THE NEW AGE OF AGEING
How to (gracefully) wind back the clock.
“MY TOP THREE TIPS? NUMBER ONE: SUN AVOIDANCE. NUMBER TWO: SUN AVOIDANCE. NUMBER THREE: SUN AVOIDANCE” – DR STEPHEN MULHOLLAND, PLASTIC SURGEON
IN OUR CURRENT CULTURE OF SELF-CARE AND ACCEPTANCE,
discussing ageing with an “anti” vibe is, well, antiquated. Mindsets are finally shifting and women are no longer looking to erase every sign of a childhood summer well spent (we’re looking at you, freckles). But there’s also no denying that the desire to feel our best is linked to looking our best – even if the definition of “best” is becoming a hell of a lot more gracious. With the oldest cohort of millennials reaching 37 this year, it’s no surprise that the global anti-ageing market (their words, not ours) is growing. According to Research And Markets, the worldwide anti-ageing business will reach a staggering $88 billion over the next five years when the first millennials enter their early forties. This booming business means there’s a flood of new, innovative products and technologies that usher in ageing with a gentler, friendlier touch. The days of looking “done” are well and truly done, but the days of looking your best? Those are yet to come.
FIRST, A WORD ON OUR SKIN
“SKIN IS NOT JUST A BEAUTY DEVICE, it’s also our largest functioning organ,” says orthopaedic surgeon turned skincare guru Dr Barbara Sturm. It’s easy to forget it serves a much higher purpose than just being a canvas for creams and makeup – the skin is busy protecting us from infectious microorganisms, regulating our body temperature and producing vitamin D, among other important duties. In short, it’s the ultimate multi-tasker, and if it’s forced to devote resources to an additional chore (say, calming a sunburn or fighting off free radicals), something else has to give. “When you weaken the skin cells for one reason or another, the skin barrier functions are basically screwed,” says Sturm. “It can’t do its job protecting, and it lets UV and pollution in. That causes inflammation and a host of issues.”
Simone Vescio, co-managing director of skincare brand Dermaviduals, says it’s about taking a different approach. “I want to dispel the myth the stratum corneum [outer layer of the epidermis] is a conglomeration of ‘dead’, useless skin cells – it’s not! These cells are a living structure capable of self-regulation and integration with other layers of the skin. The underlying cells and systems of the skin rely on the stratum corneum to function in harmony.” Skin health starts and ends with a healthy barrier function.
PREVENTION (it’s not too late)
SUN EXPOSURE IS CUMULATIVE, so there’s still plenty of time to prevent environment-inflicted damage, especially because there’s a lot more than just UV causing our skin grief. As well as pollution, Sturm is particularly worried about the glare from our ever-present mobile phones. “They emit high-energy visible [HEV] light, or blue light, which is a short wavelength. It won’t give you a burn but it goes deep into the skin layers and causes inflammation,” she explains. Research shows that overexposure to blue light accelerates the oxidation process, damaging that ever-important skin barrier and worsening wrinkles, fine lines and hyperpigmentation. It’s another reason to consider not only a digital detox but also a powerful antioxidant to prevent HEV from penetrating the skin. Select a broad-spectrum SPF laced with antioxidants, or layer a mineral SPF over your antioxidant serum. “I prefer mineral sunscreens over chemical,” says Natalie Abouchar, registered nurse and founder of Sydney’s Privée Clinic. “Zinc is very healing for the skin.” Vescio also deems zinc
“THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE OR EQUIVALENT FOR VITAMIN A” – SIMONE VESCIO, CO-MANAGING DIRECTOR OF DERMAVIDUALS
“a supercharged antioxidant” thanks to its ability to protect from free radical damage. It aids in DNA repair and collagen production, too.
Another preventive ingredient that should be a non-negotiable each morning is an anti-inflammatory such as vitamin B3 (or its derivative niacinamide), says Dr Joseph Hkeik of Sydney’s All Saints Skin Clinic. “It plays a key role in more than 200 cellular reactions, including cellular energy production. No other ingredient we know of behaves this way, and it may explain why it has such a wide range of skin benefits,” explains Olay senior scientist David Khoo. “It boosts cell turnover and maintains the skin’s moisture barrier, reduces blotchiness, decreases fine lines and wrinkles and evens out skin tone.” Khoo recommends the brand’s Total Effects moisturiser, which blends niacinamide with vitamin E and green tea to further fight free radical damage, while Hkeik swears by the potent blend of B3, vitamin C and amino acids found in Rationale’s Immunologist Serum.
Vitamin A (and its derivatives) continues to be the gold-standard treatment at night. “There’s no substitute or equivalent for vitamin A,” says Vescio, who explains that beyond the superficial benefits (fading pigmentation and blurring fine lines), it also promotes cell turnover and may help prevent skin cancer. It can be a tricky ingredient, so ease into it by using a gentler, over-the-counter formulation just a few times a week. And for sensitive areas, like around the eyes, pick a product designed to combat ageing with extra TLC. “The Olay Eyes Pro-retinol Eye Treatment contains retinyl propionate, a gentler member of the retinoid family of ingredients,” says Khoo.
7. 10. 11.1. Vitamin A Nanoparticles,$90, DERMAVIDUALS, dermaviduals.com.au2. Anti-pollution Drops, $204, DR BARBARA STURM, mecca.com.au 3. Retinol Rescue Overnight Cream, $143,CLARK’S BOTANICALS, mecca.com.au 4. Total Effects7 In One Day Cream Normal,$33, OLAY, 1800 028 280 5. Immunologist Serum, $163,RATIONALE, rationale.com 6. Help Me Retinol Night Treatment, $65, PHILOSOPHY,1800 812 663 7. Super Sensitive Shield SPF 30,$76.50, DERMALOGICA, dermalogica.com.au 8. Eyes Pro-retinol Eye Treatment,$49, OLAY, 1800 028 280 9. Dior Prestige Light-in-white Le Protecteur UV Jeunesse Et Lumière, $170, DIOR, myer.com.au 10. Resist Omega+ Complex Serum, $36, PAULA’SCHOICE, paulaschoice.com.au 11. Tinted Daywear SPF 30+ UVA – UVB, $32, INVISIBLE ZINC, 1800 630 05612. Private Formula Advanced Night Cream, $49.95,DR LEWINN’S, drlewinns.com.au 13. Intellishade Truphysical,$90, REVISION SKINCARE, envogueskin.com.au
8. 12. 9.