Barbara Morris 91, June 2018

How do you get fantastic skin that radiates health and looks alive – even before  you put on makeup?

Good genes help, but how you think, how you live – your lifestyle — helps even more. And, the earlier in life you learn what it takes to have skin that makes you a standout, the more success you will have. Remember, it’s easier to keep what you have than to try to get back what’s lost. Don’t wait until wrinkles appear. Think and work ahead. Be future-oriented.

Gerontologists say that with wise  lifestyle choices; only 30 percent of aging is the result of genetic makeup. This is verified on page 30 of Successful Aging  by John Rowe, M.D. and co authored by Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D. Think about it: That leaves an awesome amount of power to have over your aging process.

So, how do you take control of the skin’s aging process? Below are 14 powerful, no-fluff tips. It’s a lot to read but worth your time:


1. Beautiful skin starts on the inside. Have you noticed that most articles about skin care only refer to what you put ON your face? Your exterior is a reflection of what’s happening inside. That means you must pay attention to what you put into your body, day in and day out over time. How you live in the first 40 years will determine what you will look and feel like in the next forty.Get back to basics with food. Ninety percent of money spent on food is spent on processed food, which is nutritionally bankrupt, and the skin reflects the  nutritional deprivation. Replace processed food with nutritious skin-friendly food  such as salmon, for example. (If you don’t like salmon, take salmon oil capsules.) Eat more fresh veggies and raw vegetable juices. You will be rewarded with smooth, firm, glowing skin.

If you can’t recognize where the food you are eating came from, it’s probably processed and not skin-friendly. For example, when you eat fish, is it recognizable as fish, or is it in the form of processed, greasy, coated fish sticks? Ask yourself: What happened to the fish when it was made into fish sticks? What kinds of chemicals were added to prolong shelf life and improve taste? How long were the fish sticks stored in the warehouse or supermarket freezer? Have they been thawed and re-frozen? How many nutrients were lost in the process of turning fresh fish into fish sticks that may have been around for months?

That “breakfast cereal” you eat every morning: You know, the stuff that looks like puffed Styrofoam or shredded cardboard. It looks pretty, has a nice crunch, and is full of sugar, fat and a few vitamins, and maybe even some fiber. It is scientifically flavored to satisfy your craving for sweets, and to make you want to eat more of it.

What grain did the “cereal” come from? What did the grain look like when it was growing in the field? Or when it was harvested? Does the “cereal” even remotely resemble the original thing? How many kinds of chemicals were used to change the grain from wholesome food to just about nutritionally worthless junk? Your skin doesn’t like “phony phood.” It thrives and looks best on the “real thing.”

2. Beautiful skin requires lots of water. We are 80 percent water so constant replenishment is necessary to get rid of toxins and keep the body working We need at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Women spend tons of money on external moisturizers and drink less than 2 or 3 glasses a day, and then they wonder why they feel and look dry and crinkly. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already in a state of dehydration.

Telltale signs of chronic dehydration include offensive breath, pale, pasty, flaky skin with an overall withered look. Take the pinch test: The skin on the back of the hand is a barometer of how well you are hydrated. Pinch the skin and hold for five seconds and release. How long did it take to return to normal? Immediately,  or up to 10 seconds or more? A good practice to follow: Every time you void, drink a glass of water! Replace! Replace! Replace!

Instead of water, are you drinking soda – diet or regular? Maybe, a lot of it? Are you concerned about benzene found in sodas? The soft drink industry and the U.S. government have known about it for the past 15 years, but little has been done about it. So, what’s wrong with benzene? It’s a solvent used to make plastics and is found in gasoline. It’s also a recognized carcinogen. How does  benzene get in soda? In the presence of heat, preservatives used to control bacteria (sodium or potassium benzoate and ascorbic Acid  can react  to form benzene. Have you noticed that in the summer, many supermarkets pile cases of sodas outside on the sidewalk in the blazing heat, for days at a time? Decide for yourself if you want to go on guzzling soft drinks. You skin will  look better without sodas!

3. Even the best diets require supplementation. We can’t possibly get what we need for great skin even with the best “back to basics” diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are not always as fresh and nutritious as they should be. Think about  where they were grown, the pesticides and preservatives used to extend “shelf  life,” as well as other chemicals used to enhance growth. Think about how long they were stored, when they were shipped, and under what conditions.

You know that a bag of cut lettuce with a shelf life date of two weeks on the bag can’t be very nutritious. The lettuce may look good and even taste fresh – but when was it picked? What was done to it to prolong freshness? Can any kind of “fresh” food that normally spoils in a couple of days, yet is miraculously “embalmed” for two weeks – can it possibly enhance the appearance of your skin?

Think about adding anti-aging supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, acetyl –l- carnitine, DMAE, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and others. These “antioxidants” help the  body fight off free radicals responsible for aging. Ample antioxidants help the skin  stay smooth much longer. For sure, you need to take at least, a daily multiple vitamin. You can get inexpensive supplements from the drug store or multi-level marketing sites.. While they are good, many do not contain enough active ingredients to be useful. You get what you pay for. I use products from Metagenics, Ortho Molecular, Thorne and others usually recommended by a natural health care provider such as a naturopath. They generally have a more substantial amount of ingredients, or ingredients not found in drugstore vitamins.

