I love clothes and make-up, because they make me look and feel good. I'd like them to do this for me for as long as I live.
But they won't if my jowls are hanging down to my ankles, and I certainly don't want cosmetic surgery.
But I won't need it. Over the years I've been watching other women very closely. Not only have I noticed what they've been doing right, but what they've been doing wrong, too.
Applying what I've learned from them is working well; for me and the numerous other women of varying ages I advise.
First, we have to understand what happens to our bodies when we age, and know when to expect it to happen. Only then can we deal with the inevitable before it occurs, and prevent unnecessary problems from the outset.
Let's take a down to earth look at the horror scenario of ageing, and see how we can make it less horrible. The cosmetic advice I offer here goes hand in hand with good diet and exercise.
The object is not to look forever young, but to look forever beautiful. We can all do it.
None of us believe our firm, elastic, well nourished skin might give way to wrinkles and sagginess, but it's exactly then that it starts to lose its moisture retaining collagen fibres at a rate of 1% each year. Adding to that, elastin also begins to diminish, which eventually causes our facial expressions to become permanent etches. To make matters worse, ultra-violet rays accelerate the process.
By the time the first fine lines appear, much has taken place beneath the skin's surface, and more is to come.
A good skin-care routine is paramount from the earliest possible age. Cleanse, tone and moisturize; that goes for every woman, as does sun-screen.
I'll be perfectly honest; you don't need expensive cosmetics. A simple, unadulterated cleanser, toner and moisturizer will do the job perfectly well, especially on young skin.
One further note (to which those of the cosmetic industry will disagree); any kind of facial scrub, peeling or micro-abrasion will cause couperose, or broken capilleries. Cleansing and mud masks etc. are more beneficial, and should be used no more than once a week.
Our skin is starting to slacken, and our facial expressions are quite noticably leaving their mark.
Always massage your face outwards and upwards, away from gravity, and away from (potential) creases.
Our skin tone is changing, too, since our bodies produce 20% less pigment. Tanning (which should be avoided anyway) is becoming more difficult, and we are less resistant to the sun's harmful rays.
The first hormonal changes have also begun, and hairs on our upper lip are more prominent. A bleaching product can make them invisible on light skins, darker skins will have to remove.
Our collagen fibres are 20% fewer. They are thicker and less elastic.
Cell production has slowed, making the skin prone to dryness. Hot showers and foam baths will lead to scurf, itchiness and even eczema.
Fatty tissue below our eyes, at our inner thighs and inner upper arms, and on our hands, is starting to deplete.
Less efficient circulation is causing us to appear pallid, especially if we smoke. The Darphin Predermine Mask offers a good solution, as do fango mud masks.
Of course, nothing is better than massage, fresh air and exercise.
Our skin is even drier. It's due to a hormonal re-organisation, and sebum production is at its lowest since before puberty. Our pores are large, but the quality of sebum is poor.
Because we perspire less, our protective barrier (of fat and water) is weaker, causing our skin to be more sensitive.
Light creams and lotions are of little use to us. We need emulsions and (possibly) night-creams in place of day creams.
Those of us who ignored warnings of the sun's harmful rays are now noticing liverspots.
A product I recommend women of all ages is Sallow Thorn Oil (also known as Sea-buckthorn Oil, or Sandthorn). It's a cosmetic all-rounder, widely used in Germany and Scandinavia.
You can dilute one part Sallow Thorn Oil with 10 parts jojoba or almond oil and massage into cleansed, moist skin.
Sunburn and contact allergies are becoming all the more seldom. But this isn't good news; the body's warning system is inefficient, and sun and harsh chemicals are still as dangerous as before.
Our skin's protective barrier has further ceased to work properly, leaving us prone to germs and infection. Cosmetic hygiene is of utmost importance. Always apply creams etc. with a spatula.
Because more cells are being shed than gained, our skin is thinner. Instead of six or seven layers, we now have only two or three.
Wounds take longer to heal due to poor circulation.
Owing to their natural fat content that supports our natural protective barrier, products for sensitive skin are to be highly recommended.
We are either reaping the benefits of how well we've looked after ourselves, or suffering the consequences if we haven't.
All of us have lost most of our collagen, but our skin should still 'fit' if we've maintained it properly.
Only callouses, blackheads and warts are unavoidable, but easily treated.
What we can all do, right now ...
I'm not going to wait until I'm forty-five, legs and arms covered in eczema, until I stop taking hot, foaming baths.
Nor am I going to wait until my thighs are full of cellulite before I start to massage them.
That's the secret to anti-aging; don't let it happen in the first place.
As I said before, use a skin-care system suitable to your skin type. If you need advice, go to a dermatologist, who will be able to advise you better than anyone else.
Always use luke warm water on your skin. Piping hot, or icy cold will cause broken capillaries, and hot will certainly cause permanent damage.
Never use soap products. Apparently, there are 'good' soaps, but I wouldn't take the risk. It invariably dries out the skin. Use soap-free wash emulsions etc.
Make a habit of showering rather than bathing.
An occasional, relaxing bath is fine, but never use foam baths. Flower petals are ideal if you want a touch of luxury, and a few drops of essential oil make for the perfect aroma therapy. I also use Sallow Thorn Oil in my bath water.
Massage your body from the neck down every day in the shower with a bath brush. It's great for the circulation, is better than a 'scrub', and prevents cellulite.
Massage your face at every opportunity (whilst applying cream etc.), remembering to work away from gravity and your (potential) creases.
Your skin is a vital organ (your largest). Treat it as such; gently, and with loving respect. You want it to serve you well for a long time to come.
For extra help with anti-aging and to see some of the most innovative non-invasive treatments available on the market today, visit this site.