It’s no secret that there are certain clichés attached to Asian people when it comes to aging. You’ve probably heard of phrases like “Asians don’t raisin”, or maybe even mistaken your impossibly young-looking Asian friend’s parent for an older sibling. While science and genetic makeup can account for the seemingly “ageless” appearance of many Asian people, there are also several lifestyle habits that contribute greatly towards maintaining beautiful and youthful-looking skin. Do as Asians do, and lock in these skin-boosting habits that will keep you glowing beyond your years.
1. Discover the benefits of gua sha facials
Facial gua sha, or the so-called “Eastern Facelift”, is a modern beauty practice derived from ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A flat, smooth-edged tool is used in a scraping motion along key acupressure points on the face, which stimulates blood flow and in turn increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. We suggest incorporating facial gua sha into your daily skincare routine at home, once per day after your favorite moisturizing serum and before heavier creams. A gua sha session should take around 15-20 minutes, so settle into your favorite Netflix show and enjoy your DIY facial massage therapy.
2. Hydrate your skin with a daily sheet mask
In Asia, sheet masks are considered such a daily essential that they’re sold in most 7-11’s and pharmacies. Sheet masks are as diverse as they come, offering hydrating, tightening and brightening benefits. The best way to use a sheet mask is after your cleanser, toner, and a few drops of a hydrating anti-aging serum every morning before applying your makeup or at night before bed. Not only do nourishing sheet masks provide skin hydration and a big boost of vitamins and nutrients, but they also increase the absorption rate of your favorite anti-aging skincare products.
3. Wear sunscreen
While the common western beauty standard is tanned and sun-kissed skin, the opposite ideal of fair, milky-white skin reigns supreme in Asia. For this reason, many Asians will tend to prefer covering up and wearing a high-SPF broad spectrum sunscreen to protect their skin from overexposure to sun. Early adoption of daily habits like wearing and re-applying sunscreen every 2-3 hours is vital for avoiding long-term sun damage caused by UV rays – one of the biggest known causes of premature skin aging.
4. Drink more green tea
Did you know that green tea is one of the least processed varieties of tea? This means that the leaves are rich in powerful antioxidants such as EGCG, which is abundant in potential health benefits like reducing inflammation, aiding in weight loss, lowering the risk of heart disease, and improving brain function. Green tea’s detoxification properties also help to protect the liver from damaging substances such as alcohol, while simultaneously boosting the immune system. Studies suggest drinking 3-5 cups of green tea per day reaps the most optimal health benefits.
5. Eat more collagen-replenishing foods
Be more conscious about the food you consume, and you can fight aging from the inside out. Many Asian cultures believe in the healing and regenerative powers of certain anti-aging food ingredients – some of which may surprise you. In China, for example, goji is revered for its high carotene, vitamin A, B1, B2, C, calcium and iron content, while red dates are believed to help replenish and nourish blood, improve circulation, and promote glowing skin. Red Date Longan Tea with Goji Berries is a traditional sweet drink that combines these revered skin-boosting ingredients, so give this recipe a try at home. Another highly touted delicacy is edible Bird’s nest, a popular tonic created from the solidified saliva of swiftlets, contains 22 types of amino acids, calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, and potassium, and is believed to accelerate skin cell metabolism, smoothen wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
6. Avoid consuming cold, chilled, or frozen food and drinksAccording to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, we should maintain spleen and stomach health by avoiding chilled or frozen foods and consuming less cold and raw foods. Slightly cooked food is considered ‘warm’ because it is much easier for the stomach to draw nutrients from. The kind of food you eat is believed to be responsible for the balance of your ‘middle burner’, aka the stomach, which receives food and sends it to the spleen, which transforms it into Qi (energy) and blood.
It’s important not to put out the fire of your middle burner with an overload of ‘cold’ foods such as ice water, raw vegetables, and grains. You can alter the properties of cold food by cooking it or adding warming spices, or you can even neutralize certain cold dishes such as raw sushi with the warming ingredient of pickled ginger. An improper and imbalanced diet can lead to a deficiency in Qi and blood, which can result in adverse effects on the lungs, heart, and skin. This is why, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a balanced diet is considered the first focus of tackling any health or skin ailment.
Skin health is considered extremely important in Asian cultures, and ancient anti-aging wisdom has found its way into all areas of modern life – from at-home acupressure massages to qi-friendly diets. Embrace these oriental anti-aging secrets now, and say bye-bye to premature aging woes.