The philosophy of anti-ageing and how you can do it your way

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  • Anti-ageing isn’t really about what creams you use, or superfoods you’re eating – it’s how you feel about the process that really matters...

    I’ve acquired a slightly untoward morning habit of late. As my 32nd birthday approaches (just seeing that in print is horrifying), I’ve started peering at myself in a magnifying mirror as soon as I get up to check the effects of various potions on my ‘smile lines’. It seems no anti-ageing product is helping me at the moment. 

    I detest those lines, even though, realistically, there are worse things happening in the world than a little collagen depletion. My friends who might have more lines than me or even a some hyper pigmentation woes are completely nonplussed. So why am I so darn miserable about it?

    I’m no more self-obsessed than the next person, but if I had a different outlook on my lines, I might be less critical – or I’d wear them with pride, as a symbol of my gained wisdom. 
    ‘Everyone has a different approach to ageing,’ says Samantha Clarke, who teaches confidence life skills at London philosophy centre The School Of Life. ‘Some of my friends will take a scientific skincare route, some will choose more natural products and some accept it as part of the process,’ she says. 
    The key, I’ve discovered, is to find your personal ageing philosophy. 
    It’s easier to work with rather than against this philosophy and your late twenties to mid- thirties is a pivotal time.
    That’s when the majority of us start to become less focused on battling with our basic skin types (the usual ‘oily’, ‘combination’, ‘dry’ and ‘normal’) and more geared towards how our skin is changing – and ageing.
    Biologically, our oil production starts to slow down and we lose one per cent of collagen from our skin every year after the age of 30. ‘I have girlfriends who are very caught up about their age,’ says dermatologist Dr Diana Howard, vice president of research and development for The International Institute and Dermalogica. ‘But they’re all worried in different ways. We can’t always treat everyone as a single entity, and the psychological factor is significant.’ 
    That’s where your own attitude comes into play. If you’re a ‘realist’ like me, you might be draw towards quick measures that deal with the issue right now, while those who favour a scientific approach may veer towards the ‘positivist’ route, laden with stats and new ingredients. We all think differently about the way we age and, with that in mind, it’s time to match your skincare to your outlook…. 

    QUIZ TIME: What Kind of Thinker Are You?
    Identify your life philosophy then find a skincare regime to match! 
    Are you a Results Seeker?
    You’re a firm believer in long-term results. You’re methodical and know that a good pro-ageing skincare takes a couple of months to show its true effects. In philosophical terms (stay with us here), you’re an existentialist, meaning that you believe we decide what is right and wrong for ourselves. 
    Put simply, you’re in control of your own destiny and you know it will take patience, especially when it comes to your anti-ageing regime. You existentialists are pretty conscious of your mortality and slip into thinking about what ageing really means (a slow descend to The End). 
    In school, you were probably the one wearing a black roll-neck, cradling a copy of John-Paul Satre’s Being and Nothingness as if it were a newborn. But when it comes to beauty, time is irrelevant. If it delivers, you WANT it.
    You need: An Existentialist Skincare Kit!
    – One area of skin ageing that benefits from potent ingredients (and your long-term approach) is hyperpigmentation. Invest in the naturally derived antoxidant acai, which works, alongside licorice, to inhibit the overproduction of melanin (pigment) in the skin. Find it in Grown Alchemist Brightening Serum, £54.
    – Another potent but long-term beauty buy is La Roche Posay Redermic C10, £29.50. This tube of joy contains a concentrated hit of brightening vitamin C (ten per cent compared to the usual five per cent) mixed with plumping hyaluronic acid, to upgrade your skin’s volume and texture (see ya, enlarged pores) in one creamy swoop.
    – The skin around our eyes is ten times thinner than the rest of our faces, so it ages faster and needs more attention. ReVive Line Erasing Eye Serum, £220, uses a groundbreaking biomimetic peptide (a compound created to mimic what nature produces, er, naturally) to offer promising help for your peepers. In fact, after eight weeks’ use, 97 per cent of testers experienced a reduction in fine lines, with 100 per cent noticing an immediate lifting effect.
    Are you a Fact Finder?
    Evidence is your queen. Unless something comes from a reputable source or is backed by hard facts, you’re just not interested. You probably own a subscription to New Scientist and Which? Magazines, and your friends seek you out if they need a logical, rational point of view (you’d always caution against sending naked selfies – so wise!). 
    Your philosophical ‘type’ is a positivist. This doesn’t mean you’re the world’s happiest person – just that you’re super objective and believe in the power of science. You like proven results when it comes to skincare, or at least being able to predict what might happen to your face as you age. You’d always pick hard-working, effective products over something that simply feels or smells nice. 
    You need: The Positivist Tool Kit
    – You’re someone who will try retinol, because of its solid anti-ageing results. Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair, £73, is a potent 0.5 per cent does of vitamin A (that’s what retinol is), and is proven to accelerate cell renewal, stimulate volume- building collagen production and increase elastin biosynthesis (goodbye, sags). It also comes with a soothing Buffer Cream, so you can start with a small amount and work up to the full dosage. 
    – Another key scientific skincare hero is the stem cell – the key ingredient in Dr Levy Intense Stem Cell Decolletage Regenerating Silk, £290. ‘From one inch below your chin, your sebaceous glands are almost non-existent. That’s why your chest and neck ages more quickly than your face,’ explains dermatologist and founder Dr Levy. This pleasing balm contains argan-nut derived stem cells that can decrease wrinkle depth and improve the density of the skin. Sun-worshippers, take note. 
    – Alpha-H Liquid Laser Supersize Concentrate Serum, £47, uses Juveleven, a new hexapeptide that mimics the action of the hydra jellyfish. This sea creature’s stem cells simple keep on regenerating, giving it as an infinite life span. Creepy, but cool.
    – Finally, finish off with an eye cream with serious science cred – the ingredients in Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Transformative Energy Eye Cream, £147, were found (by skin-mimicking in-vitro testing) to help the skin increase its natural collagen production by up to 215 per cent after 72 hours. 

