Positive ageing, not ‘anti’-ageing

If there’s one big thing that has changed in skincare in the past 10 years, it’s this: we’re no longer so ‘anti’ about ageing. 

I was thinking about this because, much to my surprise, a piece I wrote for the Telegraph eight years ago popped up as if new on their website – I wouldn’t have noticed if people hadn’t started flagging it up to me on Twitter 

I clicked the link and sure enough, there it was, datelined 3rd January 2017 (though if you search for it on Google, it gives its publication date as 1st Jan 2009)  and read through it anxiously, The skincare world changes fast, and surely, I thought, it would be massively out of date – but apart from a couple of small things, all the advice is still fairly sound. 

What DID sound out of date, though, was the title – 50 ways to look younger. Yes, that was how we approached beauty in the Noughties – remember all the 10 Years Younger programmes? Skincare and aesthetics was all about chasing youth and making the biggest possible visible difference in the shortest possible time. We all wanted to turn back the clock. 

That’s what has really changed in the past decade. Now, what we want is to look great, to look like our best selves, to achieve radiance, glow and freshness. These are the words that get bandied around now in terms of skincare goals. Wanting to look 10 years younger seems strangely passe, We’re not ‘anti’ ageing any more  – and why should we be? We are all getting older all the time, we should celebrate life as it is rather than being negative about how we look. 

It may all come to much the same effect in the end – using skincare, procedures and lifestyle improvements to look better – but the language around the whole business has certainly changed. Even the presentations of complex new skincare potions, where the company scientists used to belabour us beauty writers with technical details of how comprehensively their products could quell the signs of ageing, have softened their tone. Now, they talk more of the benefits, the enhancements that their products can deliver, rather than the negatives that they can stamp out – although of course, to anyone over 40, any product that claims to make a substantial reduction in wrinkles is still going to sound uncommonly interesting. 

So here’s to 2017 and an increasingly positive attitude to ageing.

And if you’re curious to see the story, it’s here. Let me know what you think about what’s dated and what’s not. One small correction – the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors changed its name a few years ago; it is now the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM). It’s still a great place to look for properly qualified and competent aesthetic practitioners.