Which is the best anti-aging cream? This is my client’s favourite question. They don’t want to hear the answer though: boring unglamorous sunscreen. They roll their eyes and call me a nag. In reality there is no magic potion. Just protect the collagen in your skin from the sun, sugar, stress and pollution – guard it with your life. (Think of collagen as like scaffolding in your skin). However, skincare is only part of the solution- diet and exercise are just as important. That never goes down well. Below are my top ten anti-aging tips.
My Top Ten Anti-Aging Tips
Use only proven anti-ageing skincare ingredients, not the latest fad ingredient
A message to skincare companies: I dare you to submit the ‘miracle’ ingredient in your latest potion to rigorous scientific testing – you can afford it. ‘Clinically proven’ means nothing whatsoever. My clients might be seduced by such marketing, I am not. Instead I tell them to stick to proven ingredients only. Retinoids are still the gold standard for stimulating new collagen. I have been using prescription-strength retinoid since I was 17, which I buy from a cosmetic nurse. It is not as enticing as a luxurious anti-aging cream – it has a medicinal smell, but I receive endless compliments on my skin. My second favourite anti-aging ingredients are AHAs. They dissolve the glue which sticks dead skin cells together – they make your skin lovely and smooth.
Swap your SPF anti-aging cream for a UVA sunblock
Sun damage should be renamed ‘daylight damage’. UVA (aging) rays are present all year round and can damage your collagen even on a cloudy day. Think you are covered by the high SPF in your moisturiser? Think again.
The SPF refers to UVB (burning) rays only. Skincare companies are loathe to add too much UVA protection because it changes the texture of the cream, and the texture can make or break sales.
Pollution damages your collagen just as much as the sun, so invest in a good quality antioxident serum and layer it under your sunscreen. Antioxident-rich fruit and vegetables will top up your protection levels. Just bear in mind that fruit and vegetables start to lose their vitamin content soon after they are picked, so although organic is preferable, locally sourced is better. So those expensive goji berries that have travelled half way across the globe probably aren’t worth their price tag.
The Mediterranean diet is far more anti-aging than a low fat diet
When you get to 35, you have to choose between your face and your bum – I choose my face every time. Don’t be too thin or lose weight too quickly: your arse will look great, but your face will look gaunt and haggard. Abandon that soul-destroying low fat diet – your skin and hair need good fats to keep them lubricated and soft. My clients like the Mediterranean diet because it is healthy but also a little bit naughty.
Weight training has made it on to my top ten anti-aging tips because its just as important as cardio. Don’t be afraid of weight machines – you won’t bulk up. Weights will not only help reshape your body but also stimulate precious collagen production.
Manage your stress levels
Stress will undoubtedly age your skin, but i’m also seeing lots of clients with adult acne, rosacea, psoriasis and hives all caused by stress. I find walking to work calming, but find some cardio exercise you enjoy and watch your endorphin levels rocket.
Lovely sugar unfortunately makes your collagen go brittle – how cruel. Limit white bread, white rice and white pasta which all turn into sugar as soon as you eat them. I know cooking from scratch is time consuming, but try and eat clean rather than processed food, which tends to be full of hidden sugars. I am a hard-core sugar addict, but I keep my blood sugar levels steady by combining the Mediterranean and the GI (glycaemic index) diet.
Drinking water is great for your health, but then you spend the whole day on the loo. The body can hold on to water that you eat much more easily – so eat lots of water-rich fruit and veg like watermelon, grapes and cucumber. Perfect for those who aren’t keen on drinking water.
Swap energy saving bulbs for LED bulbs
A bizarre tip. Energy saving bulbs emit UVA rays which will destroy your collagen. The heat from a lamp (or radiator) also destroys your collagen, so sit a couple of meters away instead.
Lastly, but certainly not least on my top ten anti-aging tips: don’t smoke! But you knew that already.
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