Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Give yourself a facelift - from the fridge! From mayonnaise to tighten skin to pepper that plumps your lips, a world-leading cosmetic surgeon reveals all.

Dr Anthony Youn says he can stop you looking like you're ageing. He's spent 16 years researching solutions to ageing gracefully. Some of his solutions can be easily found in your very own kitchen

Ageing is natural but many of us wish it didn't have to happen quite so soon. As one of the world's leading cosmetic surgeons, I'm often asked if I can stop ageing and the answer is I can't - but I can stop you looking as if you're ageing.

Ageing happens more rapidly and dramatically in some people than in others but there are remedies that don't involve surgery. You may be surprised to hear this from me, but most of them shouldn't involve surgery. You can look younger, with smoother and brighter skin, and you can feel better without going under the knife.

I've spent 16 years researching the secrets of other plastic surgeons, dermatologists, make-up artists and dietitians, so I can offer my patients anti-ageing solutions that really work.

I'm convinced that ageing gracefully is about eating healthily, living the right lifestyle (avoiding the sun, cigarettes and alcohol, and managing your stress to relax worry lines) and taking great care of your skin.

The science of home-made beauty remedies has come a long way since teen magazines urged you to spread mashed banana over your face (although it has to be said, bananas are a great source of antioxidants).

I've discovered mature skin really can benefit from the natural healing power of fruit and vegetables - and a few other kitchen ingredients.

The ageing process typically starts manifesting itself in the form of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. One simple, effective remedy is exfoliation. As your skin cells move towards the surface and die, they should fall off but if they are allowed to build up, fine lines can become more noticeable.

Exfoliation can make skin look smoother and reduce the appearance of fine lines as you reveal the younger cells beneath.

A doctor may be able to prescribe skin treatments that contain powerful anti-ageing ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids, both of which can have a dramatic rejuvenating effect on ageing skin.

AHAs are fruit acids (including citric acid from citrus fruits), glycolic acids (from sugar cane) and lactic acids (from milk products) found in common foods. Retinoids and retinols are concentrated forms of natural antioxidants (vitamins), which work by neutralising the free radicals (damaged oxygen molecules) that cause visible ageing by breaking down collagen to leave skin looser and more wrinkled.

However, there are AHAs and antioxidants in many common and inexpensive foods, so there's nothing to stop you opening the fridge and experimenting.

I have researched and tested dozens of home-made products. Here's my selection of the best.


Citrus lift

Whisk three tablespoons of orange juice and two tablespoons of lemon juice with 200 ml of plain, unsweetened yoghurt and apply to your face.

Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, or until dry. Rinse off with warm water. Fruit acids from the orange juice and lemon juice and lactic acid from the yoghurt help to exfoliate the skin, removing the upper layer of dead skin.

Apple 'chemical peel'
Harness the skin-tightening effect of egg white and the gentle exfoliating effect of apple juice with this quick mask.

Combine three tablespoons of apple juice, two tablespoons of milk and one egg white and smoothe over your face. Leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

The malic acid in the apple juice and lactic acid in the milk act as exfoliants, while the albumin in the egg white has a shrink-wrap effect, tightening the skin, shrinking open pores and leaving your complexion smoother.

Bicarb exfoliator

Mix one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with half a teaspoon of honey and 125 ml/ 4 fl oz of milk and gently warm the mixture in the microwave.

Wet your face with warm water, dip a cloth in the milk solution and apply to the skin. Bicarb is a natural exfoliator and can have a subtle lightening effect, and your skin will feel fresh and clean.

Crow's feet banisher

Boil one sweet potato for 30 minutes (or microwave for ten minutes), cool, remove the skin and mash with four or five tablespoons of full-fat plain yoghurt. Apply to the wrinkles on the corners of eyes, leave for 15 minutes, wash off with warm water.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is similar to the main ingredient in the classic skin remedies RetinA and retinol. The lactic acid in the yoghurt acts as a gentle exfoliator. This remedy can reduce wrinkles both immediately and over time.

