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Forget anti-ageing - why growing up is great!

Ageing. It's one of life's certainties, and yet we try all sorts of tricks to hide it, cheat it and stop it in its tracks. In fact, our recent survey found that over half of you believe you were happiest in your 20s and 30s. ‘This is often because we want to return to the innocence of youth,' says life coach Liz Tucker (www.behappybehealthy.co.uk). ‘As young adults we want it all, but we have no real understanding of the effort involved...

Once we've had a few knockbacks, it's not surprising we long for the good old days. ‘This is made worse by the fact that our memory is very good at disposing of bad memories,' explains Liz. ‘So, when we look back, we usually see only the good bits - childbirth is a perfect example!'

But while you may look back fondly on your younger days, only 19 per cent feel depressed about ageing. With lots still to look forward to, nearly half of you feel content about getting older because of the wisdom it brings. Liz says: ‘As we get older, we know what's really important, and we're likely to make the right decisions based on how we really feel, rather than simply following what our friends are doing.'


All too often, in our 40s and 50s, we are paying the price for what we did in our younger years. A whopping 79 per cent of you rate health worries as your biggest concern as the years pass. ‘In our teens and twenties we can abuse our bodies and it can tolerate an awful lot,' says Liz. ‘But at around 40, our bodies start to tire of all the unhealthy things we've done in the past. See it as a pot of good health - the more we take out at a younger age, the less is there for when we get older.'

Plus, we're seeing our parents becoming increasingly fragile and our children turning into adults - what better reminders of our own growing proximity to old age? All is not lost, though, if you haven't had a sin-free existence. ‘There's nothing stopping us being healthier than ever as the years pass,' says Liz. ‘Our cells are constantly replacing, and many people are much healthier in their 40s and 50s because they've woken up to the benefits of activity and a good diet. We should exploit the fact that we're more aware of our biological needs as we get older, and more experienced at managing them.'

Looking great

Creaky bones aren't your only ageing gripes. Nearly half of you worry about having an insufficient pension, while 26 per cent of you dislike having to make more of an effort with your appearance. Again, the majority (seven in ten) say you were most content with your appearance in your twenties and thirties. In a society where youth is synonymous with beauty, it's unsurprising that the sight of another frown line has you spending an average of £22 on anti-ageing cream. More surprisingly, over half of you say you would consider plastic surgery.

‘Sadly, it seems we have regressed in our attitude to women,' says Liz. ‘While 20 years ago, society was encouraged to see women as more than an attractive appendage or baby-making machine, somehow the younger generation have willingly brought back the concept that looks really count. Sexism is everywhere and, as a result, being young and gorgeous is considered important.

So, if we can delay ageing, even though it's only on the surface, we will.' Indeed, 88 per cent of you have tried an age-defying trick, whether that's hair colouring, exercising, dieting, wearing clever make-up or slipping into support underwear. But, although you're not immune to the sparkle of youth, you believe there's more to life than trying to look young - and there's actually a lot to enjoy about getting older. Two thirds of you say you're more confident now than when you were younger, while nearly half of you say the best thing about getting older is being able to finally accept yourselves, flaws and all.

‘Instead of wanting to be accepted by others, we're more inclined to say: "This is who I am and I have more important things to do than spend two hours every morning tarting myself up,"' says Liz. And your choice of role model reflects this attitude. Helen Mirren, still natural at 64, is the woman we most admire for her attitude to ageing (55 per cent), while only one per cent look up to proud advocate of cosmetic surgery Joan Rivers. Positive ageing is not about desperately trying to look younger. It's about celebrating growing up, and making the most of what we have - whatever our age.

Our favourite things about getting older:

More accepting of ourselves - flaws and all
Growing confidence
More ‘me time'

How to... age gracefully

Liz Tucker offers her top tips for making the most of life - and enjoying every minute

Be proud

Look at what you've achieved in your life - you may not be rich or famous because of it, but you've made it this far and that's no mean feat. Look at your successes, how well you've coped in difficult situations, how many people you've helped - all of these things are much more attractive than a face full of Fillers.

Me me me!

Many women put others first, but if you're unhappy and unhealthy, this won't help those you care for. Looking after your health and your diet isn't an indulgence, it's a priority.

Time check

As you age, you become aware of time running out but, rather than shying away from this feeling, use it to your advantage. Focus on one thing you want to do and decide you're going to stop putting it off, whether it's losing weight, getting fitter, or clearing out your wardrobe. Once you've tackled one goal, you'll gain the confidence to deal with all those other things you've been avoiding.

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Should you review your skincare routine?

Our skin changes dramatically through the decades from our 30s to 50s, and the secret to looking fabulous is to change our skincare too. A cream that suits the 35 year-old you may no longer work on 45 year-old skin. Cosmetic technology is constantly evolving and moving forward and if you’ve been using the same creams for years you could be missing out on the latest expertise. Think it’s time to review your skincare? Here’s how to ensure the products you are using really are the best available… Your 30s

How your skin is changing

When you hit your 30s, cell renewal starts to slow down, so you may notice your skin starts to look less radiant than it did in your 20s. Skin cells gradually lose their elasticity and the skin's surface becomes slightly drier. Some small wrinkles stay visible even when you face is relaxed, and it can take longer for morning under-eye puffiness to disappear.

Skincare Strategy

During the day you need to focus on protection and that means products that contain at least an SPF15. Look for a richer cream to use at night, containing anti-oxidants to ward off future damage. You should definitely exfoliate once a week to remove dulling dead surface cells and stimulate cell renewal, plus buy an eye cream if you aren't already using one.

Top tip

As we move into our thirties it can be very easy to continue using old favourites that are really designed for young 20-something skin. Biting the bullet and buying products for slightly older skin needn’t be depressing; the difference they can make will help you look and feel great.

Your 40s

How your skin is changing

If you've looked after yourself (and are blessed genetically) you'll still have young looking skin. But more collagen and elastin is lost in this decade, which means your skin is less resilient and less able to plump itself back up, so sags, jowls and creases begin to show. Cell turnover slows even further and lines may be looking deeper. Also sun damage can really start to show on the face, chest and hands.

Skincare strategy

Your skincare products should contain anti-ageing ingredients by now and you should always take care to protect yourself from the sun to prevent further damage. This is the decade when stronger ingredients may be needed, such as glycolic acid to exfoliate and smooth, vitamin A to rejuvenate and Idebenone, a powerful antioxidant, to improve wrinkles and protect the skin.

You might also be considering botox, which is certainly very effective for treating lines around the eyes, forehead and 'necklace' lines, and works best on women before they lose facial muscle tone.

Top tip

Look out for products with added hyaluronic acid which gives skin a healthy, plump appearance. You should review your day and night creams, and add a serum to your routine. Don’t forget an anti-aging hand cream.

Your 50s

How your skin is changing

Oestrogen levels are falling, which affects the moisture-holding capacity of the skin – it now becomes drier, thinner and more fragile. This is also the time when you will see more irregularities in your complexion – age spots, areas of pigmentation and broken blood vessels.

Skincare strategy

Stay out of the sun or use very high protection to keep your skin tone even and prevent damage accelerating. If you have lots of sun spots, there are creams that offer a brightening effect. You'll probably need a super-charged moisturizer for hydration, plus a collagen-boosting cream for firmness.

Top Tip

Take stock of the new products on the market; cosmetic technology moves forwards in leaps and bounds and the cream that worked for you five years ago may no longer be the best out there. Invest in creams and serums but if you also need some cover look for lightweight make-up that also moisturises and brightens.


Discover L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renew for fresher, radiant skin that looks full of life

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