Most of us would love to be able to banish wrinkles and avoid going grey, but it's not easy to know what works and what doesn't. At the same time, there are lots of old wives' tales and misconceptions about beauty regimes and products. Here are six common anti-ageing myths you need to know...
See also: Eight steps to younger-looking skin
See also: Five acne-fighting foods for clearer skin
1. Pricey products work best
Expensive anti-ageing creams are better than cheaper products, right? Well no, actually.
It's the active ingredients in a product that matters – not the expensive brand, scent, and packaging – and some cheaper creams can be just as effective as ones that cost £100-plus.
Most active ingredients found in anti-ageing creams are similar - such as niacinamide, lactic and glycolic acid, soy, retinol and retinaldehyde – and you can find these in cheaper brands, as well as pricey ones.
2. Facial scrubs reveal a brighter complexion
Scrubbing your face with an exfoliating wash will slough off the top layer of skin – but that isn't necessarily a good thing. When you scrub your face, you remove some of the protective oils and barriers, which can lead to dryness and rashes. Instead of revealing fresher and younger looking skin, exfoliants break the fragile skin cells, which can make a dull and sallow complexion worse.
Those with more mature skin should opt for a gentle, creamy cleanser that contains essential oils to plump the complexion – such as those by Pai Skin Care or Liz Earle, followed by a nourishing moisturiser with sunscreen.
3. There's not much you can do about age spots
Skin pigmentation, which shows up as uneven brown patches and dark spots, is a tell-tale sign of ageing – but it's one you can do something about. To lighten dark spots, look for products that contain hydroquinone. For brighter skin, opt for creams which list niacinamide and vitamin C in their ingredients. Because age spots are caused by sun exposure, it's important to apply a broad spectrum sun protection every day. If you don't, then dark spots and uneven skin tone is likely to return.
4. If you pluck out a grey hair, more grey will grow back
It's an old wives' tale that plucking out a random grey hair will cause seven more to turn grey.
The age at which we will go grey largely depends on genetics. So if your mum turned grey at 50, there's a good chance you will too. However, lifestyle factors also play a part. Severe stress and anxiety has been known to cause early greying of hair, as have certain nutrient deficiencies. Lack of some of the B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine in the daily diet is believed to be a contributory factor in some people.
5. You don't need sunscreen on a cloudy day
Exposure to the sun is the number one cause of skin ageing. If you want to maintain a youthful complexion, it's important to wear a broad spectrum sun protection every day – even in winter and on cloudy days. Research shows that up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds, while snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, increasing exposure.
6. Ageing is all down to genes - your diet won't change a thing
Genetics plays a role in the ageing process, but lifestyle and environmental factors are important too. If your mum has great skin, but you regularly drink and smoke and don't wear sunscreen, you're likely to age must faster than she did.
Stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise can also cause premature ageing. In addition to wearing sun screen and not smoking, watching what you eat can make a big difference to your skin. Eating a high-sugar die causes an inflammatory response in the body, accelerating the ageing process and causing skin to lose elasticity. Cut out sugary food like sweets and biscuits and processed white carbs which quickly turn to sugar in the bloodstream – and stock up on anti-ageing blueberries, salmon, avocado and leafy green vegetables.