Undeniably, aging is a natural and beautiful part of life that brings wisdom, experience, and a deeper understanding of yourself.
In the mainstream quest for eternal youth, "anti-aging" has become a buzzword in the beauty and wellness industry. While the promise of looking and feeling younger is undoubtedly appealing, the idea of anti-aging has gained a negative connotation.
The beauty and wellness industry recently introduced the concept of "Well-Aging"— a more positive, realistic perspective on natural aging.
Both terms might seem similar initially, but they have distinct philosophies and approaches.
Let's explore the differences between anti aging and well aging to encourage a positive and modern perspective on healthy aging and beauty.
Anti-Aging: A Brief Overview
Anti-aging is a term that has gained significant popularity over the years, especially in the beauty and skincare industry.
The focus of anti-aging is to use products and treatments to minimize or reverse the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.
Treatments involve injections, lasers & peels, and products often contain ingredients like vitamin C, retinoids, peptides, acids, and antioxidants to promote collagen and elastin production, a brighter skin tone, repair dermal fibroblast, and fight sun damage & oxidative stress effects.
3 Reasons Why It's Time to Go ANTI Anti-Aging
- Age Shaming: The concept of "anti-aging" inadvertently perpetuates age shaming by implying that aging is a battle to be fought against. The term reinforces the notion that growing older is undesirable and leads to age-related insecurities and appearance-based anxiety. The term creates a culture that devalues women's wisdom, experience, and beauty gained with age.
- Overpriced Products and Treatments: The beauty industry capitalizes on your fear of aging, resulting in an array of expensive "anti-aging" products and treatments. These products are often marketed as miracle solutions but can sadly prey on your insecurities and persuade you to spend a small fortune on them.
- Unrealistic Expectations: The products targeted as anti-aging are great for maintaining skin health and slowing down the appearance of aging. Many products and treatments promise to "reverse" the signs of aging, creating a false belief that you can turn back the clock entirely. In reality, aging is an entirely natural process, and while you can take steps to care for your skin and overall health, you can't stop the passage of time.
Well-Aging: Embracing a Modern Approach to Healthy Aging
Well-aging is a more holistic and inclusive approach to the aging process. It encourages self-acceptance, prioritizes well-being, and intentional self-care - at any age.
Instead of trying to reverse the clock and solely focus on aesthetics, well-aging takes a conscious beauty approach, activating your inner beauty to align your body and outer beauty.
Well-aging emphasizes healthy lifestyle choices, proper nutrition, regular exercise, mental stimulation, social connections, nervous system regulation, spirituality, mindfulness, AND intentional skincare choices.
Think: living in a way that supports your health span, life span, and skin health.
Shifting your mindset to embracing your age with confidence, grace, and self-acceptance is a more positive and realistic approach to aging. Resulting in sustainable vibrancy, radiance, and joy. (crazy, I KNOW!)
3 Key Differences Between Anti Aging and Well Aging
- Philosophy: Anti-aging primarily focuses on external appearance and seeks to reverse or delay visible signs of aging. In contrast, well aging is about embracing the aging journey and living a fulfilling life by nurturing overall well-being for better skin health, and health & life span.
- Approach: Anti-aging involves using specialized products, treatments, and procedures to target specific skin concerns. Well aging considers intentional skincare and takes a broader approach, which considers: lifestyle choices, mental health, nervous system regulation, social connections, and emotional well-being.
- Outer Appearance vs. Quality of Life: Anti-aging often emphasizes maintaining a youthful external appearance, while well aging prioritizes the quality of life as one ages, valuing happiness, purpose, and holistic wellness, resulting in a vibrant body and beauty.
10 Ways To Optimize Well-Aging
Well-aging is not about reversing the clock or hiding the passage of time. It's about embracing the human journey, making the most of life's experiences, and nurturing your well-being.
Here are the ways you can optimize well aging and ensure that every year brings new adventures, wisdom, joy, and vitality:
1. Nervous System Regulation: *This is the most critical intervention for well aging.
Nerves are the pathways that carry signals to and from your brain and the rest of your body, including skin cells. Engaging in practices like breathwork, forest bathing, grounding/earthing, movement, uninterrupted sleep, chanting, cold therapy, natural sunlight exposure, vagus nerve soothing, and somatic therapies are a few ways to regulate your nervous system.
When your nervous system is unregulated, you experience "stress," activating hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline, stimulating the skin to react with inflammatory skin reactions and breaking down your natural collagen and elastin. (Read: all bad for skin.)
2. Movement: There is no better medicine for well aging than exercise. Peter Attia says, "We don't stop moving because we get old. We get old because we stop moving."
Engage in daily activity that builds muscle, strength, endurance, or flexibility. Aim to keep your body strong by regularly breaking a sweat and elevating your heart rate. In the process, you'll release endorphins (boosting mood, reducing stress, and regulating the nervous system), improve circulation, and feed skin cells with oxygen. (Read: very beneficial.)
3. Mindfulness + Emotional Fitness:
If you want to change your life, change your mind.
The brain is a muscle that requires strength training, like your arms and abs. This looks like cultivating a regular practice that expands your self-awareness, strengthens emotional regulation, and deepens your relationship to your body intelligence.
A foundational tool used at Beauty Flow is meditation, as it has been the most impactful intervention for strengthening the brain and elongating telomeres. ( A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome.)
Other essential practices are breathwork, morning alignment rituals, journaling, muscle testing, Internal Family System therapy, Qigong, yoga, and walking meditation.
4. Nourishment On The Plate:
Feed your body whole, nutrient-dense, mineral-rich foods focusing on antioxidants, fiber, greens, omega-3 fats, and quality protein. Honing in on foods that support a healthy and diverse microbiome and foster good digestion. When all else fails, eat the rainbow for nutrient diversity, and count the colors on your plate (not the calories).
