It's a sad fact of life that as we age, our skin loses its elasticity and its ability to bounce back. The bad news? There's simply no way to avoid doing many of the things which lead to the wrinkles we'll all eventually develop. The good news? Using the right products, we can certainly give our skin a helping hand.
There's no shortage of wrinkle-busting products available but finding the right one for you can be tricky. Skincare guru and founder of Murad skincare, Dr Murad, suggests that those waging war on wrinkles take the time to figure out exactly what they want from their beauty products before splashing the cash.
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"I suggest my patients first look at their skin type to determine what the underlying cause of their wrinkles might be," advises Dr Murad. "That way, they will be able to choose products which contain ingredients designed to specifically address their particular cause of wrinkles. For example, if you're in your 30s to 50s and are experiencing wrinkles along with lacklustre skin, you may be suffering from hormonal ageing. If this is the case, look for products which contain AHA's to reduce the appearance of medium-to-deep wrinkles and phytoestrogens, to naturally improve elasticity." Murad's Age Diffusing Serum (£64, www.murad.co.uk) is ideal for those within this category - it's a light, easily-absorbed formula that instantly tightens skin and also helps to reduce the appearance of deeper wrinkles.
If your parents wrinkled young and you're seeing yours appear early on, you're probably suffering from what's known as genetic ageing.
"If this is the case, look for products which contain glycolic acid to exfoliate and beta-carotene to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without irritation," suggests Dr Murad.
"If you've been in the sun a lot over the years and have been exposed to harsh pollutants in the environment, you're probably suffering from environmental ageing. In this case, look for products which contain retinyl palmitate to exfoliate and Vitamin C to preserve collagen." There's no shortage of vitamin-c based creams and serums, but for an intensive treat, smooth on Elemis's Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask (£46, www.timetospa.co.uk), which contains amino acids along with glycolic acid to smooth skin and boost cell turnover.
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Moisturising ingredients such as shea butter are also essential when it comes to the art of wrinkle-busting, due to their ability to restore natural smoothness. Natural ingredients such as fruit oils and avocado will all enhance the skin's ability to retain moisture. Retinol, which is basically pure vitamin A and which works by stimulating cell growth and building collagen, is equally beneficial. Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Premiere Intense Moisture and Renewal Activation Cream SPF 30 (£68, Boots) is a great example of a retinol product which also helps to protect skin from external aggressors.
When it comes to the delicate skin around the eye area, avoid heavy products, which can "pool" under the area and are harder for the skin to absorb. If possible, opt for a lighter cream or serum. Elemis's brand new Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment (£39, www.timetospa.co.uk) is ideal for this delicate area. The lightweight serum contains a hi-tech combination of amino acids and anti-oxidant rich linseed to smooth and firm the skin without suffocating it.
Peptides are another ingredient worth looking out for. Skincare guru Ole Henriksen swears by them. "The actual tightening effect that you want comes from various peptides," says Ole. "I'm a huge fan of peptides because they're water-based and have a tiny molecular structure which enables them to interact with the skin in a very effective manner." Peptides can be found in a huge range of beauty products. One example is Bliss's The Youth As We Know It moisturiser (£65, www.blissworld.co.uk) which works by slowing the breakdown of collagen. Ole Henrisken's Ultimate Eye Lift Gel (£36, Selfridges) is another peptide-packed miracle product, and is ideal for use on sensitive skin.
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As Ole points out, boosting cell turnover is essential, not just because doing so allows products to penetrate the skin better, but because increased cell turnover means less wrinkles. "You need to stimulate the skin's cell turnover rate in order to achieve a gradual and permanent reduction of wrinkles," explains Ole. Lancome's Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate (£90, Boots) is ideal for those looking to maximise cell renewal. This powerful serum contains Phytosphingosine SLC, which is derived from a yeast and works by not only stimulating cell turnover but by strengthening the surface of the skin.
Finally, don't forget to moisturise. In warmer weather, when we're more prone to oily skin, it's easy to forget just how essential moisture is for our skin. "Look for moisture-binding ingredients which work in a time-released manner, such as sodium hyaluronate (otherwise known as hyaluronic acid), and extracts from the glycerine family," suggests Ole. Try Gatineau Defelift 3D Eye Contour Lift Emulsion (£46.60, Lookfantastic.com). Gylcerine is another ingredient to look out for, and is what's known as a humectant, which means it's able to draw and absorb water from the air. And, let's face it, here in the UK, that's one thing there's never a shortage of.