We watch celebrities do it with apparent ease, so how do we keep ourselves looking as good as the stars?
In your 20s, 30-somethings, 40s and up sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! 80% of all ageing can be directly related to exposure to sunlight. Even sun damage acquired in your 20s will show up later in life as wrinkles and age spots. By the time you reach your 30s, skin cell turnover is slower. Environmental damage from pollution, smoke and sunlight begins to take its toll on the dermis, causing collagen fibres to loosen and the skin start to lose its tone. Fine lines and wrinkles develop.

By now, you should have established a daily skincare regime that involves exfoliating (two or three times a week), cleansing, and moisturising and sun protection for your skin. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and fish, which are high in antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, C and E. These vitamins counteract free radicals in your body and help the skin to repair itself, produce the enzymes that stabilize collagen production, and stay moist and healthy.

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In your 40s, collagen fibres decrease in number, stiffen and break apart. Elastic fibres lose some of their elasticity, thicken into clumps and fray. This results in the skin forming deeper furrows known as lines and wrinkles. In addition, loss of fat in the skin’s subcutaneous layer leaves your skin more fragile, whereas the dermis will continue to lose its elasticity.

A rich, nourishing moisturiser is important. During this time, the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the epidermis) starts to grow even thicker, as dead skin cells hang around for longer. If you are not already using an exfoliant regularly, now is a good time to get into the habit.

Thankfully, anti-ageing creams have come a long way over recent years. People are well educated and they demand better products. Today we have new active skincare ingredients with proven efficacy, and varied delivery systems that further enhance the product’s performance. We also have better knowledge about skin, its physiology and its needs. The market requires some proof of what the product can do, so clinical tests are very common for anti-ageing products to confirm their ability to deliver on their promises.

‘It’s never too early to start using anti-ageing products’

Apart from sunscreen, we tell our patients at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin that it’s never too early to start using anti-ageing products. ‘These days the description “anti-ageing” has been extended from repair to also include prevention and protection. We all know that prevention is better, easier and usually less expensive than repairing damage already done. It is believed that anti-ageing products should enter our skin care routine around the age of 25. With proper products focusing on maintaining skin’s youthfulness and preventing damage caused by exposure to the sun and free radicals in the environment, we can effectively delay the appearance of the signs of ageing.

Ageing gracefully – 50 and over Makeup: ‘less is more’

As you reach your 50s and beyond, your hair and nails grow more slowly. Langerhans cells (involved in the immune response) dwindle in number, decreasing the immune responsiveness of older skin. The decreased size of sebaceous (oil) glands leads to dry and broken skin that is more susceptible to infection. In post-menopausal women, decreased oestrogen levels mean that skin loses its plumpness and tone, and it may be left dry, itchy and more sensitive to allergens. At this stage in your life it is important to take extra care of your skin’s health. Mature skin is more fragile, prone to injury and infection and bruises easily. Taking care of your skin will reduce the ageing effect; keeping it healthier as well as more resistant to injury and infections. Take your moisturiser up a notch, and use an extra-rich formula to make skin look fresher and lines less noticeable.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. ‘The emphasis is on prevention and protection and even with the extensive knowledge we have today, we still can’t stop ageing, but we can delay the signs of ageing or at least partially repair them. It’s easy to take the ‘more is better’ approach to cosmetics when your complexion starts showing signs of ageing. However, once your skin starts to lose its firmness, less is actually better, because makeup tends to slide into and accentuate lines and furrows.