Balance your blood sugar and drink filtered, structured, and mineral-rich water.
5. Sacred Rest:
Like your phone, you need charging when you get depleted. Listening to your body when it needs to slow down or take a break is one thing; acting on it is the power move.
You may be someone who needs to give yourself permission to rest or slow down intentionally. If so, gently work towards shifting your mindset about rest and safeguarding restoration so that you avoid burnout.
Go beyond physical rest and also consider creative, emotional, mental, spiritual, sensory, and social rest. Most women can make space for physical rest, but still feel exhausted. This usually means that you may not be resting in the right areas of your life to get quality restoration.
Also, don't discount beauty sleep. Your body, brain, and skin do the heavy lifting to regenerate and recover during your sleep, and depend on deep and uninterrupted sleep. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is a practice that yields the best beauty results at any age.
Humans are energy beings. Intentionally connecting to a force greater than yourself reinforces inner peace. You can connect through meditation, prayer, reflection, journaling, plant medicine, or guided ceremonies, to name a few.
You are designed to be a social being. You can gain a sense of safety, belonging, connectedness, empathy, and meaning while helping to sharpen your memory & cognitive skills through rich connections with friends, family, and your close community. Whether being part of a shared experience with a group or in an intimate one-on-one setting, foster meaningful relationships, and remember to prioritize time with (good) people despite your false sense of a busy schedule.
With the people you feel safe with, consider the power of touch. You will quickly boost oxytocin and soothe the vagus nerve by sharing a hug, kiss, high-five, or any contact with another beating heart.
8. Play + Pleasure:
Even if you have to schedule it, make time for creativity, fun, novel experiences, travel, passion, or whatever lights you up (and isn't attached to work or productivity.)
Aging well depends on a high-frequency vibe in your body, requiring you to regularly do what energizes you with the people who fill you up, and, ultimately, experience more pleasure.
- Without judgment, reflect on how comfortable you are with pleasure.
- Most women have a limit to which they allow pleasure to let them feel good and safe. At a point, women can lose trust in pleasure or feel unworthy of it, usually because they are afraid of their own power and/or bigness.
- And yet, we crave to meet the version of ourselves drowning in pleasure. Never forcing pleasure, but chronically attracting it.
- The gateway to aging well is to practice pleasure daily. Day by day, you are increasing your tolerance to pleasure. As the baseline to pleasure shifts, so does the vibrancy in your body.
9. Lower Toxic Load:
Little by little, transition your personal care products and cleaning products to natural alternatives or transparent brands that don't include ingredients that significantly impact your health.
Avoid endocrine + immune + reproductive disruptors, allergens, heavy metals, pathogens, and pesticides.
10. Conscious Beauty Rituals:
From an external beauty perspective, keep it simple. It's easy to be convinced to go in many directions and with a trove of products to prove it.
Where you can go wrong is getting swayed into a #ticktokmademebuyit trap because your favorite influencer has a brand partnership (i.e. paid endorsement) selling something new and shiny that you may not need.
The best strategy is to be conscious of your approach and be intentional with your selections. Here is what you actually need to focus on:
Having a skincare regimen that is simple but uses effective ingredients (think: skin cycling), focusing on 1) high-performing serums with- retinol, Vitamin C., bakuchiol, or niacinamide, 2) microbiome-protecting moisturizers, and 3) a mineral sunscreen SPF 30 or higher.
For makeup, the cliche "less is more" will stand true by focusing on sheer, lightweight foundation, well-groomed brows, emphasis on the lashes, and a pop of color on the cheeks and lips.
You become what you take in. Aging well comes down to what you put in and on your body, the thoughts you think, the conversations you have, who you surround yourself with, and how you see the world around you.
The higher the frequency in your mind and body, the more your systems reach homeostasis (optimal functioning), including your skin cells; not to mention your mitochondria, microbiome, and nervous system.
Hopefully, you found yourself happy to hear that you have been focusing on some of these lifestyle shifts or that you already knew what to do. Maybe this was a good reminder, or maybe you are thinking, "Sounds great on paper, but how do I realistically do all this with everything I have going on in my life?"
The truth is, it's hard. But it is hard if you don't do it. You have to pick your hard.
Breakthroughs don't happen with big grand gestures. Breakthroughs happen with micro-shifts. It's a slow build, it's learning balance, it's gentle consistency.
All of what I teach in my signature beauty and wellness coaching program, The Beauty Flow Method.
How Well-Aging Impacts Your Beauty Flow
Well-aging is an approach that embraces the beauty of aging in all its forms, and it can play a prominent role in your beauty routine.
Ultimately, age on your own terms because beauty is a personal journey that shouldn't be decided for you by 'beauty culture'. Whether you prefer to do it naturally or with help from treatments, it's all your choice.
In my opinion, there should be no judgment or shame in how you choose to age. Full stop.
What remains the through-line of well aging is that it emphasizes activating your inner beauty for outer beauty alignment and vitality. In other words, the fastest way to restore flow in your beauty is to restore flow in your mind and body.
The shift is to focus on building an environment for your body and aging cells to thrive. Once they are balanced and receive the nourishment to perform, you will upgrade your vitality and skin health, expand your health + life span, and reclaim your youthful fire.
Remember, aging is a beautiful and natural process that adds depth and richness to your life – cherish it!
Learn about the art of well aging and beauty with the industry's most comprehensive beauty and wellness program The Beauty Flow Method.
My 12-week coaching program where you work with one-on-one with me to establish the right-for-you lifestyle strategies, nourishment rituals, and beauty protocols to help you step into the highest version of yourself and age with grace. Ultimately reaching your beauty flow.