As well as using products, there are some other surprising ways to slow down the ageing process.
YOUTHFUL skin isn’t just down to gene pools and preventative potions. Everyday skincare sins could be interfering with your war against wrinkles without you even knowing.
Just 16% of women embrace ageing, according to a recent poll by L’Oreal.
After grey hair, wrinkles and dark under-eye circles came top in a list of the physical factors that make women feel less confident.
“Doing the wrong things can speed up your skin’s ageing process, and you might be surprised at what some of those no-nos are,” says dermatologist Dr Tess Mauricio.
Side-step skin pitfalls by avoiding these surprising ageing antagonists.
Avoid straws and cigarettes:
Your dentist may be all for straws to protect your teeth from dark and fizzy drinks but dermatologists aren’t.
“Sipping from a straw can cause fine lines around your mouth,” Mauricio warns.
“Over the long-term, pursing your lips to sip out of a straw causes extra wrinkles around this area.”
The same process applies to cigarettes, which also compromise your skin’s production of collagen and elastin, making smoking bad news for your looks as well as your health.
Too late? Reduce the appearance of deep and vertical wrinkles with Vichy’s Normaderm Anti-Ageing Anti-Imperfection Anti-Wrinkle Resurfacing, €18.
Sleep on your back:
More than half of adults sleep in the foetal position, curled up on their side with knees tucked in. That’s the stuff of nightmares for your skin, according to Mauricio.
“Women who tend to sleep on their sides are most likely to see sleep lines appear on their chin and cheeks — these are wrinkles etched on the surface of the skin that don’t disappear when you lift your head off the pillow.”
Train yourself to sleep on your back so that your skin doesn’t lie crumpled against the pillow.
Too late? Encourage a restful night on your back with Shiseido’s Pure Retinol Instant Eye Mask — 12 Masks, €69.49.
Beware of face infectors
Many of us are permanently attached to mobile phones but chatterboxes can be blighted by regular outbreaks.
“Mobiles get left around on various surfaces and pick up bacteria that can cause pimples around the cheeks and jawline. It’s best to use your phone in hands-free mode,” advises Mauricio.
The same principles apply to glasses and sunglasses, which can harbour sweat and germs. “Bacteria can grow on the frame that will sit directly on your facial skin for an extended period of time. Aim to use anti-bacterial wipes before putting them on each day.”
Too late? Deep clean and prevent outbreaks with Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover, 200ml, €16.
Seek shade on aeroplanes
Ah, sunbeams! Cloud-gazing is good for the soul but not so uplifting for the face.
“You’re much closer to the sun in a plane than on land, so it stands to reason that solar rays, which can penetrate windows, are more intense at higher altitudes,” Mauricio reveals.
“Plus, the air up there is notoriously dry and without moisture, so skin simply shrivels.”
If you’re sitting next to a window, pull down the shade, drink plenty of water to hydrate, and avoid salty foods and alcohol.
Mauricio recommends applying a rich moisturiser with minimum SPF15 half an hour before boarding, as sunscreen needs time to absorb before it’s effective.
Too late? Even out age spots and stubborn pigmentation with No7’s Lighten & Brighten Age-Spot Corrector, €22.
Maintain a healthy weight
Yo-yo dieters, beware. Repeatedly losing and gaining weight can take its toll on your face’s elasticity, leaving behind jowls and sagging.
Mauricio says: “Packing on pounds can make your skin look plumper on the surface, but carrying excess weight can cause your body’s levels of insulin and cortisol to rise, which can break down collagen. “You’ll see increased sagging from putting on and keeping on as little as 10-15 extra pounds, and loss of facial fat can cause sagging and a gaunt, aged appearance.”
Maintain a healthy weight with proper diet and exercise, aiming to keep your weight in the ’normal’ range, with a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
Too late? Perk up sagging and loose skin with Origins’s Plantscription SPF 25 Anti-aging Cream, €63.
TRIED AND TESTED
Repair the ravages of winter with a multi-purpose balm. Our testers try two soothing allrounders:
Lush Ultrabalm All-Purpose Balm, €11.25
This generously-sized tin has a non-petroleum balm with organic jojoba oil and rose wax. It feels quite ’thin’ on application and doesn’t taste amazing, so we preferred using this on areas of tough skin, cuticles, and for taming eyebrows.
Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Balm, €14.99.
A handy little tube that’s ideal for bags. The ultra-pure medical-grade lanolin makes for a luxuriously thick formulation. There’s a natural gloss, too, making it perfect for chapped lips.
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