The World’s Best Stay-Gorgeous Secrets
Don't get jealous, but in some parts of the world, a visit to the spa is as common as a manicure. "The average Russian woman goes for a facial about once a month," Berchik says. And in many countries, spas are more about maintenance and education than indulgence. "In France, once you hit your teens, your mother usually takes you to the facialist to teach you how to care for your skin," Kinnaird explains.
And some of the standard steps in a spa facial, like steaming, remain popular the world over. In Morocco, "both traditional and more modern women go every week to hammams [public bathhouses] that have a sauna or steam room," explains Myriam Bohi, who works for the skin-care company Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique USA.
While there's no proof that a facial can turn back the clock, steaming does have its benefits. "Heat opens your pores so the ingredients in skin-care products are more effective," Dr. Blyumin-Karasik explains. And if you don't have time to hit the spa, it's easy to steam at home before you apply skin-care products: Just fill your sink with hot water, lean over, and cover your head with a towel; five minutes should do the trick. (If the water cools, just turn on the tap to add more hot water.)
Eat great, look great
Do you believe that when you eat well it shows on your skin? If so, you've got a worldly point of view. "Greek women believe they have better-looking skin than women from other countries, and I credit their Mediterranean diet," says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, PhD, a New York City–based dermatologist. Research supports this idea; women whose diets are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acidscommon nutrients found in Greek-diet staples like olive oil, colorful vegetables, and fishhave fewer signs of damage after sun exposure, according to a recent study.
In Korea, "many women think if the body is healthy, the skin will naturally look younger as well," says Kim, who notes that herbal teas are popular (she drinks five cups of antioxidant-rich green tea a day).
Valerie Orsoni, founder of Le BootCampand another fan of green teasuspects French women may look younger because of their diets. "We don't consume as many sugary foods," she says. "I stick to things like whole grains and vegetables that are low on the glycemic index." She could be on to something: One study in Australia has linked a low-glycemic diet featuring a variety of produce, legumes, and fish to fewer wrinkles.
That just goes to show you don't need to travel to international spas to age-proof your skin. Small changes to your diet and skin-care routine can make a big different in how well you age. Take it from Russian women: "We believe you don't have to be beautiful from birth," Berchik says, "but you are beautiful if you take care of yourself."