Asian mother and daughter in yellow, laughing while holding lip gloss

For many women, the joy of every birthday is marked by that tiny nagging fear of growing older. Ever wished you could stop time and discover the fountain of youth? Or are you happily embracing life’s changes? In this article, four Filipinas share their thoughts on aging gracefully, plus their secrets on always looking their best.

Getting Acquainted With Vitamin A

“I first noticed the initial signs of aging in my early 30s. The first signs were discoloration – overall blotchiness on my face, sun spots, excessive oiliness, and on my T-zone,” says Rachelle Medina, a content editor, interior designer, and writer in her late 40s.

Initially, she began experimenting with a cornucopia of products and adopted a complicated regimen. “My derma said my large assortment of random skin products was doing more harm than good! So, I simplified my skincare routine. It now involves thoroughly but gently cleansing my skin, using tretinoin nightly – it made my ‘turkey neck’ disappear! – and applying sunblock religiously. I’ve been doing the same beauty regimen for ten years, and it still works!”

Meanwhile, for 52-year-old visual display supervisor Binky Ilusorio, the signs of aging weren’t just skin-deep. “I had an acne problem for which I have been using some form of retinol since my late teens. So the first signs of aging were not so much on the outside as they were on the inside.”

She adds, “In my 40s, my joints were getting stiff and creaky, but that could have also been a function of being heavy most of my life.” She started taking collagen and biotin oral supplements to address her achy joints. “They seem to help hair, skin, and nails as well.”

Lately, the signs of aging have started to manifest externally. “I have been spying some lines at the outer corners of my eyes. Drier skin and some falling hair, too.” Binky adds, “Retinol use as a teen has served me well, so I continue to use a retinol-based product, and sometimes a vitamin C cream or serum as well.”

According to this , Vitamin A and its derivatives, particularly , protect against the breakdown of collagen and are among the most effective substances in delaying the process of aging.

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Dealing With Hair Fall

“About five years ago, spots started appearing on my face, and the staff at the salon I patronize began calling my attention to my ” confesses Julie C. Lina, a practicing lawyer in her 60s. “Friends would point out furrows on my wide forehead, too.”

Unperturbed, she admits she hasn’t tried to address the usual signs of aging. “However, I give more attention to my hair fall issues since I take pride in my thick hair. So, I’ve begun to take a special interest in products with natural ingredients.”

For thinning hair, the recommends scaling back on styling treatments, eating healthy, and switching to a gentle shampoo.

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Celebrating Laugh Lines

“During the first week of the pandemic, I noticed tiny wrinkles/. I wasn’t bothered because they only show every time I would laugh,” shares Mansy Abesamis, a papercut Illustrator, potter, and data artist in her early 30s. Her reaction? “I thought it was natural, and to be honest, I kind of liked seeing them.”

Her simple beauty routine consists of in the morning and drinking lots of water. “Now that I am in Siargao half the time, I also use moisturizer and toner. I’m extra mindful of protecting my skin.”

As an avid coffee lover, Mansy is not yet too concerned about coffee stains marring her signature sunny smile. But according to the , coffee, tea, and wine are major staining culprits.

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Realizing It’s Just a Number

With modern breakthroughs, beauty norms are becoming more inclusive, and yes, with a shift in one’s perspective, aging doesn’t have to be so scary.

Turning 53 next January, Binky is looking better than ever – a picture of aging gracefully. “I decided to work on my health in May 2015. It’s still a struggle for natural-born couch potato me, but I’m working on it.” A mindful shift in her diet and mindset has helped her shed unwanted pounds, but more importantly, it has made her feel healthier, more energetic, and visibly radiant. Her advice? “Hydrate. Make good food choices most of the time. Move. Rest. Balance.”

The “Gracefully” Part

“Acceptance is the secret to aging gracefully,” shares Rachelle. “I have accepted the changes in all aspects of my life – physical, mental, personal, and career. I do not stress over my physical changes because, yes, ! I have also accepted my remaining age spots and call them ‘freckles’; I believe they add character!”

Embodying the definition of “aging like fine wine,” Rachelle tips: “Being kind to myself works, and having the wisdom I lacked in my younger years makes my life a thousand times better.”

For Mansy, aging gracefully means accepting that we’re human and we age, so she’s determined to live her life to the fullest.

“I prioritize the things I enjoy doing, and right now, it’s . I also believe in a holistic approach – aside from ensuring I’m physically healthy, I prioritize my emotional well-being. Be sure that you are living the life that you want. Of course, don’t forget to apply sunscreen!”

Meanwhile, forever young 60-something Julie shares, “In our world, perfection is relative. So, if people say I seem to have discovered the ‘fountain of youth,’ I ascribe it to my basic attitudes of acceptance, positivity, and gratitude... like the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. I try not to let daily stressors get the better of me.”

For Binky, there is no one formula for aging gracefully. “Whether you choose to accept the changes or to fight the changes, do it for yourself and do it unapologetically.”