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Ageing gracefully

You can have lovely skin as you age if you follow these expert tips


“As we get older it is most important to be vigilant about hydration,” says Olive Finn of The Olive Branch, Clonakilty, Co Cork. “Keep up your daily intake of water, all year round, with a daily routine of cleansing, moisturising, and toning with an organic range. We are spoiled for choice now with so many gorgeous ranges to choose from. I would stress using organic products as I believe the purer the product, the purer the result.”

Mary Buckley of Horans Health Store in Listowel, Co Kerry agrees that hydration is crucial. “Most people don’t drink enough water, our bodies are made up of between 50-70% water and we need to replenish this continuously.”

“Maintaining muscle tone is really important for preserving a youthful look making facial exercises of real benefit,” Susie Perry Debice is a nutritional therapist working with vitamin C supplement Altrient C at Abundance And Health. “Keeping skin cells hydrated is also a key factor so sipping on filtered water, herbal teas or coconut water across the day is a must. Next, it’s important to keep a check on lifestyle factors that are known to weather your skin – cut back on alcohol, sugary foods, saturated fats, ditch the cigarettes and wear sunscreen. Gentle exfoliation once a week helps to peel off old skin cells and buff up new skin cells, promoting a glowing complexion.”

Products or nutrition?

“Both good products and good nutrition are needed for great skin,” says Mary Buckley. “Our skin is the body’s biggest organ and usually the first place issues show up. We need good quality products suitable for our individual skin type to nourish our skin from the outside and healthy ingredients to nourish from the inside.”

“When it comes to healthy radiant skin I would say it’s more about nutrition and less about products,” says Susie Perry Debice. “There are plenty of products that help to act as a protective barrier locking in moisture and preventing dryness but you also have to give your skin a chance to breathe. It takes 12 weeks for a new skin cell to be created and make its way to the outer layer (surface) of your skin.”

“I think these days most people realise that a holistic approach is the way to go,” says Olive Finn. “Beautiful on the inside equals beautiful on the outside. We have always followed the rule ‘food first’. Nutrition has a profound impact on skin, so a diet rich in omegas, antioxidants, organic fruit and a wide variety of organic vegetables is important for glowing skin.”

Avoid the nasties

“Conventional beauty products are more about marketing and profits and promoting a false image of what people really look like,” says Olive Finn. “Women in particular have been pressurised and bombarded for centuries about what these products will do. Advertisers project images of what we are told is ‘perfection’, the word ‘natural’ is abused when in fact the products are mainly chemical-heavy and non-organic. They avoid using older women in their advertising campaigns, as if ageing is a no-no.”

“I would recommend anybody concerned with their skin to see a qualified beautician to pick the correct products as it isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation,” says Mary Buckley. “Everybody’s skin is different and you need to use products suited to you, not just picked off a supermarket shelf.”

“Some beauty products create the illusion that they have the power to reverse damage that has already taken place, giving false hope and often wasting time and money,” says Susie Perry Debice. “In my experience the only non-surgical way to refresh your skin condition is with good quality and highly specific nutritional supplements taken alongside a healthy eating plan. Focusing on the correct nutrition for your skin allows new skin cells to be truly healthy and for collagen to be restored and improved.”

The natural option

“Aim to spend your money on supplements rather than creams,’ says Susie Perry Debice. “I would recommend searching out a liposomal form of vitamin C since there is good data to show that supplementing with vitamin C in this particular format actually stimulates your body to increase collagen production. Since it’s collagen that can plump up skin cells and smooth over fine lines then this has to be top of my skin superstar products list. Also on the list are CoQ10 and vitamins A and E which all have a role to play in conditioning and protecting more mature skin.”

“My favourite is simple – it’s oil,” says Mary Buckley. “Different oils suit different skin types. If you mix a good oil with aromatherapy oils you have a tailor-made product. It also helps that there are no parabens, no hidden nasties – just natural skin products the way they should be.”

“We always refer to omega oils in the diet first,” says Olive Finn. “Over the years different trends emerge – at the moment coconut, jojoba and rio rosa oils are extremely popular. Serums are huge, and there is a lovely selection to choose from. Sea buckthorn oils and body lotions are very popular for dry older skin. Something that’s really encouraging is that many of our customers are researching their own recipes and putting together their own formulas to suit their own skin type with ingedients such as shea butter, argan oil and apple vider vinegar.”

According to Eat Yourself Young by Elizabeth Peyton-Jones (Quadrille):

5 processes that age you –
And that can all be addressed with changes in diet:

Eliminative slowdown – if your gut is not functioning properly.

Inflammation – the root cause of wrinkles and muscle loss.

Oxidation – theft of electrons from atoms within cell membranes, proteins, lipids and genes.

Acidification – acid in the body leads to wrinkles.

Hormonal imbalance – in levels of insulin, stress and sex hormones.

The 5 most ageing foods
Sugar – can lead to puffy eyes, sagging skin, spots and acne, winkles and lines.

Cow’s dairy – can lead to acne and pus-filled spots, asthma and eczema, wrinkles.

Meat – can lead to early skin wrinkling, red and angry spots, ruddy and thick skin, weakened hair, nails and teeth.

‘Bad’ fats – can lead to skin conditions such as acne.

The 5 best anti-ageing foods
Beetroot – a detoxer. For decreased skin-related ageing, such as wrinkles and liver spots.

Turmeric – for better wound healing, less scarring, more youthful looking skin.

Red beans – for better skin quality and elasticity, strong healthy teeth.

Lemon – for healthy spot-free skin, to stop broken veins appearing on your face.

Garlic – for better skin overall.

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