40 years old : the sun, my skin's enemy No 1

It's summer and the days are getting longer. On the menu : eating lunch on a terrace, lazing in the sun and enjoying the great outdoors. But bear in mind that the sun is not on your side, and, as you turn 40, protection is more important than ever.

Your skin at 40

Genetically, ageing skin is inevitable. Early signs appear around 25-30 years old, but the process rapidly speeds up from 40 onwards, largely due to hormonal changes that occur. Short nights leave us looking haggard, dark circles are harder to shift and waking up with a wide-eyed look seems to be a thing of the past. The skin loses its elasticity and firmness, wrinkles deepen and become more visible (especially around the eyes and lips), the nasolabial fold is marked, our cheeks sag and there are bags under our eyes. Sorry, we'll stop now. But this is when anti-ageing treatments really become a must.

The sun : skin's enemy No 1

Protecting our skin from the sun is one thing, how well we do it is another. At 40, what we mainly want is to retain a youthful, glowing complexion. However, daily and prolonged exposure to UV rays causes an explosion of free radicals that accelerate skin ageing. Reducing exposure to the sun is essential if we want to slow down the ageing process and avoid the appearance ofliver spots - our skin's way of telling us we've overdone it. We also need to prevent our wrinkles from becoming even deeper.  
As soon as the good weather arrives, swap your usual day cream for one that has anti-ageing, antioxidant-rich active ingredients, which will curtail any damage caused by UV rays and pollution. Follow this with a protective cream that contains an SPF of between 30 and 50 and make sure you apply it to your face, neck, hands and any other exposed areas. An alternative is to apply an anti-wrinkle cream that already contains an SPF. And don't forget your sunglasses, to avoid squinting. Finally, at night, slather on some after-sun to repair and deeply rehydrate your skin.