| May 7, 2013

Mother's Day is a day to celebrate some of the most important women in our lives. 

READ: Finding the Perfect Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Gown

Your mother is often the first person to give you beauty advice. From wanting to strut in her high heels to borrowing her favorite blouse, she’s been there to help you look and feel your very best. As she gets older (we know, just thinking about it is difficult), mom may need some beauty advice of her own.

Dr. Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., a healthy aging expert who’s familiar with looking and feeling youthful, shares with her 10 secrets just for mom — and one of them is too delicious to resist. 

Here are some heartfelt and healthy ways mama can feel gorgeous any day of the year:

Eat Chocolate

Who could possibly resist gooey, mouthwatering chocolate? This sweet treat doesn’t just taste good — chocolate offers various health benefits. It contains compounds called flavonoids, which protect cells from harmful free radicals, lowering the chances of heart disease. In addition, not only has it been found that chocolate promotes a positive mood (which means less wrinkles from stress), a 2006 study published in The Journal of Nutrition concluded women who ate cocoa with high amounts of flavonols were more likely to have hydrated skin.

However, before you grab that slice of cake, there’s one particular type of chocolate you should have. “Try to eat at least 70% dark chocolate,” advises Hausenblas, which has less sugar and fat than milk chocolate. “Cocoa flavanols are also now available in supplement form known as CocoaWell, giving you all of the benefits of the flavanols without the calories.”

Combat Aging with Vitamin A

With countless over-the-counter products that promise to turn back the hands of time, it can be difficult to find a product that actually fights the signs of aging. Hausenblas says there’s one ingredient you should look out for when it comes to buying a wrinkle reducer. “Consider a wrinkle eraser that includes retinol, a form of vitamin A, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, fade brown spots and smooth skin tone,” she explains. “Retinol or tretinoin topical creams exfoliate the skin and increase the production of collagen.  Since Vitamin A also helps the skin rebuild tissues, it is also an essential vitamin when it comes to healing scrapes, wounds and other damages to the skin."


Sleep Your Way to a Thinner Body

“Beauty sleep is more than just an expression. It’s science,” says Hausenblas. “Sleep-deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive and more tired compared with when they are well rested.”

Getting enough shut-eye does more than keep you alert and energize to tackle the day. In a 2006 study, it was revealed that women who slept less than seven hours per night are more likely to be obese. If that’s not enough of a reason to get you to hit the pillow earlier tonight, the same study also noted that obesity is a strong risk factor for diseases, including arthritis. 

Eat Age-Fighting Foods

“To get that antioxidant boost, eat dark-colored vegetables, like tomatoes, carrots, squash and spinach for carotenoids and blue and purple berries for flavonoids,” says Hausenblas. Carotenoids are the nutrients which give rich bold colors in foods, like carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes, among others. Beta carotene, which is found in many yellow fruits and vegetables, is converted into the body as Vitamin A, which regulates cellular growth. Other good sources of Vitamin A include eggs, leafy greens and milk, among others.

Cleanse Carefully

Think you’re thoroughly washing your face by simply splashing on soap and water? Think again. The key to keeping your face clean and fresh from all the gunk that can crease in fine lines, make skin oily or even cause adult acne is giving yourself sufficient time to thoroughly cleanse.

“You may not see the tiny particles, but the pores invariably collect dirt and grime from everyday exposure to air pollution,” Hausenblas says. “Whether you live in a big city or the country, the story’s the same. Every evening take time to gently cleanse your skin and wash away invisible chemicals that can hinder your body’s largest organ from repairing itself.”

Enjoy the Sunshine (in Moderation)

Those sun-soaked days of summer may be too irresistible after being cooped-up indoors during winter, but too much of a good thing can be harmful. In addition to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause skin damage and cancer, it can also stimulate other less dangerous, but unnecessary effects.

“As nice as the sun feels on the skin, it can be harmful if you burn,” she explains. “Especially if you’re fair-skinned, use sunscreen and wear protective clothing to save your skin from damaging UV rays that effect pigmentation and texture.” Even when the weather cools down, look for high quality moisturizers featuring sunscreen, which will keep your skin supple and protected.

Ease Up on Alcohol

That extra glass of wine can be relaxing after the 9-5 grind, but like with anything else, you don’t want to overdo it. “Heavy drinking shows up as permanently dilated capillaries in the skin,” says Hausenblas. “That’s never a pretty sight, so drink less and maintain healthy skin quality longer."


Need a reason to stop smoking? Consider the condition of your skin. “Nicotine constricts the small blood vessels and decreases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the epidermis,” Hausenblas explains. “Eliminating cigarettes can keep those irreversible wrinkles from forming in the first place.”

Get Long Locks

As you get older, hair grows less and becomes thinner and more fragile. While several factors, ranging from genetics to too-tight hairstyles, can play a major role, it’s important to maintain the luster of a healthy mane. When asked what women can do to promote growth, Hausenblaus recommends taking a supplement. “I like Keratin Enhance,” she says. “It increases hair strength, volume and shine.”

Pamper Yourself

Hausenblas believes it’s crucial for mothers to give themselves pampering time every day to promote a youthful complexion that glows from inside out. “Stress stimulates the adrenal glands to send signals for more oil production in the sebaceous glands, and this can create greasy skin and clogged pores,” she says. “De-stressing is a fundamental requirement for healthier skin and whole body well-being.” Whether it’s working out at the gym or taking a warm bath, always give yourself some time out of the day to relax and feel good about yourself. The results will show on your face.