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Today is a day when many people make resolutions, some of them major, most of them small; things that we feel will improve our lives in some way. And a number of the resolutions that we follow can have a positive impact on our external beauty.

Have you resolved to quit smoking once and for all?

I applaud you for taking this difficult step. It will not be easy, and I encourage you to get help from your doctor or family care clinic.

Smoking not only shortens your life -- and I have painful, first-hand evidence of the devastation it can wreak on a human body --- it also stains your teeth and fingers. Squinting through cigarette smoke wrinkles your eyes, and puffing on them wrinkles your mouth. Lack of oxygen imparts a greyish cast to your skin.

Quitting smoking won’t magically erase all the damage already done to your skin and lungs, but you’ll notice improvements over time, not to mention the health benefits.

Resolve to wear sun screen. I know I sound like Mary Schmich, the true author of the infamous “Kurt Vonnegut MIT Commencement Speech -- Wear Sun Screen.” I go on and on enough about the benefits of using sun protection, but once again I offer myself as proof that it works. I will celebrate my 45th birthday this year. Most people place my age at 32 to 35.

Remove your makeup every night, no matter how tired you might be from tending to clients or a sick child or dancing at your best friend’s wedding. Think of makeup as a protective layer from the grime of everyday life. Taking it off removes the dust and pollen you’ve picked up as you go about your day. Exfoliate and moisturize and sleep can also be a time for your skin to renew and regenerate itself just as your body does.

Take care of your teeth. Use a whitening toothpaste, because those commercials really are telling you the truth -- whiter teeth make you look younger. Floss or use a WaterPik. Visit your dentist regularly. A healthy smile is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

Drink water. If you can’t manage 8 to 10 glasses a day, it truthfully doesn’t matter because every food that you eat or beverage you drink gives you liquid. But try to drink more water because it curbs your appetite and increases your body’s ability to flush out toxins. If you live in a warm climate, it helps your body regulate its natural temperature.

Don’t follow fad diets. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it needs a wide range of vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal health. Skin also NEEDS dietary fats. Select omega-3, omega-6 and monosaturated fats as found in olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, fish, most nuts, flax seeds and avocados. Use in moderation.

Try to exercise. In addition to everything else it does for you, it helps you sleep and imparts a lovely rosy glow to your skin.

Sleep more. Most adults are sleep-deprived, and recent studies indicate that lack of sleep is actually a factor in weight gain. It’s also a major contributor in memory loss, depression, mental ability and energy levels. In North America, the average adult sleeps a little less than 7 hours a night, down 2 hours from a century ago. Sleep researchers indicate that adults ideally need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

Resolve to break out of any beauty rut you are stuck in. Wear your hair a different way -- grow it out, try a wig to see if you’d like it short, get highlights, straighten it for a day. Try a different shade of eye shadow or lipstick on occasion. Buy Wet ‘N Wild to decide if you like it before buying a quality brand.

Every small step toward good health adds up to a more beautiful you!

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