Age is just a number, right? But sometimes women of *ahem* a certain age might feel that they need some extra help and tips to deal with signs of ageing.
I’ll hold my hand up gingerly and say “I am now at that age” and I was therefore asked by Mumsnet to give my views on an initiative that they’re working on in conjunction with Boots – a very familiar and trusted name in every shopping area.
Here’s some details:
“Mumsnet is working on a new project with Boots called the Feel Good Forum (click on the link for more details) – this is designed to “inspire you to take control of you and your family’s health and wellbeing. From building your body confidence and helping you get the best night’s sleep through to tackling anti-ageing and explaining the latest beauty advice”.
The main part of this is a series of weekly radio shows broadcast on Sunday evenings on Real Radio and Smooth Radio. The show is hosted by Kate Thornton and each week features experts on particular topics. Broadcast times: on Real Radio from 7-8pm and Smooth Radio from 8-9pm.”
I’ve listened to two shows and found them both really interesting. Kate Thornton really interacts with the experts, offering her own views and insights and it’s very much audience-focused with the experts answering questions from callers and those already posed on the forum (which is open 24/7 to post questions).
The first show focused on “Anti-ageing, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and what causes them”. Experts in the studio were a dermatologist and a psychologist, with an expert from Boots Opticians on the phone.
They went through questions from callers and from the forum, questions that many women will identity with.
Here’s a couple of examples:
A 27 year old woman had noticed fine lines around her eyes when she smiles, is there anything she can do?
The experts were unanimous in that she shouldn’t stop smiling! Mild smile – or laughter lines – show a positive attitude and those features that an individual is conscious of are not necessarily noticed by someone else on a happy, welcoming smiling face.
However lines can (and do) get worse with sun exposure so protection of the skin with a UVA-absorbing day cream with SPF15 is essential, even in this country, even on a cloudy day as there are still 30-40% rays coming through.
Reflective make-up will also help draw attention away from the area. Choose light make-up not make-up that sits in any lines and gain confidence from knowing that you are taking care of yourself.
She was also advised to wear protective sunglasses. Sunglasses can be seen as a fashion statement but they serve a purpose, protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays which cause damage to eyes and the skin around the eyes. Sunglasses should not just be tinted lenses and state on any label/tag that they have UV protection in the lenses.
Another question from the forum asked whether it was necessary to have cupboards full of toner, cleanser, moisturiser, exfoliator/body scrub/sun screens etc. A very familiar scenario!
The answer is simplify! First, find out your skin tone – whether normal/oily or combination – Boots skin care advisors would be able to help and offer impartial advice as to skin type and best products.
The dermatologist then advised that once the skin was cleansed (using a cream cleanser for dry skin, an oil-reducing cleanser for oily/combination) then a serum should be used as a base, with a day cream on top.
At nighttime, again cleanse your skin, then use a good night cream containing anti-oxidants as the skin repairs and moisturises itself better at night.
The UVA and UVB elements in skin-care were explained – something I’d always wondered about.
UVA – think of the “A” as “anti-Ageing”, so a cream to be used all year around. The sunlight reflects through windows and glass etc, these products will contain collagen and elastin.
UVB – “B” is for “(anti)-Burning” so a preventative cream in sunnier weather.
Lots of different scenarios discussed but the main advice being:
Look after your skin with SPF15 day creams and a suitable repairing night cream.
Keep smiling, if you act as though you’re confident, this will be mirrored in how others behave towards you.
The show concluded with the experts top tips: from the dermatologist;
If you are a smoker, stop, if you’re not, don’t start. Smoking can age your looks by between 15-20 years;
Use the SPF15 day cream all year round.
And from the psychologist:
Think positive, if you’re having a negative thought, turn it around, be constructive, made it a positive.
Don’t become obsessed with numbers, don’t let it dictate how happy you are and start concentrating on things you can control.
Change the things that need to be changed, don’t sit around and complain and let’s all pick battles we can win.
That was Show 1 and I felt like I learnt quite a bit with regards to the simplification of products, the need for a day cream and the importance of sunglasses.
Show 2 focused on skin conditions and hair care.
Again, a sample of questions:
Jean has mid-length very fine and fly-away hair, she’s finding serums leave her hair lank and sticky, what products can improve her hair?
The hair expert suggested using spray-in conditioner on the ends with lightweight volume mousse/conditioner blow dried into the hair. As regards to serums, a pea-sized amount is enough to use, rubbing it into your hands first and then passing over the hair.
Waxes can be sticky and heavy so the trick is to start with a smaller amount, rubbing it into hands first to get the wax warm so it melts and it can then be evenly distributed.
Another question was one I could REALLY identify with:
The woman’s children didn’t sleep, she has ashen skin and dark circles. She feels like she’s really aged, how can she perk up her complexion despite a lack of sleep?
The dermatologist said that this was a very familiar issue for women with children, sleep is the key to a good complexion but when sleep is limited, it’s about using products with ingredients which will have an impact on the skin.
Using a product with built-in sunscreen during the day will really help, but at night it’s using products with Rectinoid in which will benefit – a module derived from vitamin A.
Dark circles occur as skin around the eyes is thin, smiling etc crinkles up the muscles so light-reflective eye concealer will help – eg Boots No 7 Youthful Eye Serum. As with all skin/body care products, results don’t happen overnight so allow 6-8 weeks to see the benefits.
Another question from the forum concerning thinning hair and hair loss. Something that seems to be a taboo amongst females.
Some hair loss can be do to age and hormones playing a part, but what can be done?
The dermatologist recommended a conversation with a pharmacy member of staff. Hair extensions do play a part in hair damage but after pregnancy is when women commonly notice a change in their hair. Boots sell nutritional produces with a hair care supplement and Regaine for Women was also recommended.
There are products that can help conceal the effects of hair loss – Nanogen hair fibres for example, which come in various hair colours and can be sprinkled on and will lock to the hair. Available over the counter.
As before, the show concluded with experts top tips.
From the hair expert:
On finding the best hair salon for you, look for the best-looking salon as this shows the owner has invested in it, ask for a free consultation, ask plenty of questions of the stylist and if you’re not happy that you’ve connected, ask for a business card and say thank you. A good tip for a get-out clause. But if you’re happy with their answers, then you’re halfway there.
As summer is coming (maybe!), keep your hair covered with a hat or a scarf, the sun is very damaging to hair.
If your hair is jaw-length, that means the hair at the ends is 4 years old. Keep the ends in good condition – as they’re older than the hair at the roots – so use conditioner from the mid to end length and have a trim every 6-8 weeks.
And from the dermatologist:
Exfoliate regularly, this creates a smooth, light surface that reflects beautifully, making sure that the products you put on afterwards penetrate the skin well.
Protect your skin – you only get one – apply sunscreen on a daily basis and that will offset a lot of changes associated with ageing.
Be smart with your money, learn about skin care ingredients, products that stay on/soak into the skin will have more of an impact than those that wash off.
I enjoyed listening to the two shows, I felt like I’d learnt quite a bit and there was some good music played too.
Something I’ll be listening to again, age might be just a number but any tips learnt to help with growing old gently are welcomed!
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