Take 5: Saving Face: some 40 plus skincare advice that works
If you've ever been overwhelmed by the myriad of skincare solutions on offer for "mature skin" from the beauty hall to the medi-spa, the dermatologist practice to the cosmetic enhancement clinic, then join the club. Most women want skincare that's speedy, simple and that works. We're not offering miracles, but we have found 5 ways to de-age the midlife face... and not a needle in sight.
We are not anti-age here at Second Spring Towers, in fact we quite like our laughlines and wrinkles. But we’re not above a few cheats. So here are five little beauty tweaks to turn back the clock with very little fuss or outlay.
Start with the premise that what is aging is not so much our wrinkles, but loss of luminosity – that fresh radiance that denotes youth and vitality and energy. You want to get a little of your thirtysomething glow back, and you’ll need to make a few changes – inside and out.
Get more Sleep
This is by far the smartest beauty hack beyond 40 - the cheapest and neatest route to better skin. Eight hours of proper rest can improve skin texture, appearance and have an anti-gravity effect.
When you sleep, you release growth hormone – and this is essential for skin recovery and repair. A slew of recent studies back up the point – this year, a UK study of 30 women, including supermodel Jodie Kidd. showed participants who slept around 6 hours a night (the UK average) for just five nights showed significant increase in fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and under eye darkness. The Estee Lauder commissioned clinical trials in 2013 in the US followed 60 pre-menopausal women and conclusively showed a link between sleep deprivation and accelerated skin ageing. Bad sleepers held onto the effects of inflammation longer, had poorer self image and were more likely to be obese.
Persistent tiredness or fatigue also exerts it own gravitational pull - where your face muscles just aren’t getting the “Lift!” memo – and everything droops, from eyelids, jawline, lips are tensed and pursed. Instantly aging.
Make early to bed your nightly mantra.
In a recent study for Bensons for Beds, to measure the effects of sleep patterns on women's appearance, model and mum Jodie Kidd proves the point: before and after participating in the sleep study.
Purge Sugar for a month:
Sorry to serve up the unpalatable truth – but not only is sugar officially recognized as a toxin with lethal ramifications (think of the obesity epidemic), but it degrades skin. Here’s how it works: All those sugars hiding in your morning scone, lunchtime sandwich and pasta dinner convert to glucose which attaches to proteins to form new molecules called Advanced Glycation End Products (Aptly abbreviated to AGEs).
And the collagen and elastin fibres (the ones that make skin spongy, firm and springy) are the protein fibres most likely to be damaged by these nasty AGEs. Result: accelerated aging - open pore texture, loss of elasticity, dullness. Be your own experiment and see the improvements. Trust us. This works.
Upgrade your skincare routine: We are not talking more products or more money, just more effective skincare. By mid life, cell turnover in the skin slows down dramatically – result: dullness, congestion, visible pores, crepiness. There are hundreds of creams and lotions in your local beauty hall making some amazing promises, but by midlife, we’re not buying hope in a jar anymore.
What we’re looking for is what works – and that means a more powerful cleansing product with an acid content that will dislodge the cell debris on the skins surface that makes skin look dull, extra lined and crepey. Glycolic or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (naturally occurring fruit acids) based cleansers will exfoliate the skin and keep cell turnover moving, almost instantly make skin look more polished, smoother and less lined. Look for a 10 – 15%, but if you have sensitive skin or are new to acids, ask an expert, or start at 5 per cent, allowing your skin to adjust. Go easy, do your research, don’t mix your acids. We’ll be posting a list of good Acid based cleansers here soon.
This one change to your skincare routine will have an immediate and lasting de-aging effect and render a whole shelf-ful of ho-hum products redundant.
Become an illusionist. Find the one product that makes a huge difference and work it. For most of us at midlife that’s either a BB cream or a CC cream under a foundation or on its own. The products are totally temporary, cheat products that even out tone, minimise pores, smooth texture and give you back the skin you had ten years ago. You’ll still look fifty when you demaquillage at bedtime - but hey, who’s looking?
Channeling Baz Lurhman: wear Sunscreen, every day, an spf of 15 or 20. The sun, fabulous as it is, will make you look old, and could kill you. Think of the delicacy of an 80 year old’s skin and see your future – the more sun damaged the skin, the more fragile it is in later years.. This is one message we just didn’t buy during the sun drenched teenage summers of the 70 and 80s. But it’s not to late to get sun-smart.
There’s still hope:
The perfect storm for those of us hitting the midlife years is all of our pasts showing up at once. The years on the beach with no protection. Tick, The (tsk tsk) social cigarettes, Tick. The parenting and/or career years of compromised sleep. The hormone shifts of the midlife years. Tick, tick, tick.
The good news is that making small but mighty changes simultaneously can add up to dramatic gains in your apperance. Get back to basics: sleep more, stress less, buy savvy and eat smart.