    Are you a Demander?
    As a child, you were definitely a foot stamper. If you didn’t get what you wanted (and fast), you’d throw all your toys not just out of the pram, but quite possibly at someone’s head. 
    As an adult, you still like immediate action and, when it comes to ageing, you’re more concerned with the things that are happening now than what could come I the future. In philosophical terms, you’re a realist- you need proof and quick results. 
    You need some: Realist Must-Haves
    – Nothing is more immediate than Radical Skincare Enzyme Peel, £45. It’s a pink gel that contains a potent mix of fruit-derived enzymes. Rub it into dry skin and it will clump into little balls as it collects dead-skin cells. Satisfying, much?
    – To replenish your skin afterwards, invest in Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream, £72. The cocktail of oils and antioxidants is cold pressed (under 49C) to ensure that no enzymes are destroyed in its production and, because of this, it sinks straight into your skin – we’re talking instant!
    – For a serious reparative treatment with immediate effects, turn to Chanel Sublimage L’Extrait, £370. Pricey it may be, but this cream uses stem cells and petals from the Madagascan Vanilla planifolia plant. The latter are dried and soaked in an oil bath for three days to allow the natural active ingredients to infuse. 
    – For a quick hit of moisture, apply Starskin Red Carpet Ready Hydrating Bio-cellulose Face Mask, £8.50, which contains fermented coconut juice to pump the face with moisture. 
    Think you’re an Indulger?
    Is this you? Oh, you’re a serious little bunny, aren’t you? It’s not that you’re down or pessimistic, it’s just that you’re prone to being a bit ‘inside your own head’. This can mean that if you’re a wee bit sad, you’ll benefit from things that draw you outside yourself and provide a welcome distraction (you’ve bookmarked ‘cat LOLS’ on Youtube).
    As a solipsist, you’re a big believer in anything that increases your feelings of happiness – like skincare scents that lift your mood, or products with interesting textures. It has to be effective, too (if not, you’ll dwell on it). But you have a lot of feelings, so if your skincare works and has an added well-being bonus, you’re sorted. 
    Upgrade your: Solipsist Feel-Good Stash
    – The Clarisonic Smart Profile Cleansing Brush, £199, automatically monitors your usage and leaves you with squeaky-clean pores, making you feel like you’re really taking good care of your skin. 
    – Slathering on the camellia-oil-rich Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Booster, £36, known as the geisha’s beauty secret, gives you instantly soft skin that feels like petals (you love a fleur).
    – Hybrid products like YSL Instant Moisture Glow, £39, really appeal to your senses. This clear gel moisturises, softens your skin and diffuses light, for skin that barely needs any make-up.
    – For a serious exfoliating treatment that will leave you with skin like a puppy’s ear, Philosophy The Microdelivery Overnight Anti-ageing Peel, £65, uses alpha/beta hydroxy acids to open pores, while encouraging skin micro-exfoliation. 
    The fresh cucumber-scented gel applied over the top uses the anti-irritants oat extract and bisabolol, peptides and to help cool and hydrate as you sleep. Come the morning, your skin will feel and look great, which equals a happy you. 

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