You've swapped your smoking habit for a sunscreen one and are drinking 2 litres of water a day, but there are other easy ways to fight the onset of ageing that you might not have tried before. Incorporate these simple steps into your life and challenge the clock.
1. Eat your sunscreen
Rule number one – always wear broad spectrum SPF on your face which protects against UVA and UVB rays. Rule number two – eat them! Certain foods are known to increase lycopene, the skin's own SPF. An antioxidant found in tomatoes, and other red and orange fruit and veg, it can boost your sun protection by a whopping 33%. One of the best sources is tomato paste – did someone say spag bol? Green tea is another great example and it also contains caffeine which is thought to help cut your skin cancer risk. If you need a treat, high quality dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids that can help protect against sunburn. Bonus!
2. Move more
Exercising is as good for your skin as it is for your body and one reason is because it releases a compound called IL 15, which prevents cell death. A skin study by McMaster University in Canada revealed that participants who took part in just two cycling session a week for three months showed changes that they reported made the skin look up to decades younger. Amazing.
3. Facial massage
Take a minute every night to massage in your skincare products, which in turn helps to lift your facial muscles. Do circular motions with the fingertips in opposite directions on each hand, this encourages elasticity and breaks the pattern of tension helping prevent a degeneration of the tissues.
4. Eat less sugar
A diet high in sugar accelerates the process of glycation which ages skin. Mica Engel of London's Waterhouse Young Clinic explains in Sweet Nothing by Nicole Mowbray, "Glycation is when excess glucose from the blood-stream binds to the skin's 'youth proteins' (the collagen and elastin that makes youthful complexions appear so plump and doughy) and instead turns them brittle and stiff." This caramelisation process kisses baby faces goodbye. Swap sugar-laden treats for anti-ageing antioxidants such as dark berries, avocados and green juices.
5. Quench your skin
"With age, skin's ability to hold water decreases and dehydration is common" according to Dr Joe Cincotta of Time Bomb cosmetics. What does this mean? It looks flat and fine lines appear that need to be quenched with moisture-retaining skincare, on top of drinking water.
6. Exfoliate twice weekly
Encouraging the sheading of dead skin cells speeds up the growth of new ones. Young skin is smooth and reflects the light better whereas older skin tends to be rougher which refracts light, so regular exfoliation will help you maintain your radiance and a bright youthful glow.
7. Up your oils
Cosmo's Beauty Director swears by taking omega oils from a young age - fish or vegetable omega oil capsules consumed daily, as well as applying a few drops of rosehip (or another omega-rich) face oil every night. These 'good fats' are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, which – when healthy – yields more subtle skin.
8. Always remove your makeup
Never go to bed with an uncleansed face - it's undoubtedly ageing given that it immediately clogs (and stretches) pores and over time causes collagen breakdown. Use a balm or a gentle foam cleanser in the shower - they take your makeup off as well and rinse off clean. Easy!
9. Facial yoga
Your face needs to MOVE to retain elasticity. Like your body, if you don't exercise your facial muscles they can slacken. The more they move, the more they retain elasticity and suppleness. Yoga, for the face or not, is also a good technique for stress-busting which is important in the fight against ageing as stress can accelerate skins ageing by up to 10 years.
10. Get more beauty sleep
When you're tired you tend to get stressed easily and crave junk food – both of which are notorious agers. Not only does getting 8 hours shut-eye minimise this, when you sleep your skin repairs itself and new cells grow to replace older ones. The growth hormone functions only at night, so beauty sleep is more than a myth – it's why humans are diurnal.