The words "anti-ageing" are synonymous with the world of skincare, although have you ever stopped to ask: when should your skin actually start ageing - like, really start ageing? Because at some point, things like fine lines and even deeper wrinkles must surely become normal for your age - but how do you know whether your skin is actually ageing faster than it should? We turned to renowned skin professional Melanie Grant for all the answers.
IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @LILYALDRIDGE
“Anti-ageing” measures go hand in hand with beauty products that are touted at women of all ages, but Melanie says that it’s mainly when we reach our thirties that a lot of key causes of ageing come into play. “When we hit our thirties, our natural collagen and elastin stores start to deteriorate at a rate of 1% per year and our skin starts to lose that youthful bounce it had in our early twenties,” she explains. “A lot of people notice their skin can become a little duller, dryer and more sensitive, and all the damage from sunbathing now really starts to materialise. Our pores become more dilated and capillaries can surface, as well as tonal irregularities and pigmentation brought about by sun damage.”
Fine lines caused by facial expressions might also start popping up around this time, although Melanie advises that applying product in an “upward sweeping” motion (especially on the neck and around the delicate eye area) can help prevent these early signs of ageing. “I believe dragging the skin downwards overtime can have grave effects on the elasticity and natural tautness of the skin,” she says. “However, I believe a beautiful face is a happy, vivacious and healthy one – I don’t mind fine lines caused by expression so long as they are in the right places.”
So for those of us in our thirties, how can we tell if our fine lines, age spots or even deep wrinkles are appearing at a natural pace? Melanie tells us there’s no use playing the comparison game with our complexions, and insists it should be more about ensuring that each individual has the healthiest skin possible for them.
“It is normal for our faces to change with time,” says Melanie. “That said, if fine lines, pigment irregularities and static lines are materialising rapidly over a short period of time, I would advise seeking the advice of a professional, ensuring you have a specific home regime established, and discussing treatment pathways that may slow down the process.”
SUNNY SIDE UP
Now for one of our beauty bug bears: sun spots. If it’s natural for us to notice them in our thirties (from all the damage that might’ve taken place in our twenties), what other signs of ageing should we be wary of in the years to come? Melanie advises that a cute spray of freckles across the nose and cheeks can become denser, causing uneven tone and darkness to the face as we age. And if left untreated? “These will continue to intensify as we age into our forties,” she warns.
However, all is not lost as the years go on. Melanie says that people’s experience with their skin during their forties can be an incredibly varied one. “This can be a time of great hormonal fluctuation, with peri-menopausal side effects appearing in the way of dryness, sensitivity, blemishes, and even redness and rosacea as our oestrogen levels drop,” Melanie says. “However, it is also completely normal to notice orbital fine lines becoming deeper, greater laxity in the skin, as well as frown lines and marionette lines becoming more pronounced as our rate of collagen synthesis dramatically depreciates.”
PREVENTION IS KEY
Now we’re aware of all of the symptoms of ageing and when we should start noticing them – but if you want to slow down the process, Melanie has a clear message. “I might sound like a broken record by now, but prevention really is everything,” she advises. “If you can start with one thing, make it a really good broad spectrum sunscreen and use it every day. Antioxidants are also fundamental to preventing further damage to our skin cells caused by environmental aggressors, pollution and oxidative stress. And a micro-encapsulated retinol to boost the strength and health of your skin is imperative.”
Melanie explains that we should all be aware of other aspects of life that can exacerbate ageing as well, as they will play a big role in ageing skin faster than it should. “The four ‘S’s’: stress, smoking, sugar and sun exposure are four of the most aggressive age accelerators, and as hectic as modern life may be, it is really important to do things like take a long bath, have a remedial massage or read a nice book every now and then to help alleviate stress in our bodies.”
Melanie adds, “I’m not a nutritionist, but I do believe in the complexion-enhancing effects of an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in organic, colourful plants, some wild caught fish and activated nuts and seeds for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and EFAs. I also believe in balance, so a glass of biodynamic wine and some dark chocolate here and there never goes astray – after all, they are both rich in antioxidants.”
Story by Yadira Galarza Cauchi