For years during my 20’s and 30’s I worked as a Fashion and Photographic model which took me all around the world before I finally settled into Radio and Television presentation. Throughout this time I religiously looked after my sensitive skin and was delighted to be chosen by Oil of Ulay in 1980 to appear in their TV ads. I was 40 years old.
Can you imagine how I felt 16 years later at the ripe old age of 56 when I was selected to be the Worldwide “face” who would launch Oil of Ulay’s new range of moisurisers designed for MATURE skin! It was refreshing to discover a product specifically designed for mature skin (Pro-Vital) and a company bold enough to use a “real live fifty something woman” to promote it! Surveys have shown that the majority of mature women do prefer to see a woman of their own age featured in advertising.
The young think we mature women are “past it” over 50. I refuse to be written off and I know I speak for most of us here when I say that I’m enjoying life, I feel confident, experienced, energetic and happy with my life and my appearance. I’m proud of my laughter lines and don’t want to erase them. They show I have a sense of humour!
But I do think it’s wrong that the media and cosmetic companies put pressure on women to try to look 20 years younger. Looking good is about making the most of what you’ve got and feeling comfortable with youself. I don’t think it’s concited to look after my appearance, it helps give confidence – if you look good – you feel great! Some people look after their cars better than themselves. I love this saying -“We can’t beat Old Father Time no – but some women drive a mighty close bargain with him.”
Feeling good is about having a positive attitude to life. One should never look back and dwell on failures or regrets, you must look forward with an open mind.
It’s never too late to change your lifestyle – and you’re never too old to get into the habit helping yourself by taking more exercise, eating healthily and keeping an open mind. And we must continue to listen and learn. In youth we learn but in age we understand – hopefully!
THE CAUSES OF SKIN AGEING
Skin ageing has very little to do with cronological age and far more to do with our skin type and how we look after it. According to skincare experts, with proper care it is possible to look 20 years younger than your real age. The first stage on this quest is to recognise the factors that cause us to look older.
“Everyone is susceptible to intrinsic, chronological skin ageing as part of the process of growing older. However not everyone needs to experience the damaging effects of photo-ageing caused by exposure to the sun” says Prof Christopher Griffiths, Prof of Dermatology at the University of Manchester. These damaging effects include coarse wrinkles, age spots, a leathery texture and small broken blood vessels. According to skincare expert Jan Marini, if we avoided the sun and took full advantage of the skincare science available to us, no one would need to look older than 25. The sun can also kill off skin cells and pose health threats. Cell damage occurs even before the signs of sunburn appear. The redness indicates deep-skin burning, which usually results in peeling, as the skin’s healing response. Daily use of at least SPF15 on exposed areas is recommended, but anything higher than an SPF30 is considered unnecessary. The extra protection it affords is minimal and the additional chemicals can irritate the skin.
LIFESTYLE, LAUGHTER AND SADNESS
A healthy lifestyle is reflected in our skin and to a large extent our skin will look after itself if we look after our health. Scientific testing has shown that smoking, high sugar intake, excessive iron supplements, over vigorous exercise, stress and poor sleep, as well as sun exposure, all increase the free-radical production that contributes to the ageing process. The human face is the only part of the body where the muscles are attached directly to the skin – as opposed to the bones – making it a unique vehicle for expressing emotion. It is not the eyes but the flicker of an eyelid or the tightening of the lips that betray the way we feel. Every emotion we experience shows in our face and over the years becomes etched in our skin to contribute to the way we look.
Keeping happy and protecting a sense of well-being will go a long way towards delaying the ageing process, as positive emotions use fewer facial muscles than negative ones (it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown).
The better we look, the better we feel – and vice versa. Studies suggest that those who keep themselves looking young tend to feel healthy and energetic. Doctors have long since recognised that losing interest in the way we look is an early sign of illness or depression, while one of the first signs of a person being on the road to recovery is a renewed interest in their appearance.
This is the term given to the 10% of skin ageing that lies primarily in the luck of the genetic draw, manifesting itself in a lack of firmness. Almost as soon as our bones stop growing they begin to shrink, and the excess skin becomes subject to the forces of gravity (especially once it has thinned with age). This process accelerates in our 50s and 60s and contributes to the elongation of parts of the face – most noticeably the nose, eyelids and jowls ( in smokers, this is even more pronounced, as cheeks are further hollowed by the muscular motion of inhaling). The best way of protecting against this deterioration is by taking exercise to protect the muscles and bones, and to avoid dramatic weight loss or gain.
Preening and pampering
Recent technological advances in skincare mean that to a greater extent than ever good skin can be bought over the counter. As leading US dermatologist Dr Karen Burke says ” We have moved beyond hope in a bottle. There is now science in a bottle” However, many of us are still not taking advantage of this. For instance, good cleansing is essential to skin health – without it the skin takes 25 days to rid itself of make-up.
Clinical ingredients are at last filtering through the premium end of the market and on to the high street, resulting in products known as cosmoceuticals and dermo-pharmaceutics. Most important in this development is the availability of budget moisturisers that contain high SPFs, dermatologists number one skincare recommendation.
Good anti-ageing skincare is now available and thanks to the new European Cosmetics Directive, companies are now prevented from making claims they cannot back up. The listing of ingredients on labels is good news for mass-market products, as they often contain almost identical ingredients to brands that cost three or four times as much. It is also good news for those who suffer from skin allergies. They now know what the product contains and if they are allergic to any of the ingredients.
Your eyes and the skin around them quickly show up tiredness. Not enough sleep, stress and alcohol can make the circulation and lymphatic drainage sluggish around the yes leaving them puffy. Smoky air can leave eyes red and itchy.
A couple of slices of cucumber or cold tea bags can help to reduce puffiness and redness, but your best bets are soothing eye gels, masks or compresses.
Your skin is the first thing to suffer when you are feeling tired and under the weather, or have had a heavy night out. If your complexion is looking sallow and dehydrated, exfoliation is the best thing to restore tone fast. Use a scrub with tiny, gentle scruffing grains to boost circulation and leave the skin with a healthy glow. You apply it, let it sit on the skin for a few minutes, then rub gently. Finally rinse off with cold water. If you have time after exfoliating, apply a mask that will moisturise, brighten and firm your skin
Moisturising is essential for middle aged skin to retain its suppleness and healthy glow and to replace the nautural oils that dry up as part of the ageing process. But from recent reseach it appears that we are increasingly relying on cheap moisturising lotions and creams because they appear to be just as effective as expensive big-name brands.
Regular use of make-up is thought to accelerate facial ageing and the best complexions on middle aged women are those who have used little make-up.
Studies in America have shown that thousands of women in their 50s and 60s aged their skin prematurely by using “cold cream” to remove their make up. The high concentration of mineral oil in the creams clogged the pores and contributed to wrinkling.
Like it or loathe it make-up is a godsend when it comes to hiding signs of fatigue. Beauty scientists have been able to design cosmetics specifically for weary skin
by putting light reflecting pigments into foundations, blushers and eye shadows, a trick which brightens the face and puts lines and blemishes into soft focus.
A natural blusher worn high on the cheekbones will give a much needed glow.
The right colour eye shadow and lipstick also does wonders for a worn out face. Silvery-grey and pink eye shadows work well on your eyelids.
If you find lipsticks change colour apply a special barrier lipstick before applying colour to form a layer of protection from both the allergy to the colour and the drying effects of sun and wind.
A white eyeliner pencil is indispensable. Run it along the lower rims of your eyelids.
Apply mascara to the top of lashes first and then brush up from underneath to give extra umph!
Always protect your skin with creams and gels containing SPF (Sun protection factor.)