Ageing

6 things you can do right now to slow down the ageing process

Look and feel younger in the time it takes you to watch an episode of Friends.

By Amber Elias

Every day we're bombarded with the latest anti-ageing miracle product, a celebrity who doesn’t look a day over 30 (but was actually born in the '70s) and the newest fad diet to sweep Hollywood, but how do we separate fact from fiction?

The unavoidable news is the body ages naturally (shocking, we know), whether you like it or not. However the upside is there are scientifically proven tricks we can all do right now to heap you look and feel younger.

1. Give yourself a facial massage

Like the muscles in your body, your facial muscles can weaken over time leading to sagging skin. You can combat this with massage - which is like a mini workout for your face. Sure you'll look a bit weird doing it, but the benefits make it worth it in the end.

^ And example of facial massage.

Through massage, expression lines may soften, giving you a more youthful appearance. Also, an increase in circulation oxygenates the blood encouraging cellular turnover and repair. Puffiness and water retention, particularly around the eyes, can also be reduced through lymphatic drainage (just a fancy way to say gently massaging the affected area).

Make sure your face is well moisturised before you start your massage to avoid pulling and tugging on your delicate skin. Try a lightly scented oil which will give you an aromatherapy treatment at the same time. Lavender is calming for the evening before bed and rose can give you a morning boost.

2. Drink more water

The most obvious (ie. boring) thing you can do is drink more water. Sorry to say, but this one is actually a major game changer on the ageing front. The average human body is made up of 60% water and so this needs to be constantly replenished... or you'll die. Dramatic but true.

If you're worried about clocking up the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, then fear not because that number actually is actually a myth started by a 1945 paper, a later study found. The paper states we should drink 2.5 litres of water per day, but adds “most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

Yes that’s right H2O haters, your intake includes the water from foods you eat. However, this doesn't mean you can put down your bottle of Mt Franklin and replace it with a croissant.

Water is the best beverage you can consume, and its health benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of regular bathroom breaks (promise). Not only does it contain zero calories (yes, zero) but by choosing it over other drinks you will avoid unnecessary kilojoule intake from sugary drinks. But perhaps more importantly, dehydration accelerates catabolic damage (the breakdown of muscle and tissue) – this includes the muscles in your face!

3. Plump up your lips

Our lips are one of the first places to show signs of ageing, with smoking, dehydration and sun damage all playing a part. The skin on your lips also doesn’t have any oil glands, so unlike the rest of your face, it can’t produce oil to keep moisturised - something which is needed to keep them looking youthful. Good news is you don't have to face the needle to plump up the volume. There are now products on the market that will give you a boost, no injections required.

A plumping lip gloss can give you a temporary fix, and some may have lasting results if used over a period of time.

If that tingling feeling scares you another option is to use a lip liner that matches your own natural lip colour to slightly overdraw your lips. This technique might require some practice, but it can also help even out an irregular lip line, or balance your top and bottom lip. Top off with a gloss for extra impact and don't forget to use a lip balm containing sunscreen during the day to prevent any future damage.

Try: (L-R) Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner, 12.95; Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plump; Blistex Five Way Lip Protection, $3.99.
Try: (L-R) Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner, 12.95; Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plump; Blistex Five Way Lip Protection, $3.99.

4. Take a supplement

Antioxidants are vital in helping maintain proper cell function, as well as protecting the body against oxidisation which can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin.

Consider taking an antioxidant supplement containing ubiquinol, the most readily absorbed form of CoQ10 by your body (this is something you need to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance).

“Ubiquinol is found naturally in our bodies, but unfortunately depletes in levels after the age of 30,” cardiologist Dr Ross Walker told Huffington Post

You might already be taking glucosamine for your joints, but you might be surprised to know the amino sugar this contains can also potentially improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, according to one scientific study. Although skin’s hydration levels weren’t improved during the trial, the visibility of wrinkles were reduced by taking the supplement as glucosamine is a building block for the skin-plumping ingredient, hyaluronic acid.

5. Use a hyaluronic acid serum

Hydrate skin with products containing hyaluronic acid, which is one of the best, most effective forms of moisturisers available. Hyaluronic acid is found in the body naturally, lubricating joints, but it depletes over time. This serum can be used on oily, sensitive and even breakout-prone skin, as it's oil-free, non-comogenic (in other words it won't block your pores) and exceptionally lightweight in its pure form. It's also gentle and calming on the skin, as the molecules are small and won’t aggravate your face.

One gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six litres of water, and actively draws water from the air around you to your skin, instantly plumping out fine lines and creases. The effects are immediately noticeable, and continue to improve over time as more it remains in the skin. This serum is incredibly easy to add into your current routine, and can even be mixed with your existing lotions as it won’t cause an adverse reaction or deactivate ingredients in other products. Hyaluronic acid can even be used on the thinner skin around the eye area and is particularly effective on fine crow's feet. It can also be used on your body, and is a lightweight alternative to heavy creams and body butters.

Try: Hylamide Low-Molecular HA, $29.95, deciem.com
Try: Hylamide Low-Molecular HA, $29.95, deciem.com

6. Fake a tan

Uneven skin tone caused by sun damage, a loss in skin elasticity or weight change can leave you feeling lacklustre. We know staying out of the sun is a major way to prevent ageing, but a golden tan can be a quick way to cheat younger-looking skin. We love fake tan that develops quickly, but also gives a realistic colour, and no tell-tale streaks.

If you're confident with a tanning mousse, we love the Loving Tan 2 HR Express Dark Self Tanning Mousse. The colour is red-based, so is perfect for yellow-toned skin, and is ideal if you want a dark tan - fast.

A gradual tan such as the Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk SPF15 is a fuss-free way to slowly build colour, while moisturising your skin. This lightweight cream also contains SPF to protect you from the sun's rays everyday.

Another product from St. Tropez is a real game changer if you're really short of time, or just want a quick dose of colour. The innovative Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion is applied to wet skin, and left for three minutes before rinsing off. The result? A natural glow (nothing orange here!) that doesn’t have that traditional fake-tan smell, and it won’t come off on your clothes or bed sheets because you don’t leave the tan on your skin.

Try: (L-R) Loving Tan 2 HR Express Dark Self Tanning Mousse, $39.95; Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk SPF15, $17.95; St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower, $39.99.
Try: (L-R) Loving Tan 2 HR Express Dark Self Tanning Mousse, $39.95; Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk SPF15, $17.95; St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower, $39.99.