A zone-by-zone guide to fighting the signs of ageing
Because a targeted approach is an effective approach
Skin ageing is inevitable, but treat it zone by zone and you’ll notice a smoother, brighter, more youthful complexion. Here’s how to break it down.
The zone: Eyes
The windows to your soul are also one of the first areas to show signs of ageing. The reason? It’s a “mobile” area, says Iola Ciavarra, National Skin Care Trainer for Valeant Aesthetics. “Movement when you’re smiling, laughing, frowning and squinting all contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. These factors, combined with sun exposure, can lead to the rapid ageing of the delicate skin around eyes."
“You can do a lot to restore a youthful appearance, just by focusing on this area,” says Ciavarra. This is where eye creams come in: look to those that go beyond hydration, and treat key concerns, from fine lines to wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. Ciavarra suggests selecting products that contain anti-ageing ingredients such as zinc or copper designed specifically to manage the fragile skin around the eyes, and incorporating a tightening agent such as caffeine, because of its ability to reduce puffiness. The benefits of using targeted products are twofold – the smoother and firmer the skin tissue, the better the light bounces off this area, making creases and dark circles less noticeable, too.
For protection: philosophy oxygenating eye gel cream
The lightweight gel texture calms the skin while an antioxidant complex shields the under-eye area from environmental pollution and skin stressors, such as lack of sleep and stress.
For puffiness: Obagi Elastiderm Eye Serum
The rollerball applicator feels soothing and cooling on tired eyes. It contains cooper-zinc malonate to boost skin elasticity and collagen production, plus caffeine to minimise puffiness and under-eye bags.
For wrinkles: Medik8 Retinol Eye TR
Featuring anti-ageing hero retinol, this super-light eye serum helps to increase the skin’s levels of hyaluronic acid to boost moisture, minimising the appearance of fine lines and crow’s-feet.
The zone: Neck and chest
It’s easy to pick a person’s age by looking at this area, says Natalie Abouchar, cosmetic nurse specialist and founder of Privée Clinic in Sydney’s Bondi Junction. “The majority of people spend time applying sunscreen and caring for the skin on their face, but neglect the neck and décolletage.” And, just like the eye area, this skin is extra delicate and prone to early signs of ageing, such as fine lines and pigmentation.
“Generally you can use your regular facial products in this area, but when it comes to exfoliation, less is more, says Ciavarra. Typically more sensitive than your face, it’s easily irritated, therefore abrasive scrubs should be avoided. For this reason, it’s also important to be wary of laser treatments and chemical peels. “The skin is thinner and the healing capacity is reduced, so you need to treat it lightly to avoid complications,” says Abouchar. Enlist antioxidants such as vitamins C and E that work to ward off free radical damage, and retinol, a vitamin A derivative, to build collagen and smooth fine lines. Increased susceptibility to pigmentation and dark spots means that a broad spectrum SPF is even more crucial.
For tightening: Skin Physics Advance Superlift Neck Lifting & Firming Cream
For sun damage: Ella Baché Eternal Décolleté
A silky serum that uses myrtle extract for its rejuvenating properties and prickly pear to encourage cell turnover.
For complete repair: Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Fortifying Neck Emulsion
A potent combination of antioxidant ferulic acid, lactic acid and retinol smooths fine lines and improves skin texture.
The zone: Forehead
Have you noticed vertical lines between your eyes or horizontal creases that have taken up permanent residence on your forehead? They’re caused, in part, by repetitive muscle movement in this area – but could also be due to the fact that your forehead bears the brunt of the sun’s harmful UV rays. The result? This area is often the first place to show the telltale signs of photo-ageing, which can include fine lines, sun spots and freckles, says Ciavarra.
“Hydration is important because fine lines and wrinkles will appear more prominent on dry skin,” says consulting dermatologist Dr Nina Wines. Consider a serum containing hyaluronic acid: “As we age, our skin loses water content, resulting in more visible fine lines. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most effective moisturising ingredients, because of its ability to retain and absorb 1000 times its weight in water.” Also, look into collagen-boosting ingredients such as vitamin C, best applied in the morning under moisturiser to add antioxidant protection, in addition to retinol in the evening, says Abouchar. It’s important to note that you need to incorporate retinol into your routine gradually to minimise skin irritation.
For refining: StriVectin Night Retinol Treatment
Worn over serum, this moisturiser adds wrinkle-fighting retinol combined with copper tripeptides to clarify skin tone and boost radiance.
For plumpness: Neutrogena Hydroboost Serum
With a silky texture, this serum uses hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, plus olive leaf extract to prevent future moisture loss. Fine lines appear less visible and the skin more vibrant.
For even tone: Clarins Double Serum
The dual-chamber offers two formulas in one, with both oil and water-based ingredients for optimum hydration. It’s also enriched with 20 pure plant extract to even out, smooth and refine texture.
The zone: Lips
The concerns? “Lines both on and surrounding the lips, loss of volume from the vermillion [the red part of your pout] as it reduces in size over time, and drooping at the corners,” says Abouchar. While lines are often attributed to smoking, the daily pressures our underlying muscles put on the skin around the lips are also contributing factors, adds Ciavarra.
“Hydrated lips will always appear more youthful,” says Abouchar, so ensure you apply a nutrient-rich balm and apply your skin care around this area, too, including SPF. “Just be careful not to be overzealous with application,” says Ciavarra. “You may experience breakouts on the skin tissue surrounding the lips and blackheads around the lip border from any rich emollients in products.”
For definition: Doctor Babor Anti-Wrinkle Booster For Lips
Applied around and on the lips, this cream, rich in hyaluronic acid, protects while adding definition to natural contours.
For shaping: Estée Lauder Plump + Fill Expert Lip Treatment
This two-step treatment can be applied to the lips and their borders, and uses light-diffusing optics to add definition and shape.
The zone: Cheeks
“This area reveals noticeable signs of volume loss and reduction in elasticity or ‘bounce back’,” says Ciavarra. “With less fatty tissue acting as support, skin tissue below the cheeks becomes saggy. Also, a reduction of natural hydrators and collagen can cause the skin to lose its plumpness.”
Search for products that target collagen production and address dehydration. Your application technique is important, too. “Apply products sparingly and place them on the skin lightly, without vigorous rubbing. Smooth them in an upward direction so as not to pull the skin downwards. It’s best not to encourage gravity,” says Ciavarra.
For lifting: Shiseido Vital Perfection Wrinkelift Mask
Harnessing the anti-ageing benefits of pure retinol, these masks fit over facial areas to tone and sculpt.
For firming: Glamglow Gravity Mud Firming Treatment
This peel-off facial mask uses marshmallow and licorice leaf to provide an instant tightening effect.
Hayley has contributed to a range of online and print titles including InStyle and Gritty Pretty