That age-old question: Anti-ageing products explored, Part 1

Is your lifestyle ageing you beyond your years?

Factors including stress, smoking and too much sun exposure can have detrimental ageing affects to your skin long before you even see the signs of your first wrinkle. And environmental factors including adverse weather, use of air-conditioning, central heating and even pollution can all cause ageing to the skin too.

What are the signs of ageing?

Young skin is typically fresh, dewy, bright and radiant but as we age the skin begins to lose elasticity which creates wrinkles and gravity leaves us with sagging and flabby areas. We all know which ones! Years of sunbathing or sun damage can cause age spots and beyond the menopause, changes in hormones mean dryness can become an issue.

Anti-ageing products aren’t just for the old

As any woman knows, even after your teens, into your twenties and thirties and beyond, you will see changes in the condition of your skin. Hopefully if you have troubled skin when you’re young it will settle down and you’ll spend the rest of your years with a clear, radiant complexion.

However, even a few years of not looking after ourselves can have an ageing effect on the skin, which is why anti-ageing products aren’t just for the old, they’re for women in their fifties, forties, thirties and even twenties because protection of your skin is better than cure.

When is the best time to start using anti-ageing products?

I’m now in my late twenties and have just started thinking about anti-ageing products. Do I need them? What’s available? When should I start using them?

In fact, I started using anti-ageing products (in the broadest sense) when I was eleven or twelve years old. I have been looking after my skin since before I was a teen because my aim as a young girl was to grow old gracefully. I really was obsessed with skincare, body products and cosmetics from a young age and it really influenced my actions regarding my skincare routine.

I say using anti-ageing products began at this age, because using skin products at any age is anti-ageing. What I mean by this is that using skincare products before you see signs of ageing works with your skin cells in three ways – as defensive, preventative and repairing measures – all of which will help keep your skin looking young and in good condition.

I am renowned for telling clients that the very best anti-ageing product is a sunscreen. No matter what time of the year always wear a sunscreen as the effect of daylight and sunlight on the skin causes irreversible damage. Products with antioxidant vitamins A,C and E are also beneficial as are peptides.

Angela Bartlett, Immediate Past Chair of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) anti ageing skin care – the best and newest products

As for anti-ageing products in the traditional sense, consider introducing them into your skin routine in your late twenties or early thirties. This is when you will first start to see the effects of ageing and when your skin’s needs start to change.

What products are on offer and what makes them anti ageing?

What makes skin products anti-ageing is such a touch question to answer. There is such a wide range of products available on the market at the moment, and seemingly every week I hear about a new ‘ingredient’ which sounds like something from a science fiction movie.

I have a good rule of thumb when it comes to cosmetic products. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cynical perhaps, but if there was a cure-all for ageing don’t you think we would have all heard of it by now? And don’t forget the recent media furore about L’oreal having their adverts banned for showing images that were misleading to the public. (You can read more thoughts about advertising here over at Pixiwoo’s blog, they have a really great article that’s definitely worth a read).

Most anti-ageing products are designed to create a quick fix to skin problems, for example, wrinkle creams which fill or plump up the skin around the eyes and mouth which lasts for an evening out or if you’re lucky a full day at the office. Or moisturisers with light reflecting particles which make the skin appear more radiant. Of course there are also more invasive forms of anti ageing products including botox, dermal fillers and cosmetic surgery. The latter being the only permanent solution for ageing skin.

My advice when looking at anti-ageing products on the market would be to do your research, look for products specific to your skin type and don’t spend a fortune expecting a miracle cure. Failing that, drinking lots of water and sticking to a regular skincare routine will work wonders, no matter what your age.

What are your thoughts on anti-ageing products? What age did you start using them or are you thinking of beginning a new skincare routine? What do you feel about cosmetic and skincare advertising at the moment?

In Anti-ageing Products Explored, Part 2, we’ll be looking at specific anti-ageing products available on the market. Leave your suggestions for products you’d like to see reviewed in the comments.

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