My sneaky 7 ways to slow down the ageing process
Now, before you immediately tell me off, there is nothing wrong with growing older. It’s a process I’m very fond of – in fact, I do it daily! But – and here’s the but – the ageing process itself can lead to a disconnect between how you feel (young, vibrant, full of beans) and what things look like from the outside. We interpret bright, even-toned hydrated skin as a sign of the aforementioned vitality and vibrancy – skin is incredibly powerful as a billboard for screaming “fabulousness”. And I’m 100% for taking advantage of that.
SEEK OUT SUNSCREEN WITH ZINC OXIDE AND DON'T BE AFRAID TO SPEND A LITTLE BIT MORE TO FIND YOUR 'HOLY GRAIL' PRODUCT
Sunscreen formulation is always a sticky topic – the list of excuses for not wearing it daily is endless. But it’s far more important to get this anti-ageing step right than any other, especially if you act before skin has any obvious signs of ageing. Get a top-quality primeresque physical sunscreen habit going and you’ll never regret it. Demand at least 5% zinc oxide and do not miss out your neck or around your eyes. Know that wearing sunscreen is not only protective, its also reparative. It turns out if you expose skin to less UV over time, it has more capacity for self-renewal and regeneration. In a recent clinical study, regular sunscreen use over 12 months meant fewer wrinkles and better skin texture – so its not just holding the fort.
MAKE BROWS AND LASHES LUSH
This is one of the easiest and most effective anti-ageing tricks around. Density of brows and eyelashes is synonymous with youth and gives tremendous definition to a bare-faced look. So wield those eyelash curlers and brow enhancers with gusto. Even greater results can be achieved with a prescription agent (like Latisse/Lumigan) used for 12 weeks – you will need to see a doctor to find out if you’re suitable.
MIX UP YOUR EXERCISE HABITS
Hard-core high-intensity training has its merits but don’t underestimate the beauty boosting power of more gentle pursuits like yoga and pilates. The stress-relieving benefits may help counter-balance “inflammaging” by reducing cortisol and may also help with inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema.
DON'T SKIMP ON FAT
Dietary fat is vital for hydrated, luminous skin and it’s also essential for the absorption of skin-loving vitamins A, D and E. Seek out the good kind in the form of oily fish, seeds and nuts. And if you eat animal protein, aim to stick to organic meat, dairy and poultry.
SWITCH FROM COFFEE TO TEA
Green and black teas are rich in anti-inflammatory chemicals like polyphenols like EGCG and theaflavins – a great way to reduce the ageing effects of oxidative stress associated with digesting a large meal. Brew it with boiling water and skip milk for maximum benefits.
So important. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is a powerful antioxidant and one of the few chemicals that undoes the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products, which is basically where your collagen becomes altered and stiff, through exposure to sugar in the diet. You’ll probably live longer too.
If I had to prioritise only one other skincare step, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that it’s to use a retinoid at night. There’s so much evidence to support the use of these clever ingredients now. And the skin changes are usually noticeable from across a room, if used correctly.
TIME INJECTABLES (IF YOU'RE OPEN TO THEM) CORRECTLY
The key thing with facial tweaks is teeny-tiny adjustments at the opportune moment that no-one can quite discern. Take Botox, for instance – in a woman in her early 30s, the first sign of ageing will often be a slight scrunching of the skin at the outer eye when smiling. At rest, there’s evidence of fine lines lightly etched into the skin on close scrutiny. Ditto the frown lines. This is an ideal candidate, as subtle use of Botox can rebalance the forces of facial movement in a way that looks very natural, preserves movement but halts those lines in their tracks.