Beauty: The three S's - Write of the Middle
Beauty The Lovin' Life Linky

Beauty: The three S’s

October 19, 2017
sleep, suntanning, smoking, beauty

sleep, suntanning, smoking, beauty

This post is part of The Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown-Up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson.  I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way.  To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.

Pamela says:

Sun, Smoking and (lack of) Sleep … Nothing will make you look older than your years than indulging in these beauty crimes!  Prevention is better than the cure.


The fastest way to look old is to lie in the sun.  Sun damage is now considered the most important factor in skin ageing, accounting for 90 percent of the damage you see.  If you don’t believe this, just compare the skin on your hands with that on your bum!  It’s never too late to protect your skin, so start slathering on the SPF 30 religiously.


The next biggest age accelerator is smoking, which affects your skin at a cellular level.  In response to the toxins in tobacco, your body forms ‘free radicals’ – unstable molecules that damage cell DNA.  Smoking also hardens the arteries, restricting blood flow and preventing oxygen getting to the skin.  It increases production of an enzyme that breaks down the supply of the skin’s main building material, collagen.  It also reduces the body’s stores of vitamin A and blocks absorption of vitamin C – both vital for healthy skin.  And we haven’t even mentioned those nasty smokers’ lines that radiate from a constantly puckered mouth …


It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing!  When you’re asleep, your skin cells go into overtime, renewing themselves and repairing damage.  Research shows that between 10pm and 2am your skin cells are most actively rejuvenating themselves.

My thoughts:

sunbathing, suntanning, sunbaking

Sun-tanning.  Oh if only we knew when we were younger.  Would we have listened though?  Vanity is very high on the priorities when you’re young and gorgeous and to have a natural glowing tan was everything back in the day!  The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign came a bit late for myself and my peers, in 1981.  The habit was formed and the need for a tan was already established and part of our culture.  There was very little education or knowledge about the risks of sun exposure back then.  I’m grateful things are different nowadays so that our kids are more informed and hopefully have established good sun safe practices as part of the culture for themselves and their own children.  Certainly we are seeing a lot of awesome fake tan options and the younger generation seem to have well and truly embraced the fake tan [some are still better than others don’t you think?]  Personally, I’m more a fan of the natural look.  There is nothing wrong with fair skin!

Why tanning is bad for your looks:  Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage. In fact, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.  There is also the fact of: more freckles, more moles, pigmentation, leathery skin, and the hugely increased risk of skin cancer!

smoking, cigarettes, ashtray

Smoking.  Scary stuff that Pamela tells us, but all very true!  I’ve revealed this before on the blog but sadly I used to be a smoker.  I gave up many times over the years but I’m proud to say that I am most definitely an ex smoker now and it’s been 9+ years since that last cigarette.  I was considered late to start smoking and was made fun of and made feel ‘uncool’ for not smoking and of course that peer pressure is what eventually led to me taking it up and ultimately becoming addicted to it.  Oh how things have changed!!  Smoking is very uncool now.  You can’t sit at your desk at work, with a strategically placed ashtray, and puff away like you did in my earlier days in the workforce [that was quite normal and acceptable and almost everyone was doing it].  Thankfully, again, these days there is more education and awareness around smoking.  As a result, far fewer kids of today have taken up smoking than the youth of our generation.  Hopefully, it will eventually be a habit from the past that people look at as some very odd thing that people used to do in the ‘olden days’.

Why smoking is bad for your looks:  Negative impact on your skin; yellow stained fingers; stained teeth; premature aging and wrinkles; thinner hair (yep toxic chemicals in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals as well); increased scarring (wounds won’t heal as well); dental problems – greater risk for all kinds, including oral cancer and gum disease; increased risk of developing cataracts, and more!

