Ruth Griffin: Over 55 and fabulous
Super skincare for the older woman, plus top treatments to tackle age spots
For the first time ever, women in their 50s and upward are now the biggest spenders in the beauty industry.
Yet, flick through any magazine or social media channel and you'd think no one over 55 buys moisturiser. You're more likely to see a fresh-faced 25-year-old advertising the benefits of skincare targeted to women many decades older.
This is all about to change: a 'Greynaissance' is under way! Baby Boomers have much more active social and work lives than previous generations and are keen to ensure they look and feel great. Savvy shoppers, they're far too clued in to be fooled by ad campaigns featuring models their granddaughters' age.
Thus the era of the older beauty ambassador arrives: Helen Mirren, 71, and Jane Fonda, 79, for L'Oréal; Iris Apfel, 95, for MAC; Charlotte Rampling, 71, and Tilda Swinton, 56, for NARS; Lauren Hutton, 73, for Calvin Klein Lingerie; Christie Brinkley, 63, on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition. So, Baby Boomer beauty buffs, read on for some skin saviours curated especially for you.
Treat VS Cheat
Bobbi Brown Remedies Skin Reviver Power Greens Ferment
A shot of deep hydration: just apply under your normal moisturiser, from department stores nationwide
Pure Super Active Overnight Oil
A gorgeous budget alternative, from Marks & Spencer nationwide
6 OF THE BEST FIXERS FOR MATURE SKIN
• The night cream
For facial lines, look for a retinoid (vitamin A), which works to resurface the skin, such as RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream (€29, pharmacies nationwide). Best used at night, retinoids increase cellular activity in the dermis or lower levels of the skin, thereby helping with loss of elasticity.
• The day cream
Older skin experiences a decrease in natural lipids, which contributes to inflammation, dehydration and a wholly compromised moisture barrier. To help repair this, look for a cream that is rich in the skin's own lipids, such as SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (€136, available from salons nationwide and skinceuticals.co.uk).
• The lash and brow serum
Our brows and lashes will thin as we get older, but it's not necessarily irreversible. Helen Mirren is a fan of using lash serums to add definition back to her eyes. Try RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum (€54.99, Boots).
• The eye cream
Look no further than La Mer The Lifting Eye Serum (€215, from department stores nationwide), a gorgeously smoothing and plumping option. Use the applicator to help decrease puffiness - it feels amazing on the skin. Also worth a special mention is Origins A Perfect World For Eyes Treatment (€38, from pharmacies and department stores nationwide).
• The serum
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules (€80, from department stores and pharmacies nationwide) contain a triple-powered ceramide complex, with smoothing omega-rich tsubaki oil and retinyl palmitate for skin renewal. They're fiddly to use, as you have to open each capsule before applying, but well worth it.
• The exfoliator
Starskin 7-in-1 Miracle Skin Mask Pads (€36, Brown Thomas nationwide) are fantastic exfoliators, but they have the added benefit of moisturising the face. So they're perfect for more mature women who want to get rid of dead cells but not strip their skin.
TOP 5 SKINCARE CONCERNS FOR WOMEN OVER 55 - and the weapons to combat them
1 Concern Wrinkles
Answer Barrier-boosting ingredients
Oestrogen is the hormone that supports healthy skin-cell function and can even help slow skin ageing, so when oestrogen levels plummet during menopause, the skin can't protect itself. Older skin suffers a loss of natural lipids (ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol) contributing to inflammation, dehydration and a compromised moisture barrier. To help repair a depleted barrier - and ready the complexion for anti-agers - look for a cream rich in skin's own lipids (see best day cream, right).
2 Concern Sagging
Answer Retinol and peptides
Opt for ingredients that rev up collagen production (retinoids, peptides, stem cells, growth factors) and plump the skin (hyaluronic acid is the hero ingredient - and lots of it).
3 Concern Uneven skin tone/age spots
Answer Acid/enzyme exfoliation
Get in the habit of gentle bi-weekly exfoliation to keep dead skin cells from stacking up and decrease the appearance of age spots.
4 Concern Crepiness on the neck
Answer Treating your neck as well as you treat your face
As skin ages, calcium levels lower, reducing cellular activity and the production of key structural components such as skin ceramides. Skin becomes drier, thinner and weaker, with increasing micro-texture or skin 'crepiness' developing. Calcium amino acids work to partly restore calcium levels, helping mature skin cells behave like younger skin cells again, thereby retaining a more youthful structure. Progeline is a great ingredient to look for if you're trying to combat neck sagging.
5 Concern Lack of luminosity or 'glow'
Answer Switch to oil-based skincare
From cleansers to serums, oils are wonderful for women aged 55-plus because they're really not trying to remove anything besides make-up - at this age, we want to keep as much moisture and oil in the skin as possible. In addition to delivering a moisture boost, oils don't sting dry or delicate skin and they 'lock' in moisture levels.
TOP 5 WAYS TO BANISH AGE SPOTS
1 Use SPF - but not just on your face. Use it daily on the backs of your hands too.
2 Buy an age spot-diminishing cream (see list below). These can take up to 12 weeks to work. Hyperpigmentation responds well to the chemical hydroquinone (it can be bought over the counter at 2pc strength and at a prescription level of 4pc-plus).
3 Investigate treatments such as IPL, lasers, chemical peels and Fraxel, which will get rid of dark spots - but they can cost up to €100 per session.
4 Apply natural DIY remedies like apple cider vinegar, vinegar and aloe vera. Rubbed directly onto the skin, these are excellent for getting rid of dark age spots, as they're full of natural AHAs - acids that nibble away at dead and damaged skin.
5 Try an acid-based enzyme peel (with AHAs and BHAs). Applied to dark spots, these can work well in diminishing their appearance.
Note: Be sure to have annual skin checks to ensure that all spots are benign and always wear an SPF.
Age spot-busting creams
Try these top-selling age spot banishers…
• La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum, €36, pharmacies nationwide
• Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright, €28, Boots nationwide
• No7 Lift and Luminate Dark Spot Corrector, €27, Boots nationwide
• Estée Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum, €67, Boots
• Hydroquinone (2pc), from €15, pharmacies nationwide
• Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, €49, pharmacies nationwide