With serious signs of ageing such as wrinkles and skin discoloration being such an important focus for the ageing baby-boomer (and therefore the cosmetics industry), the trend for scientifically based products is in great demand. Women are now more aware of the science behind the products, and are demanding more serious, factual explanations about how the products work, and the results that can be expected.’
Shirley Weinstein, senior vice president, Global Product Development, Clinique Why should you grow old noticeably? Thanks to a revolution in skincare technology, there is no reason why you should not look as young as you feel for as long as you want to. I am not suggesting that a middle-aged woman should have (or even want) the face of a teenager (in today’s world being beautiful does not have to mean being young), merely that she should not have to resign herself to the signs of premature skin ageing. Our genes are partly responsible for how our skin ages over the years (that is, intrinsic ageing), but research is showing more and more clearly that to a large extent, skin ageing is determined by our lifestyle and our environment (that is, extrinsic ageing).
‘Most of us live in an environment that overwhelms the skin’s own ability to protect itself, says Dr Daniel Maes, president of Research and Development for Estee Lauder. Smoking, drinking caffeine and alcohol, being exposed to everyday pollution and harmful UV rays, and even not getting enough sleep all have detrimental effects on our faces. Free radicals attack our skin at a cellular level, the collagen and elastin fibres are broken down, and the DNA of the cells is damaged, meaning fewer healthy cells eventually reach the surface.
So what are the signs of ageing skin? The first giveaways are fine lines and wrinkles developing around the eyes (the muscles here are the most mobile in the face and they also take the brunt of all our emotions), followed by a slack, greyish lustre, pigmentation marks, flakiness and a loss of tissue softness. At the menopause women suffer from a sharp fall in epidermal oil and moisture production, which brings about a rapid decline in skin condition – this is one of the reasons that women appear to age faster than men. According to the Research and Development department at La Prairie skincare: ‘The older we get, the more cell-renewal time slows down, from about 28 days to about 40 days. Fewer renewed cells reach the surface in older skin, and dead cells at the surface clog together so that plumpness and firmness are depleted.
Luckily all is not lost, so before you trade in your face creams for a Balaclava, rest assured that science is on your side. Today beauty companies are using DNA technology to slow down the ageing process ofthe skin by encouraging cells to split and renew, and even fight the harmful effects ofthe sun at a cellular level. ‘We can foresee that in the distant future we may not need any sunscreens to provide us with UV protection, as the increased defence capacity ofthe skin cells will allow the skin to remain protected. The discovery of heat-shock proteins in the skin cells, which provide protection against UV damage, is a major step forward. It means we are now developing technologies that will allow a more natural way for the cells to repair themselves,’ says Dr Maes.
If the future of skincare seems almost space age, the present is not that far behind. We are already able to grow whole sheets of human skin under laboratory conditions, and have made substantial technological breakthroughs that are scientifically proven to help reverse the effects of premature ageing.
miracles in ajar Science has revolutionized skincare, and thanks to many years of research and development we really are now able to turn back the clock in the constant battle against ageing. Here are some ofthe most striking weapons in our armoury.
BETA HYDROXY ACIDS
These are also exfoliant, but slightly less irritant than AHAs. Often used to treat acne (BHAs such as salicylic acid remove oil from pores), they help reduce fine lines and fade pigmentation marks. As with AHAs, they can cause the skin to be photosensitive, so sunscreens must always be worn in tandem with them.
Hailed as a miracle cure foracne, a retinoid is an anti-ageing ingredient derived from Vitamin A. Retinoids come in different forms (such as Renova, Retinova, Retin-A and retinol), and unclog pores, allowing sebum to travel freely to the surface. Users swear they improve skin texture and the appearance of surface lines and wrinkles, although the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has recently questioned this claim. Downsides are thatthese creams can sting on application and may leave the skin red and flaky for several weeks afterwards. Vitamin A impairs wound healing, so avoid aggressive treatments such as waxing while using these creams. Photosensitivity is possible, so remember to always wear sunscreen.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C boosts the production of collagen in the skin. This, in turn, slows down the development of wrinkles and helps repair sun damage. Vitamin C is now used in various skincare products and is a proven way of slowing down the clock.
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