Pineapple perk-up

Puree 100 g pineapple (preferably fresh) with 50 ml water, then mix with three tablespoons of polenta grains to make an antioxidant-rich facial scrub. This can be used in the morning to help protect your skin all day.

The exfoliation will slough off dead surface skin cells, helping the vitamin C in the pineapple to penetrate and make your skin feel smooth and rejuvenated.

Coffee skin tightener

Mix three tablespoons of coffee grounds with two tablespoons of olive oil to create a thick paste.
Scrub gently into your skin for one or two minutes, allow to sit for five minutes, then wash off.

Caffeine tightens the skin while exfoliating, and olive oil is moisturising and full of antioxidants. Your skin will feel smooth and tightened for several hours.

Green tea eyelid lift

Steep one green teabag in a cup of hot water, then allow to cool in the refrigerator during the day. Cut a raw white potato into thin slices, drop the slices into the tea and return to the fridge to allow the tea to soak into the potato.

In the evening, place one potato slice on each eyelid and relax for ten minutes. The starch in the potatoes acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, soothing the irritation from a long day of pollutants, toxins and stress.

It is also a mild skin lightener, so it can help to reduce dark circles under the eyes caused by excess pigmentation.

Green tea contains caffeine, which acts as a vasoconstrictor, immediately reducing swelling and tightening the skin under the eyes to reduce puffiness. It is also full of antioxidants.

Keep the remaining potato slices soaking in the tea in the fridge for up to three days, and use morning and night as required.

Magic mayo eye cream

The albumin in egg white is a potent (if temporary) skin tightener and this, combined with the moisture-rich oil, makes mayonnaise an effective eye cream. For best effect use home-made mayonnaise or similar.

Dab a small amount on the crow's feet area with cotton wool, leave for 30 minutes, then wash with warm water and moisturise.

Pepper lip plumper

Lips naturally lose volume over time but plumping them up can be highly rejuvenating. Try this pepper lip plumper remedy.

In a small bowl, combine a teaspoon of Vaseline with a drop of peppermint extract and a pinch of cayenne pepper, then apply a very thin film over the lips.

The pepper will burn slightly, drawing blood to your lips, so increasing their volume.

Sea salt hand smoother

To protect your hands against the ravages of ageing you need to be diligent about applying hand cream.
Mix three heaped tablespoons of oats with 50 ml water in a blender, then add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and two tablespoons of sea salt and stir together. Rub the resulting mixture onto your hands for several minutes to exfoliate them.

Rinse with warm water before applying thick, rich hand cream and pulling on a pair of cotton gloves (£2.59 from Boots) so your hands stay soft all night.

Sticky tape facial

The most common cosmetic complaint that brings women to my office is those little vertical frown lines between your eyebrows (the '11' sign).

Some of those women ask about facial exercise regimens but I'm afraid I believe these can be counter-productive. Working hard to build strong facial muscles might help you hold a big smile for a photograph but they can't combat sagging.

Facial ageing isn't caused by poor muscle tone, rather it's a loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. In fact, repetitive facial muscle movements from exercise might even cause more wrinkles because the more you crease your skin, the more likely it is that a crease is going to settle in and make a permanent home on your face.

The most obvious 'cure' is Botox, but if fears of 'frozen forehead' or 'evil eyebrow' are steering you away (for now, or until a Botox cream becomes readily available), you might be able to train your muscles to stop contracting by sticking tape over your forehead during the evening and while you sleep.

The idea here is that the tightness of the tape acts as a reminder every time you unconsciously frown, and could even train your muscles at night to contract less during the day.

Any tape will do. You can also buy specially formulated 'frown patches' to wear at night called Frownies (frownies.co.uk).

And do whatever it takes to ensure that you sleep on your back rather than on your front or side. Sleeping on your face really can cause wrinkles - and it's only proper beauty sleep when gravity is working with you rather than against you.

If your face-sleeping habits are deeply ingrained, try putting a pillow under your knees. This takes pressure off your lower back and might just make you comfortable enough to lock you in position.

If you must sleep on your side, invest in a 100 per cent silk pillowcase (from £15), which won't crease your skin as much as cotton and will cause the least possible long-term damage.

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