Pamela Jacobs, 52, has no problem being mistaken for a woman in her 20s. (Photo: Pamela Jacobs/Facebook)
She’s been mistaken for her 21-year-old son’s girlfriend, has been offered student discounts on public transit, and staffers in her doctor’s office double-check her medical chart to make sure she really is as old as she claims to be.
But mom-of-one Pamela Jacobs, from Leeds, England, isn’t complaining about appearing three decades younger than 52, her actual age. In a July 6 article in the UK Daily Mail, she shares the lifestyle habits she believes have helped her slow the effects of time. “I’m not perfect and have flaws like everyone else but I am grateful for what I do have,” Jacobs told the Daily Mail.
Part of her secret comes down to a few easy beauty routines—such as moisturizing twice a day with organic coconut oil, exfoliating every other day, and never leaving the house without sunscreen. These three routines are pretty minimal, but dermatologists say they really can take years off a woman’s appearance.
Jacobs attributes her youthful face and body to good genes, healthy eating, and some smart, simple beauty habits. (Photo: Pamela Jacobs/Facebook)
“Sunscreen prevents exposure to UV rays, which break down collagen and cause wrinkles,” New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules, tells Yahoo Parenting. “And exfoliating is crucial because it gets rid of dead skin, stimulating new, healthier skin to replace it.”
As for moisturizing with coconut oil, Jaliman says that it isn’t what you moisturize with but the fact that you do it daily that makes a difference. “Lots of products will give you the same glow if you use them regularly,” she says.
Jacobs has a few genetic advantages that help her look young as well, Jaliman points out. First, because she’s of South Asian ethnic background, as she said in the Daily Mail article, her darker skin tone offers protection from aging. “The darker your skin, the younger it looks because the pigment shields it from damage,” says Jaliman.
Being blessed with high cheekbones and fuller lips also helps. “High cheekbones act like hangers for the skin on your face, preventing it from falling in and sagging,” she says. “And as we age, our lips thin out, so the plumper your lips are when you’re young, the less thin they’ll get in middle age.”
Jacobs’ diet also plays a role in keeping her looking young, she admits. “I follow the 80/20 rule,” she told the Daily Mail. “80 pe cent eating well and 20 percent sneaking in the odd pudding, a little alcohol or organic dark chocolate.” She shuns bread and pasta, which can cause bloating, eats no fruit because of the high sugar content, and fills her plate with leafy greens.
From a healthy-skin perspective, there’s a lot of wisdom in these food rules, says Jaliman. “Alcohol is terrible for skin because it causes the blood vessels to dilate and is dehydrating,” she says. And by avoiding bloating and weight gain, Jacobs’ skin doesn’t get stretched out. “If you’ve never had to gain and lose weight, it won’t sag as much,” adds Jaliman.
Nutritionists also agree that nutritious eating does have some anti-aging effectiveness. But there’s a lot of latitude, and bread, pasta, and fruit can still be part of a healthy diet.
“A healthful diet can absolutely include whole grain breads and pastas and a variety of fruit, which are bursting with a range of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients,” Los Angeles–based nutritionist Maggie Moon, R.D., owner of Everyday Healthy Eating, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Fruit is highly nutritious and its naturally occurring sugars are much lower than what would be found in processed foods.”
But if her diet works for her, Moons sees no problem. “I wouldn’t recommend her lifestyle to the general public or my clients with a promise they’ll look younger,” she says. “My diet for beauty from the inside out would definitely include fatty fish, plenty of water, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.”
Overall, Jacobs concedes that it isn’t all about her eating and beauty regimen that keep her getting carded. Good genes, she said, also give her an assist. But genes only take you so far, says Jaliman. “If you don’t have smart habits on top of that, your genetics won’t work in your favor for very long,” she says.