What are the things that age me… and how can I avoid them?

They say that women age more gracefully than men, but it can be hard to believe this when we look back on snaps of us in our teens lounging on the beach with radiant skin, carefree faces and tanned and toned bodies.

What exactly is it that makes us all age? And is there anything we can do to reduce the effects of it? Here is the aging most wanted list and ways you can avoid some of its pernicious effects.

The good news is that we know that the main agers are collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. The bad news is that you are genetically predisposed to the effects of each. They all deplete from our late teens onwards, but at very different rates for every person. That’s why one person may be complaining about wrinkles (caused by greater collagen loss) whilst another bemoans their sagging flesh (caused by loss of elastin).

The bad news is that environmental factors are also involved. The good news is that we can control these. Prevention is the key to reducing the harmful effects of these causes of ageing.

UV rays should be avoided, so using SPF is essential, even on cloudy days is a must. Smoking is actually both harmful to your health and your youthful looks. Speaking of the big smoke, Londoners should take note that pollution will seriously age you.

Anti-oxidants are a must, both internally and externally. A berry smoothie will sort out your internal intake, and skin products containing Vitamin C will help on the outside.

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but it also piles those years on. Sugar binds with collagen and elastin molecules and causes a loss of elasticity. Those who eat less sugar look naturally younger.

Nutrition and diet are just as important for healthy skin as they are for a healthy body. Deep lines and a loss of radiance are typically caused by dietary factors.

Deep lines are formed when the regeneration of our skin cells starts to slow down: fibres in the skin become weaker and skin becomes thinner.

Likewise, a poor diet, lack of moisture in the skin and stress all account for a loss of radiance.  To help with this, massage the skin every evening with a facial oil to promote circulation.

Good skin is a life long project and there are no quick fixes, however a few minutes a day spent on a skincare regime will pay dividends.

By Mandy Oxley-Swan