Top tips for great skin after 45
How many times have you looked with envy-eyes at the woman across the table who tells you she is over fifty and yet you cannot see a single damn wrinkle? Crows feet be damned. Not even a worry line. No tell-tale creases from nose to lips and cheeks so smooth that a baby would like a bottom like that!
There is no doubting that our genes do help. If your mother had great skin and your father always looked less than his years, then you have a step up the skin ladder. However, we can all do a lot to plump those skin cells and smooth out the fine lines we see as ravines on our face.
Water, water, water
Women’s bodies are 80% water. That means that every cell is bathed in water. If you de-hydrate then it has exactly the same effect as drying a prune – darker colour, lines and wrinkles. If you ever feel thirsty, get a dry mouth or can pinch the skin on your hand and watch it stay proud, then you need water. If your pee is bright yellow and smells strong then you are parching your skin into old age. Get drinking!
Ditch the sugar
Sugar in your blood-steam attaches to proteins which go on to make some nasty little things called advanced glycogen end products (AGE products!). They attack collagen and elastin, the two protein fibres which keep our skin firm and elastic. More sugar, more AGE products. All those comforting cakes, those lovely cocktails, that sneaky bar of chocolate is piling on the pressure and sagging your skin.
Moisturisers help your skin to retain water. All those products which are sold for huge amounts through claims they sink deep into the skin should be treated with some suspicion. Your skin is impervious for a very good reason – if you sat in a bath you would swell up like a sponge! A good moisturiser will smooth the epidermis and prevent it losing more water. A good serum will do this without creating a greasy layer. Choose good products with as many natural ingredients as possible. Then use it consistently. Every day should start and finish with cleansing, toning and moisturising. Every time we find a good product, we put it up on Annie Recommends. Keep looking and keep trying until you find one you really love and which loves your skin.
Get your beauty sleep
Research by Estee Lauder found that poor sleepers had more fine lines, sagging and dryness than good sleepers. Not so surprising. Sleep is about repairing and resting. Lack of sleep means that stress hormones such as cortisol are not fully expelled; the lymphatic system cannot do its full work; our eyes do not de-puff from the strain of computers; our skin chemistry and collagen does not repair. So ensure you get seven hours sleep at night and make at least one and a half hours of them before midnight.
Eat your skin beautiful
Very low fat diets are not only bad for your body, but bad for your skin. You need to moisturise from the inside out with good, nutritious oils such as olive, avocado, almond and fish-oil. Oils will not only give you the nutrients you need for great skin, but will lubricate from inside out. If you need an extra boost, take a good vitamin E supplement for a while.
We women over 45 were of the generation who were thrown out to play in the sun because it was good for us. Shops didn’t sell high factor sunscreen for kids. If we burned our mothers slathered us in Calamine Lotion and told us it would get better! Sun damage is bad at any age, but in drier skin with collagen falling and elastin getting brittle, the impact can be disastrous. Ultraviolet light attacks the elastin and breaks down the fibres which make your skin firm. Too much exposure means that you skin not only wrinkle and sags but is also more at risk of melanoma (skin cancer). Wear a good, high factor sun-protection and then sit in the shade. There is nothing attractive about a bronzed prune face!
Get a facial
There is nothing more relaxing and calming for your face than a pampering facial. A really good facial will not only moisturise but also exfoliate, clear and brighten your complexion. You can do this at home or treat yourself to a professional treatment. Facials are best done at least once a month and should be followed by plenty of water to flush out any toxins moved by the massaging. Opt for facials which use natural oils and products and not something which covers you in chemicals. And if you are told that this is the choice of the celebs (Madonna is a favourite!) don’t be swayed. Celebrities can afford to have any facial they like and probably try the lot!
Your skin is the first thing people see when guessing your age. Look after it and you will keep them guessing – and guessing far fewer years than you own!