A favorite of mine is bone broth. You can drink it “straight” or use it instead of water in many recipes. It’s fabulous for the skin. It helps to support collagen production that’s so necessary for beautiful skin. It’s available in most supermarkets or Costco. I get mine from Kettle and Fire.

4. Brown spots on the hands are the remains (“garbage”) of cell-damaging free radicals.  Free radicals occur as a result of just living, breathing, and metabolizing what goes into the body. When you see brown spots, it means the body didn’t have enough antioxidants to defuse free radical activity. If you don’t have brown spots, now is the time to make certain they don’t appear. Bump up your antioxidant intake! To lighten brown spots, ask your doctor if s/he thinks a prescription for 4% hydroquinone cream is right for you. If that doesn’t work, check the website Their product contains 12% hydroquinone plus other substances that really work.

5. If possible, find a traditionally trained physician or naturopath with expertise in preventive medicine and He or she will do tests to determine what you need to avoid premature aging, including skin-enhancing “bio- identical” natural hormone replacement. Find  a naturopath in your area. If you can’t find one or want a reference  ask your local independent pharmacist for names of naturopaths in your area. Pharmacies usually know which doctors do what.

6. Exercise not only keeps you in super shape, it makes your eyes and skin come alive. Walk outside or on a treadmill in your home for at least 30 minutes a day. Don’t allow conversations with yourself about being too tired, or not having enough time. Just do it! In addition, don’t forget about your face. The muscles in your face need regular exercise to stay firm. Consider using Cynthia Rowland’s “Facial Magic” system. Log on to 

7. Have daily bowel movement. It’s a must! If your internal plumbing is clogged, it’s going to have a negative effect on the appearance of your skin. Fiber every day is essential. Consider daily use of psyllium and/or bran to stay regular. If you use bran and psyllium, it’s vital to drink lots (and I DO mean lots) of water with them. If you don’t drink water with bran and psyllium, you will wind up passing painfully hard “bricks.”

8. Live in a spirit of gratitude for absolutely everything.  It releases “feel good” endorphins that will make your skin glow. Nothing is sexier. Don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s true that ultimately it’s all small stuff. Will you remember next week what you fussed about today? Not likely, so do your skin a favor and let stress, anger and resentment go! I can assure you that if you live to age 80, 90 or beyond, you will wonder why you ever fought, fumed and carried grudges over stuff that in the end, doesn’t matter.

9. When asked “How are you?” The response should always be “I’m fantastic.” It’s great for your skin because positive self-talk boosts release of “feel good” endorphins. And don’t ever, ever refer to yourself as an “old broad.” Have you ever seen a wrinkly “old broad” with glowing skin? How you perceive yourself shows on your face! Refuse to have a “senior moment.” When you accept “senior moments,” you accept “oldness.” It means you are beginning to think and act as an old person. How you think and behave finds expression on your face in the form of frown lines and down-turned corners of the mouth.

Everyone forgets now and then. Have you ever heard a young person, experiencing a memory lapse, explain it away with “Ooops, I’ve having a junior moment!” I doesn’t happen, right? If you can’t recall something, stop and give yourself time. It will come to you! Give your cognitive ability the benefit of the doubt. Instead of claiming a debilitating “senior moment” claim strong cognitive ability!

If you are experiencing memory lapses to the point that it bothers you, now is the time to increase anti-oxidants! Vitamins, C,E, alpha lipoic acid, l-acetyl carnitine, n-acetyl cysteine, and biotin and vitamin B12 in the form of under-the-tongue  methycobalamin tablets. Many university scientists have done credible research that shows that brain- friendly anti-oxidants, taken very early on, can help stop the  onset and progression of cognitive decline. If you are not doing crossword puzzles, now is the time to start. They exercise your brain to help you recall and think quickly. In the meantime, no more “I must be  getting old” comments and no more senior moments. Now is the time to take preventive action. Educate yourself about what it takes to manage the aging process. (See bonus info at bottom) Your skin will thank you.

10. Always wear a Mona Lisa smile. When the corners of your mouth are upturned, you not only look better, but it keeps facial muscles toned and you feel better. It will make others feel better as well, just to be around you. Take this test: When you are out and about, wear your Mona Lisa smile, and make eye-contact with people as they pass by and watch what happens. You will get happy smiles in return. You will make others feel good and you will feel great for having made their day. Bonus: If you are looking for a new love in your live, you may meet someone wonderful! A nice smile is youthful dynamite! By the way, if you are not taking care of your teeth, START NOW to regularly visit a dentist. If you have bleeding or infected  gums, the bacteria spreads throughout your body causing you not to feel well or have aches and pains of “unknown” origin!