alarm, sleep, sleeping

Sleeping.  Ahhh sleep.  When we were young we could sleep for ages.  A sleep-in on weekends was a given!  When we become parents we are desperate for sleep.  We crave sleep but we never can get enough!  Then the kids get older and finally we get some more sleep again – hooray!  Then the peri-menopause and menopause years creep up on us and all of a sudden we can’t sleep as good as we used to.  I know that if I get 7 or more hours of sleep in a night then that is a super duper fantastic night and I am thrilled.  I average 5-6 hours most nights.  I seem to be able to exist on that amount of sleep but more of the 7+ hour nights would be good.  Apparently changes in our sleep patterns as we age are quite normal.  After a little research, I found out the following: 

As you age your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you’ll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep (an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle). When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you’ll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night. That’s why many of us consider ourselves “light sleepers” as we age. You may also:

  • Want to go to sleep earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.
  • Have to spend longer in bed at night to get the hours of sleep you need, or make up the shortfall by taking a nap during the day.

In most cases, such sleep changes are normal and don’t indicate a sleep problem. 

If you would like better sleep, you might find some of the tips I provided in my post 1O tips for better sleep helpful.

Why lack of sleep is bad for your looks:  Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Basically the saying we have heard all our lives “I need my beauty sleep” is very, very true!

Were you a sun-worshipper in your younger days?  Have you compared the skin on your hands to the skin on your bum [Pamela’s words!]?  Shocking difference isn’t there!!  Did you ever smoke?  Have your sleep patterns changed as you’ve aged?

Ciao for now,

P.S.  At the time this post publishes, I will be away in Perth being a busy tourist trying to see as much as I can in a very short time.  Because of this, I won’t be able to reply to your comment until I return but I will reply!  I also won’t be able to read and comment on all the linked up posts this week but will try to do so for some when I return but most likely not all of them as I usually try to do.  

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:

Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways

It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.

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  • Lydia C. Lee October 19, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Interestingpost. The sleep is my issue, and not really on purpose, just busy….will try to get more!

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I need more sleep too. It’s not that I’m too busy though. I just wake early. Doesn’t matter what time I go to bed. Makes no difference.

  • Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject October 19, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Great post MIn! I spent too much time trying to tan my pale white skin when I was younger. As a consequence, I’ve had dozens of skin cancers removed, with one requiring 40 stitches (and I was only 25 at the time!!). Sun damage is seriously scary stuff. Having lost my Dad to melanoma, I’m now much more careful about the sun, but I fear the damage may already have been done. Luckily, I was never a smoker and most of the time, I sleep pretty well, even though it’s often only 6-6.5 hours per night (I’d like it to be 8!) 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Thanks Lyndall. I roasted myself when I was young too. Nothing removed yet but I am way overdue to have my skin checked and I know I will not escape unscathed. Like you I too do fear the damage has already been well and truly done. I am so sorry to hear you lost your Dad to melanoma. I regret that peer pressure led to me becoming a smoker but I’m very proud to have given up many years ago. As for sleep ~ I’m sleeping well but just not as long as I’d like!

  • JODIE FILOGOMO October 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I have to admit, that suntanning is pretty much my only huge regret from my youth. Of course, it was the norm, so I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude to let it pass by. At least now, I can embrace my pale skin. Of course, now I’m paying the price, but that’s life!!

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Good to hear you’re embracing your pale skin Jodie. I think pale skin in beautiful but of course when I was young I did not! xo

  • Deborah October 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Oh god yes Min, as a child of the 80s I used to be out there with my Coconut Oil plastered over me and the number of times I burned to a blister was ridiculous.

    We’ve certainly come a long way since then!

    As for the sleep thing, my GP has given me sleeping tablets and they’ve made such a difference to my life. They’re the sort of thing I once vowed I’d never take but after months (at a time over many many years) of never getting to sleep before 2am or so they are a godsend.

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Oh yes, me too ~ coconut oil & baby oil. I blistered a number of times too. One time resulted in the freckles I now have on my chest. I’m glad you’re getting better sleep now. Sleep really is so critical to everything! I know this from all the years of sleep deprivation when the kids were babies. Lack of sleep affects just about everything!

