No one should be defined by their age. And (discounting a few wrong’uns) I think it’s fair to say that most of us don’t partake in ageism. I would hazard a guess however, that while growing older is now deemed cool, looking older than your real age is less aspiring? Thought so.
The new thing - without sounding like a bumper sticker - is to appear damn good for your age. Best version of you...yada yada. Which is where good skincare comes in. And efficacious, results-driven skin products come from solid research into one’s skin cells and how they tick.
When speaking with Dr. Mike Bell, Head of Science Research for Boots at a recent press breakfast, he revealed something that made me drop my croissant in my cappuccino. ‘Our research shows that you are either a wrinkler or a non wrinkler.’ ‘Do explain,’ I requested. And will I be one of the lucky ones that escapes unwrinkled, I selfishly mused.
In a study on facial ageing done in conjunction with the University of Manchester, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, it concluded that there are two main skin types - atrophic, which is typically smooth without wrinkles - yet can develop spider veins, ruddiness and jowls. And hypertrophic, which has a rougher skin texture and deeper lines and crepyness.
While it’s widely known that sun exposure is the main source of both types of premature ageing, the research suggests that the way in which we age is determined by our genes. ‘We chose individuals with equal amounts of accummulative sun exposure and measured the mitochondrial (DNA) damage, which showed that it wasn’t the sun damage itself that caused one skin type to wrinkle more than the other, but how susceptible their skin proteins are to UV light.’
Whether you sag or wrinkle (in the end we all do both) is not a matter of good or bad (wrinkles are di rigeur after all). But you have to admit it’s rather useful intel as identifying whether you are atrophic or hypertrophic helps you to determine your best skincare protocol.‘ So how does one do this, I hear you ask.
Are you a wrinkler?
Most of us know whether we are more or less lined than other women our age (don't compare your skin to your male partner as men's skin ages differently to women's). Yet, if you're unsure, another clue is to examine your skin texture as 'wrinklers' often display a slightly thinner, less springy surface texture than 'saggers'. By gently pinching the skin on your cheeks, you can gauge how thick and cushiony it feels and how readily it springs back.
Wrinkles start to develop in our late twenties (even if they haven’t shown up yet) and are related to a loss of fibrillin springs in the skin. Fibrillin is a protein that gives skin its elasticity and is very sensitive to sunlight,’ explains Dr. Mike Bell. How do you hold onto to your fibrillin I wonder? By using a skin cream rich in peptides, instructs Dr. Bell.
Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, will also help smooth wrinkles over time says Dr. Bell. While it may cause skin to thin initially as it resurfaces fine lines and pigmentation, after consistent long-term use, collagen and elastin will increase and skin will begin to look and feel more plump and youthful.
Or a sagger?
Sagging happens later in our 40s and 50s and is related to a loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which is what gives skin its strength. Saggers tend to have a thicker skin texture which prevents them from forming too many deep lines, but they will often show a slackening in the neck area and begin to develop droopiness around the jawline, otherwise known as jowls.
This is best corrected by, you guessed it, hyaluronic acid alongside other moisturising properties that stimulate the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic. I should also point out that sugar is best reduced if you care about your facial scaffolding as it's a collagen destroyer.
Whether you are a wrinkler or sagger (in case you’re wondering, I’m the former), these eight skin heroes will keep your skin looking better for longer.
Smooth it: 4 of the best wrinkle creams
This serum contains a powerful peptide complex that is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to five years.
Wow, this is pricey. But queen of green skincare Tata Harper has surpassed herself with this serum, with 72 potent actives that work to address signs of ageing on every level, especially wrinkles.
The anti-inflammatory gold and vitamins in this moisturiser help to aid cell turnover for a smoother complexion.
Lift it: 4 of the best lifting creams
Hyaluronic acid soothes, protects and hydrates, while slow-releasing vitamin C and bakuchiol (natural retinol alternative) brighten the complexion and reduce the appearance of lines.
With a dreamy combination of 0.3 per cent pure retinol, vitamin E and sweet almond oil, this booster makes customising skincare easy. Add two to three drops to your favourite moisturiser for nourished, youthful-looking skin.
This offers the highest concentration of anti-ageing ingredient proxylane – 30 per cent to be exact – ever formulated in a night cream, to encourage collagen production and rapidly help firm sagging skin.
The day cream in this incredibly luxurious eye-cream duo has an instant lifting effect that is like (natural) Botox.
For an immediate and lasting lift, this serum plumps out wrinkles and supports skin health with the help of active ingredients like pullulan, red algae and plankton extract.