I spent a fascinating evening this month listening to Dr Anjali Mahto discuss skin. According to Dr Mahto the UK beauty market is worth £17 billion which is only likely to rise in the coming years due to the increasing amount we are all willing to spend on beauty products and our desire to have flawless, youthful skin!

We are bombarded with glossy magazines and newspapers showing seemingly unachievable perfection. With endless editing apps for our social media feeds, we can also achieve the super white teeth, a smooth forehead and brighter eyes. However even celebrities suffer from the same skin conditions that blight the rest of us mere mortals.

Ageing can be seen in the skin before any other organ in the body and therefore, the anti-ageing market continues to grow. The loss of the elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin with age causes the skin to hang loosely. This is caused by thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin) and skin becomes more fragile. This is caused by a flattening of the area where the epidermis and dermis (layer of skin under the epidermis) come together. Ageing is largely determined by genetics so if your parents aged well, your chances are also good. Skin changes are noticeably different after the menopause.

Dr Mahto’s Skin Care Routine

Morning

Cleanse, eye cream, serum, moisturizer with SPF or sunscreen, make-up

Evening

Cleanse, eye cream, moisturize

Exfoliate once or twice a week for oily and combination skin, once or twice month for dry skin and avoid if you have sensitive skin as exfoliating products can aggravate sensitive skin.

Sunscreen will always be the mainstay of anti-ageing prevention.  The sun remains the biggest cause of  premature and accelerated skin ageing. Lines, wrinkles, pigmentation all occur because of sunlight damage. Dr Mahto recommends Heliocare 360 gel oil-free SPF50, Avène Cleanance Solaire SPF30 and Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30 and sunscreen should be worn everyday of the year!

Sadly no topical cream can prevent skin sagging or laxity. These occur due to loss of volume of fat and bone under the skin which happens to everyone. However some aspects of ageing can be helped by creams and serums to reduce pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and these include retinoids, antioxidants, botanicals and sunscreen. For a breakdown of each, I encourage you to buy Dr Mahto’s book, The Skincare Bible, which is a no-nonsense guide to everyday skincare and what we can do to slow down the ageing effect.

Here are some top tips to help slow down the ageing process –

  1. Protect your skin from the sun every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.
  2. Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.
  3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.
  4. Avoid repetitive facial expressions. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.
  5. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.
  6. Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.
  7. Exercise most days of the week. Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.
  8. Cleanse your skin gently. Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.
  9. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
  10. Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
  11. Stop using skin care products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.

My take-home nugget of the night was to wear Sunscreen and here are the opening lines to Baz Luhrmanns’s 1997 song which says it all …….

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97
Wear Sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Sunscreen would be it
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now…1

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
oh nevermind;
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked…….

Read more: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) Lyrics | MetroLyrics