I was looking at a picture of the singer Lulu the other day. For those of you who are younger than 40, that name might not mean anything, but those who lived through the 1960’s will remember her. She had a UK hit in 1964 with ‘Shout’, then sang the title song to the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun and won the Eurovision song contest in 1969 with the unforgettable UK entry "Boom Bang-a-Bang". They don’t make songs like that anymore!
Seriously though, taking a closer look at her photo, I was amazed at how little she seemed to have aged. At the age of 68, she almost looks better than she did when she was in her 20s! Flawless skin and strong, well defined jaw and cheekbones. I remember thinking the same about the US actress Jane Fonda (now age 79) a few years back.
Ok, a little injection here and a nip or tuck there must be held partly responsible but honestly, there’s a limit to what aesthetics can do when you are pushing 70. The answer to why she looks so good and other women, even those younger than her are not wearing it so well, rests largely in her genes. For some, this ‘intrinsic’ ageing can be a gentle process.
Sadly only very few are so blessed though. In truth, to age well and not show significant fine lines and wrinkles as early as age 40, you need to work on it. Of course you need to live with your natural intrinsic ageing since you can’t change your genes, but you can help fight the ‘extrinsic ageing’ processes.
The toned, radiant plumpness of young skin is due to its high collagen and elastin content. At 18, almost 80% of the dermis, the living layer of the skin, is made up of collagen. But things go south pretty quick after that. Generally we lose 1.5% of our collagen each year, leaving our skins wrinkled and prune-like when we get to 90.
So to protect your skin as you age, particularly if your genes don’t match Lulu’s or Jane Fonda’s, you have to slow down extrinsic ageing. Here are my medical tips to help do so:
- Keep hydrated – drink at least 1.5liters of water a day
- Wear SPF 50 every day even if you are indoors (active against UVA and UVB)
- Keep your collagen levels topped up with a powerful liquid collagen &anti-oxidant supplement such as GOLD COLLAGEN FORTE
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables with lots of natural vitamin D, C, E and K
- Don’t smoke (ever)
- Don’t put any strong chemicals near your skin
- Don’t live near heavy traffic – try to avoid air pollution as much as possible
Oh, and don’t smile! Just kidding - never hold back on that!
- Gilchrest BA: Overview of skin aging.J Cut Aging & Cos Derm 1(1):1-2, 1998