuvetThis is according to an interesting, but rather scary article in my favourite magazine of all time, Cosmopolitan.  The article titled “how your phone messes with your skin”  touches on some sobering drawbacks.  Did you know that the common habit of squinting to read the small text on your device is actually causing premature facial lines on twenty-year-olds; facial lines that should only appear in the thirties or forties? Then there’s the habit of always looking down at your device to check your mail, play a game, instagram that great photo etc., that is resulting in unsightly neck lines and double chins. Checking your mail, your Facebook newsfeed or Twitter updates before bed can also negatively affect your natural sleep cycle thanks to the artificial light from your phone’s screen.

Everything in moderation

One of the most famous quotes on the topic of moderation comes from Aristotle, ”Everything in moderation, nothing in excess”.

I’m not planning to toss my mobile phone or iPad simply because I fear the use thereof may be contributing to my frown lines.  I am however going to strive to always be as well-informed as I can be and to practise some common sense.

In this particular instance, I’m taking the experts’ advice:  no more browsing on my phone while lying in bed before going to sleep; I’m going to try to hold my phone at eye-level to read my messages instead of looking down all the time, and I’ve already increased the font size on my phone.

Beauty products for hormonal acne: the good, the bad and the downright nasty

For over a year now I’ve been tormented by hormonal acne.  For a woman in her mid-thirties, it’s debilitating to have to face friends, family and work colleagues with an uneven skin tone and pimples to boot.

Acne vulgaris

My seemingly over-active sebaceous glands have managed to teleport me back to the dark days of being a teenager.  Back then, my solution to oily skin, pimples, those nasty under-the-skin bumps and blackheads was the oral contraceptive, a magic little pill I started taking at the age of 17 years.  It was marvellous, and thankfully my acne subsided and the bad memories gradually faded.  Then, at the age of 34, I upset the apple cart by going off the pill.  My fairly clear skin returned to its previous oily and pimply state, leaving me feeling helpless and just plain miserable.

Since then, I’ve tried taking different vitamins, minerals and tissue salts; bought numerous facial cleansers, toners, moisturisers, serums and acne/spot treatments; and indulged in countless expensive facial peels and deep cleansing facials – all of this to figure out that treating acne, especially adult acne, is a challenging task. 

The first step to treating adult hormonal skin problems is to be aware of what hormonal acne is and what causes it:

  • Hormonal imbalances such as Estrogen, Progesterone or Testosterone spikes or dips, or even a hormonal imbalance in the ovaries (polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • Stress which increases the Cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands
  • Lifestyle choices e.g. too much caffeine, dairy products, processed foods with refined sugar
  • Menstrual cycles can cause acne to flare up
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Hormones in food and in plastics

For many women, taking an oral contraceptive regulates hormones and seems to be the miracle answer to all problems. Sure, taking birth control has its advantages (I should know), but don’t be so quick to discount its side effects either.  Do your homework by researching the different oral contraceptives out there in order to make an informed decision.  Of course, making lifestyle changes can also offer beneficial results for the adult acne sufferer.  Simply by reducing intake of caffeine, and dairy products as well as consumption of processed foods, acne can indeed be lessened or even eliminated.

With regards to beauty products, there are a myriad of products out there that promise to reduce acne and promote a clear, blemish free skin. In my experience, many of these products work by drying out the skin, which for an adult acne sufferer is not the answer.  From the hordes of products I’ve tried, here is my personal rating on the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

Product table

So there you have it, for me, the winner from a budget and product effectiveness is Eucerin’s DermoPURIFYING skin care product range. So far, I’m winning the hormonal acne battling little by little …

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The beauty of scar tissue

Last night I watched with interest the Miss South Africa 2012 pageant on TV.  Over the years, the pageant’s popularity has outwardly waned and it is not as widely publicised as it used to be.  I still think the whole affair is good entertainment though, and moreover, the South African beauty contestants are not the stereotypical “airheads” as is sometimes expected.

Perhaps I’m a little bias; after all, I can explicitly recall parading around my garden in my swimsuit at the age of 12 under the pretence that I was a contestant in Miss SA.  I also had high hopes of being a successful model with my face plastered on the cover of every glamorous fashion and lifestyle magazine.  Unfortunately that hope was severely shattered by the realisation that models do not have scars – nevermind facial scars at that!

I actually have many scars – eight to be precise, and three of which are on my face.  Back then my scars were something I felt self-conscious about.  They were also the obstacle standing in the way of my dream to be a beauty queen and model.  Today, I view them differently:  they are a testimony to a life well lived. 

Teatart scar tissueThe two worst scars, on my face and on my upper right arm, were caused by the same knife accident when I was only five years of age. Amazingly, had the cut on my arm been 1mm deeper, I would’ve lost my arm.  Two other scars are visible on my left leg where incisions were made for the insertion of a metal pin in my upper femur.  This was due to a complicated fracture which can often leave people with a leg that is slightly shorter than its partner.  Luckily in my case, both legs are still the same length and I have only lost a little flexibility in my leg. The same can be said for the small scar on my upper lip that was the result of a bull terrier’s bite.  The dog fortunately let go and barring a few stitches, I escaped fairly unscathed and without too much trauma.

Hence, as the scar tissue fades over the years, so has my embarrassment.  I have a new found appreciation for the scars that I once hid behind clothing and make-up. They add to my individuality and more importantly, they are evidence of just how fortunate and blessed I really am!

I believe that every person has scars – whether physical or emotional.  Our scars are life experiences that have contributed to the person we are right now.  They do not make us less beautiful and they do not make us less worthy. Quite the contraire!  They add to our unique value. Remember this, even though our life experiences can often alter our course, in the wise words of Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”.

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