11.  Go out of your way to sincerely compliment other women who look People are blown away when a stranger comments positively on their appearance. (I do it all the time and have never had a negative response.) For example, at the supermarket one day, while on line, I saw an older woman who was particularly well dressed. She looked like she had really taken the time to put herself together. I asked the person behind me to hold my place in line, went over to her and whispered, “I just had to tell you — you look fantastic.” She lit up like a Christmas tree and thanked me profusely. Her husband beside her, filled  with pride, nearly popped his shirt buttons. (I got a “two fer” that day!) When someone who doesn’t know you tells you how good you look, you know “you got it goin’ on.” When your skin knows you “done good,” it will reward you with a rosy glow all day long.

12. Don’t deprive yourself. Enjoy a piece of dark, organic chocolate now and Maybe even more often than “now and then” because dark chocolate is said to contain anti-oxidants which are great for the skin! There are many sweet lo-cal or sugar free “keto” products on the market to enjoy.

13. Surely you don’t smoke, do you? Nothing dries out the skin and makes it wrinkle prematurely than Vertical lines above the lips – tattle-tale “I’m a smoker” lines aren’t the revenge of Mother Nature. They are self-imposed. And that dead, gray pallor on your face– it’s not caused by smog, it’s not air pollution, and it’s not inherited. It’s the result of tobacco poisoning. There is no way to put it kindly!

14. If your doctor agrees, get a prescription for Retin A It is great for refining and smoothing the surface of the skin. But you must learn to use it correctly or you will experience unexpected redness and irritation. Just in case your doctor does not remind you: Use  it only on clean DRY skin. If your skin isn’t completely dry it  may become irritated. Use is sparingly. Begin by mixing about a  small pea size amount with moisturizer . Reduce the amount of moisturizer as  you see how your  skin responds. Avoid getting it in your eyes. Ask your doctor for additional advice. Caution: Do not purchase Retin A online, or anyplace where you can get it without a prescription. You don’t know what you are really getting. A similar product, formerly on prescription only is Differin Gel. While it’s not exactly the same as Retin A it’s close and may be worth a try.

I love Vitamin C and  there is a specific form that I take, and have taken mega doses of it for decades — calcium ascorbate. It’s a tasteless non acidic form of vitamin C and readily dissolves in water. I truly believe it’s the “master” substance  for great skin. You know it is because most skin care products hype its importance. While it’s great to apply externally, remember what I said at the beginning — great skin starts from within. The minimum daily recommended allowance is about 90 milligrams. It’s better than nothing but it’s not enough. I don’t think 1,000 milligrams is enough but that’s a decision you will have to make for yourself.

Here’s the Bottom Line

 Love and value yourself. Your body is the only one you will ever have. You can’t trade it in or move to something better. You have to take care of what you have. When you treat yourself well, it will show on your smooth, firm, glowing, gorgeous face and body far longer than you thought possible!


Barbara Morris, R.Ph., is a  pharmacist and author of several books on aging including The NEW Put Old on Hold . If you haven’ t already, Sign up here for her content-rich monthly Put Old on Hold newsletter.

Notice: Suggestions and opinions in this document are for information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness, disease, or other medical condition. Always consult with a qualified medical professional before making medication, supplement, exercise, or lifestyle changes or decisions.

Bonus Information


The culture we live in controls how women feel about their age.  WE are told age 65 is old! We are encouraged to retire at the “old” age or 65 or before. We even look forward to the day we call it quits! Will you be old at age 65? I think not, but beware — if you don’t plan ahead for a productive retirement you will go down the decline hill faster than you can imagine.

At the time Social Security was created, it was expected people would not live  much beyond age 65. When you consider how the lifespan is changing,  our “official” retirement age no longer makes sense. Because that is so, a revolutionary re-evaluation of the meaning of  lifespan has been created by Dr. Helen Harkness in her mind-blowing book Don’t Stop the Career Clock I read it years ago and it absolutely changed how I think about aging and retirement.. On page 79. Dr. Harkness writes:

If we need some kind of aging chronology, I suggest we design our own. The following is my “live long die fast” contemporary model for aging.

Young adulthood: 20-40
First midlife: 40-60
Second midlife: 60-80
Young old: 80-90
Old-old: 2-3 years to live

 As you can see, Dr. Harkness obliterates  the existence of “middle age”. The copyright date for the book is 1999. The lifespan has increased  since then. Now it is common for many people to live well beyond age 100. Between 2000 and 2014 the number of healthy individuals living to and beyond age 100 increased over 40 Percent. That’s huge. My advice is this: LIVE without regard to awareness of your chronological age. Your age only matters if you give it the power to affect your thinking and lifestyle.

Think about this: How you “feel” about your age DOES have an impact on your skin. When you are worried or concerned about something you  have little or no  control over, it’s going to show on the appearance of your face. You “inner lights” that project youthfulness and vitality will be “out of order” or completely shut off.

After the child bearing years are over, chronological age is  a meaningless number. What DOES matter in the older years is mental and physical competence, and age has little or nothing to do with it. The key is to make wise choices about how you live, starting as early in life as possible. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it and am still doing it. You can do it too. USE IT OR LOSE IT! You can get my full story in my latest book,  The New Put Old on Hold. If you have not yet signed up for my monthly newsletter, you can do so now  on the opening page of the Put Old on Hold Journal