Unless you’re genetically blessed with eternally youthful skin, chances are that by your late 20s the first signs of ageing will start to show.

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Unless you’re genetically blessed with eternally youthful skin, chances are that by your late 20s the first signs of ageing will start to show.
The skincare industry does little to quell the paranoia, offering a range of miracle cures to reverse the signs of premature ageing. Buzzwords such as crows’ feet, wrinkles and sun damage can sound alarm bells in even the most confident of women, but it’s important to be realistic about your ever-changing skin.
Embrace the memories that shaped those fine lines and wrinkles, but at the same time give your skin the attention it deserves. Here’s how can you strike a happy balance.

Diet
Omega-3s

Dieters who are obsessive about fat content may find that their skin is more prone to the visible signs of ageing. However, there are certain fats you should include to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.   
In recent years, omega-3 rich foods, such as salmon, sardines and linseed, have been hailed as skin superfoods for their ability to reduce inflammation and replenish dry and flaky skin. We require a certain amount of unsaturated fat in our diets, and cutting out the good stuff (extra virgin olive oil, avocado and canola oil to name a few) will only result in thirsty, dehydrated skin.
“Omega-3 fats are an essential fatty acid, which means our bodies don’t produce them. We have to get them from dietary sources,” says DD dietitian Clare Evangilista. “We all know the benefits of olive oil, but canola oil contains more omega-3 fats. Choose a canola-based spread for toast and sandwiches and use canola oil in cooking and salad dressings.”

Zinc
But it’s not just about the fatty acids. According to Evangelista, zinc can promote happy and healthy skin.
“Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, baked beans and kidney beans are high in zinc, which is an important mineral for cell regeneration, so it helps skin to heal,” she says.
“A diet rich in zinc can help your skin better recover from wounds or acne. Zinc deficiency can lead to poor skin healing and can also contribute to gum disease and mouth ulcers.”
You can boost your zinc consumption by including a small can of four-bean-mix in your salad at lunchtime, or adding canned lentils to pasta, soup and toasted sandwiches.

Folate
Foods rich in folate, such as cereal and avocado, can help ward off wrinkles by rejuvenating the skin’s cells. Avocado contains folate, vitamin E and essential oils that can help keep your skin plump and smooth. Mash one quarter of a ripe avocado on rye toast and season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Leek, spinach and green beans are also rich in folate.


Low GI foods

Low GI foods such as oats are another simple staple that may help too.
“Oat-based foods generally have low GI,” says Evangelista. “Research shows that choosing low GI carbohydrates can reduce insulin levels. Most people are aware that insulin is a hormone that helps to control blood glucose levels, but it is also an inflammatory hormone and can contribute to acne.”
If you’re not willing to trade your regular breakfast for a bowl of oats, add oats to low-sugar muffins or low-fat natural yoghurt for a nutritious snack.


Berries
Berries are another easily-accessible skin superfood and are a great source of vitamin C, which helps cells to make collagen, an important protein in skin.
“Berries are also a great source of other antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals in your diet and environment that can cause cell damage and premature ageing,” says Evangelista.
Berries can be easily incorporated in your diet – add them to your cereal, have them as a snack on their own or blend them with low-fat milk, honey and yoghurt for a delicious smoothie.Skincare
When it comes to treating wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation and crows feet, there is an abundance of skincare products available, but there is limited research to suggest that many of these are actually effective in the long term. The following active ingredients may be useful in minimising the damage, but it’s essential to be realistic about the results you are after.

Retinoids
According to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute, this derivative of vitamin A can reduce skin thinning (caused by too much sun), pigmentation and sun damage by boosting the natural turnover rate of the skin.
Studies have shown a noticeable improvement in sun-damaged skin when retinoids have been used on a regular basis. Topical retinoid creams are prescription-only, and as they may enhance sensitivity to the sun in the first few weeks, it’s important to wear a sunscreen too.

Vitamin C
The new kid on the block in anti-ageing skincare, vitamin C is renowned for its antioxidant properties and ability to protect skin from environmental damage. 
Although the results can be impressive, vitamin C is only effective in its stable form. Look for products that contain L-ascorbic acid and don’t be fooled by cheap formulas that contain barely traceable amounts of the vitamin.

Alpha hydroxy acid

This common ingredient in exfoliants and peels unclogs the skin to make way for the regrowth of soft, new skin. While it may not banish wrinkles straight away, it will create a fresher face base for you to treat skin.


Vitamin A
A common ingredient in over-the-counter creams, vitamin A has a mild inflammatory effect that makes skin appear supple. The results, however, won’t last forever. Use on a regular basis may give the same results, but it’s only really effective at the surface.

Sun smarts
The harsh Australian sun can wreak havoc on skin. While it’s too late to take back years of lazing on the beach, you can take preventative measures against future damage.
With such an array of sun creams, gels, sprays and after-care available, it’s important to choose one that offers maximum protection against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are longer and less powerful than UVB, but attack collagen and elastin, which can result in wrinkles, fine lines and broken blood vessels.
UV damage can account for up to 80 per cent of lines on an older face, so it’s important to apply suncream regardless of the weather conditions. As exposure to UV increases with altitude, if you’re hitting the slopes this winter be sure to pack some suncream.