  • Leanne | October 19, 2017 at 11:39 am

    When I think back to all those days of getting burnt and peeling I could weep a little. I am fair skinned and have lots of “spot and dots” and now have a regular appointment for checks at the skin clinic. My only saving grace is I started wearing a sunhat at 17 (and got mocked for it at the time) but it certainly helped my face I’m sure! I’ve never been a smoker (thank goodness!) altho’ I’ve been tempted a few times because smokers are always so skinny! Sleep and me – well it fluctuates – based a lot on my husband’s snoring – but that’s when the spare bed comes in handy sometimes!

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Oh Leanne, I could weep a little too! I peeled a lot. I blistered. I roasted myself. I’m fair skinned too but I was always brown as a berry ~ a little surfie chick! Lucky you having never been a smoker. Wish I never was, but I succumbed to peer pressure and the desire to fit in. Glad it is in the past now though. As for sleep and snoring, LOL yes thank goodness for the spare bed!

  • Kathy Marris October 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Yes to all of these! I used to lather myself in baby oil and fry in the sun when I was a teenager. I still like to get a little bit of a tan, but always wear sunscreen. I was also a smoker for about 13 years. Fortunately I gave up this disgusting habit before I had kids. I consider myself to be a light sleeper but I do normally get 7 to 8 hours a night. #TeamLovinLife

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Wow ~ 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. I’m so jealous! It’s generally 5 to 6 for me!

  • Sydney Shop Girl October 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t smoke, I don’t tan but I am a bit sleep deprived. Oh well, only one out of three ain’t bad.

    SSG xxx

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:30 am

      You are doing very well SSG! Just watch you don’t nod off at inopportune moments! haha

  • Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies October 19, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Urgh lack of sleep is my issue! My days are so busy that any catching up is a dream. My husband can snooze at an instant –
    not that I’m at all jealous x #Lovinlifelinky

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Ugh ~ it’s not great being tired all the time. Due for a holiday?

  • Jenni | Unclutter Your Universe October 20, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Being a light sleeper and having a partner how snores most evenings is not a good mix, at the best of times but seems to be a lot worse at the moment, so it’s something that I need to address.

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Oh dear! Has your partner been checked for sleep apnea? Have you got some earplugs? Good luck Jenni. Hope you get a good night’s sleep soon!

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit October 20, 2017 at 6:40 am

    I wish the sun wasn’t so bad for us, because I do love it. Spray tans are now my go-to because a BBQ chook looks so much more appealing than a boiled one.

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Haha ~ love your BBQ chook vs boiled chook reference! I love the feeling of lying in the sun too. It’s no wonder though because that’s what I grew up doing. I haven’t had much luck with spray tans. One looked too orange. Another ended up looking non existant. I don’t bother with fake tan either. I get a bit of colour naturally [with sunscreen] but mostly don’t bother with looking tanned at all these days.

  • Natalie October 20, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I don’t smoke, I don’t tan, and sleep ok most of the time. I judge my sleep quality by how I feel when I wake up and during the day, not the number of hours.

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Yay! You’re doing great with ‘the three S’s’ then Natalie!!

  • Jo Tracey October 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    I’ve never been a smoker, but absolutely was a sun worshipper. These days I get a lot of incidental sun, so wear sunscreen daily & carry a cap in the car. As for sleep, yeah, I’m not great at that. Hubby jokes I could hear a frog fart in a car miles away. All I can say is thank goodness for ear plugs.

    • Min October 23, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Hahaha heard any frogs fart lately Jo? Oh the sun worshipping was such a normal part of our youth wasn’t it?

  • Jo November 2, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Oh Lol! It’s a sign of our generation isn’t it. Tanning (especially baby oil), smoking, and burning the candle at both ends. Hands up, I’m guilty of all three – it was great while it lasted of course, until we knew better. Now I’m like Jo, can hear a frog fart at a hundred yards (my poor hubby – we sleep with a loud fan on come rain, snow or shine), no smokes for 26 years and paranoid about sunscreen, caps and long sleeves in the sun.

    • Min November 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one guilty of all three Jo! We knew no better then though … but we do now!