Put your best face forward

Skin changes all the time especially with age and so should our skin care routine. It is the largest organ in the human body and has many functions - don't worry I won't list them. Many of us fall, skip, hop or climb out of bed and look in the mirror. s.

What are we expecting to be looking back at us? In our teens we hope the surface of the moon is not looking back at us. In our middle years we would like someone like Angelina Jolie looking back at us. As we get older we pray that a dried up old prune is not looking back at us. It is amazing as we get older we are so grateful for small mercie

So, let's start at the beginning.

There is nothing quite like a baby's skin - it's so soft, smells divine and yummy to kiss. Newborns' skin is ultra sensitive to a host of potential irritants. Baby only needs a bath every other day as they don't exactly move around too much. The immune system of newborn babies is still developing so it needs to be protected from irritants and allergens. Look for products that are labelled 'tear free', 'PH neutral, no dye, no fragrance.

Adopt a gentle cleansing routine with products suitable for baby and gently dry the skin by patting without rubbing. Avoid using facecloths, as they can hold on to bacteria.

Products I like are La Roche-posay, doctors recommend them as they are gentle and paraben- free. The lipikar wash is very good for dry, irritated skin that is subject to itchiness and calms the skin with thermal spring water. Another good product for baby is Sebamed baby bubble bath and shampoo.

During pregnancy some lucky ladies glow and look amazing, but for others it can lead to problems. The pregnancy mask being one, dark patches of pigmented skin can appear but usually disappear after baby is born. Wear sun block to prevent further pigmentation. Stretch marks are another worry so keep skin well moisturised - Clarins do a body oil for pregnancy.

Teenage skin - just like those years - are tricky. Acne is the number one problem as the oily complexion shines out of control. Keep the skin as clean as possible and keep hands away from the face as much as possible. Cleansing during the day to help remove excess oil is also a good idea. A good diet and plenty of water will also make a difference. Salcura is a safe , effective and natural solution for problem skin. The doctors on Channel 4's 'Embarrassing Bodies' series recommend Salcuras Antiac, which contains teatree and sea buckthorn, which cleans and sooths inflammation and targets bacteria.

In our 20s the skin is dewy and the way you care for it now will determine what your skin will look like for the rest of your life. No pressure! The skin is supple and has great collagen support, light reflects off the plump surface of the cheeks, giving a healthy glow. Use gentle products that focus on damage prevention. Use a moisturiser with both UVA and UVB protection. Dermalogica have a new skin tint with spf. Taylor Swift is a perfect example how beautiful skin is at 23.

Even if you have taken care of your skin you will notice fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth, by the time you hit the 30s. Collagen and cell turnover slows down, so use a good eye cream and moisturiser with antioxidants. A good example is the new eye serum from No.7 called Youthful Eye Serum - 71 per cent of women who tried this said their eye area looked younger. Exfoliation is also important for cell turnover and pigmentation. Dermalogica do a great daily micro exfoliant that is gentle enough to be used every day. A good moistuirser, which 31-year-old Kate Middleton likes is Lanctmes Hydra Zen Neurocam, which has a spf of 15.

In our 40s we start to see the cumulative effect of sun damage. Payback for happy days in Banna and Fenit means our skin retains less moisture, and it loses more collagen and elastin.

A serum is a must. Clarins have Double Serum, Lanctme have Visionaire and Yves Saint Laurent have Forever Youth Liberator. Serums go deeper into the dermis and have more active ingredients. A new eye serum from Estee Lauder is advanced night repair and gives a dramatic reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles, dryness and uneven skin tone. Grainne Seoige is a fab forty.

In our 50s and beyond the most significant change in our complexion is dryness and elasticity. Expression lines no longer disappear after you stop smiling, but it's never to late to prevent sun damage and to stop the progression already done.

Menopause can cause a multitude of problems for the skin including dryness, acne and roseacea. Spider veins also rear their ugly heads. Laser treatment is a very effective method for dealing with veins but I strongly recommend a very good sunscreen after treatment is ended. Clarins do an excellent range for menopausal skin called restorative range. No 7 do an illuminating night cream to deal with pigmentation issues. The neck area is also an area for concern - Neostrata do a brilliant neck cream that can be brought down on to the chest area. Older women who look after their skin include, Miriam O'Callaghan (53), Jane Fonda (76) at the Oscars and Sally fields (67) at the premier of Lincoln stole the show away from women a quarter their age.

Whatever decade you are in, beauty is only skin deep but it's how comfortable you are in your own skin that counts.

• Next week: Two new beauty companies in Munster.


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