Monday, July 15, 2013

Bones maketh the Beauty

So, you’ve been slathering yourself with the latest anti-aging cream every night in hopes to ward off “signs of aging”. The cream purportedly has ingredients that help repair the skin structural dual proteins of collagen & elastin. You are convinced about the company’s claims that repairing these skin structural proteins will keep your skin firm for longer.

But have you spared a thought for the real scaffolding underneath your skin – yes, your facial bones.

It is well known fact in fashion circles that what separates the beauty from her plain cousin is the underlying bone structure. It is what gives these women the so called “sharp features”. 

When asked about her success, Coco Chanel’s famous model Suzy Parker replied, “Sheer luck. I was lucky to have been born with cheekbones.” 

The entire fundamental behind illuminating creams & contouring powders is to give an appearance of sharp & well defined bone structure.

One doesn’t have to be skinny, to have bone structure. It is something that you are born with. You either have the high well defined cheekbones, large forhead, sharp chins and sharp jawlines at birth, or you don’t.

One would have thought that is end of things, made peace with whatever you were gifted with, and moved on.

However, latest research in the fields of beauty & plastic surgery are beginning to realize that is not just our skin that loses its luster with age, our bones too become weaker and our facial structure changes.


As we grow older, our facial bones — including our eye sockets, nose and upper jaw — continue to change. For example, our eye sockets enlarge, and the angle of the bones beneath our eyebrows decreases — which could contribute to the formation of frown lines on our foreheads, "crow's feet" at the corners of our eyes and droopy lower eyelids, the researchers say. Often a weak chin, or ill defined jaw line results in a look of heaviness in the lower face. A weak jaw line can accentuate fat on the neck too because of the lack of visual separation between the face and neck area.

It is unlikely that anything short of an invasive surgery could correct this skeletal aging, at least for the next few years, until some smart marketing manager cottons on, and we have creams that claim to work at the bone level. And why not, we already have creams that claim to provide fairness by working with your genes.  
But like always prevention is better than cure. Here’s what you could do to keep those cheekbones high & that jaw defined:
      
     1. Eat food high in Vitamin A & K: Essential for bone building, Vitamin A is lot more easily absorbed by the body when it is in the form of animal sourced foods (like milk, eggs, meat etc). Similarly Vitamin K is rare in nature but found abundantly in dairy & butter.

      2.  Eat Calcium: Kinda obvious no? Nuts (Almonds), green vegetables (Spinach), seafood, liver, beef, egg yolks, cabbage, cauliflower and dairy products along with bone broths, as well as meat cooked on the bone. Bony fishes like anchovies & sardines are great too (I love having them fried to a crisp)
      
     3. Eat protein & fat daily: Eating a diet richer in protein and fat increases your ability to absorb calcium. No point drinking milk that has been skimmed to fat to an inch of its life. Not only does it taste terrible, most of the calcium will be flushed out of the body un-absorbed. 

      Additionally, bones aren’t compact calcium sticks. In fact, bones are composed of 50% protein and 50% minerals. So, we need substantial amounts of both to make and/or heal bones. In a 2002 study of the affects of protein and calcium on bone density researchers found that subjects who ate less protein suffered more bone loss.


“Those with the highest protein intakes gained bone, whereas those with the lowest intakes actually lost bone. Clearly, calcium was not enough to protect the skeleton when protein intakes were low. Equally clearly, high protein intakes did not adversely affect bone status.”

4. Stop eating sugar: that sugary soft drink, that junk food - it all does your skin no favors. Look at food in terms of nutrients - is it a natural food, full of protein, fat or vitamins & minerals. If no, skip it. 

Over time, I'm beginning to realize that looking beautiful doesn't stop at skillfully applying that red lipstick or using serum every single night. Our beauty is affected by a lot of choices that we make - some of which we don't even bother to stop & think about - like what we feed our bodies. It is not always possible to change what we are born with, but it is always possible to make the best of what we have with some sensible choices. 

What do you think about the role of bone structure in beauty? 

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