Face or Figure

by Kezia on September 22, 2008

Past a certain age, to paraphrase iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve, it’s either your face or your figure.

In the late 70s, a woman of a certain age was probably between 35 and 40. The phrase was popularized by psychotherapist Lillian B. Rubin in “Women of a Certain Age: The Midlife Search for Self. Today’s ‘certain age’ is likely much older, although with the proliferation of botox and volumizing injectables , who knows?

Seriously though, as we age (and are no longer in our dewy 20s) striving to maintain a runway-model-thin or elite-athlete-fit body can make you look gaunt and older than you really are.

Why yo-yo dieting is bad

It’s no shocker that tanning, puffing on American Spirits and downing cocktails is a recipe for lackluster skin and wrinkles (not to mention serious health consequences). Another way to court lines and sags is to keep gaining and losing the same 10-20 pounds. When women lose weight, it comes off their face and breasts first, leading to slackened, inelastic and damaged skin.

You are what you eat

Nutritionists, doctors, your healthiest friend at work all believe that eating whole organic whole foods benefits skin. Your diet should also include good fats like salmon, avocados, olive oil and almonds that keep skin supple and safeguards against inflammation. According to uber-derm, Dr. Perricone, controlling inflammation can help delay and reverse premature aging in skin.

Exercise smarter, not harder

High-impact exercise- like running- increases stress on the skin with constant repetitive motion. Over time, this leads to too much facial fast loss. I’m talking grueling, long distance runs more than thrice weekly. Jogging is fine- just be sure to wear sunscreen if you jog outside during daylight. Yoga, biking and walking (my favorite) also give good glow.

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight (for you), follow these practical tips for lovely, covetable skin<

  • When possible, avoid excess amounts of stress and get plenty of sleep (I know- easier said than done…)

  • Shun the sun during peak hours—10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and protect your skin with SPF daily

  • Don’t smoke. It’ll kill you and make you look old fast

  • Drink lots of water—hydrated skin looks plumper is less prone to wrinkling.

Image from La Chamade via Cafe Mode

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashe Mischief September 23, 2008 at 5:25 am

I was discussing this topic on Sunday, while watching the Emmys. One of the presenters (I forget who) sparked a convo about how she & Madonna would both look better if they stopped trying to be so fit, and allowed themselves to gain 10 pounds. They’re so lean that they’re looking gaunt and unhealthy as they age.

Great article! You’ve given me one more good reason not to ever have to run ;)


2 marta September 23, 2008 at 6:03 am

Great information and well apprecaited, thanks!


3 WendyB September 23, 2008 at 7:46 am

I know plenty of people who hold onto both face and figure by not going to extremes. That “face/figure” thing was dreamt up by people who wanted to justify their weight gain! But you can be fit without getting crazy about it.


4 Kezia September 23, 2008 at 9:30 am

Wendy- I know you can get fit without going too crazy. I’m trying to do that! But, IMHO we aren’t exactly a culture of moderation or balance.


5 jennine September 23, 2008 at 11:30 am

yeah, i know people who hold onto both face and figure and i know people who don’t… albeit it does take more work to make up for the lack of fat in the face. fit people are more prone to work on those things anyway.

and one shouldn’t discount genetics.

i have to say, my weight does fluctuate 10-15lbs and i’ve noticed a bit of sagging here and there…


6 Becky September 23, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I’m all for justifying weight gain! Still, I do enjoy a good avocado and your advice is sane and sensible. Ack, moderation is not my friend but then, I never had Deneuve’s face or body to begin with!



7 Kezia September 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm

@Becky- mmmm. i love avocadoes. delish and wonderful for the skin. what more could you ask for?


8 Kezia September 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

@jennine…you’re lovely. any flaws are imaginary. :-) but, yeah, genetics. great when they’re on your side, a bummer when they’re not, right? xo


9 Les March 31, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Agree with everything. I believe whole-heartedly in self-preservation and grueling exercise regimes don’t cut it. Some of my fitness fanatic friends look years older than me. Other things to consider - stay far away from Sugar! I’ve discovered the four S’s are the biggest aging culprits - Sun, Smoking, Sugar and not Sleeping on your back.


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