I will be 50 on my next birthday. Mostly, I regard it as a great milestone and I confess to a vainglorious twinge of pride that I approach it in rude good health and with husband who is still, well...., enthusiastic. If those two things will take me all the way to 60, I am going to have very little to complain about (although I will doubtless find things). However, there are a couple of things that are conspiring to create a less positive outlook on the next decade. The dampener isn't wrinkles - I think I'm getting them under control (see the skincare regime for 40-somethings). No, as I approach my fiftieth, there are two blots on the horizon: sagging and just about everything from the neck down.

I am finally beginning to appreciate my chubby cheeks (so what if I look like a demented hamster when I smile). Those cheek muscles have been doing a fairly good job of holding things up. Nevertheless, the cosmetic clock has started to chime and I have recently noticed the beginnings of puppet lines and - horror of horrors - downward trailing grooves at the corners of my mouth and flowing from the crease of my chin. This is recent, so I haven't cracked it yet. So until I find better - and trust me, the hunt is on - here's my anti-sagging arsenal.

Using my Baby Quasar to top up once-a-month salon treatments, definitely helps. There is a visible plumping of the skin and, if the LED literature is to be believed, this is not just superficial. LED is light emitting diode with a low-level power output that uses red light (visible) and infra-red light (invisible). LED is much gentler than intense pulse light (IPL) or laser resurfacing. It works by stimulating the body’s tissues to convert the light energy into cellular energy. It boosts collagen production and scavenger cells that remove excess pigmentation or scar tissue.

My other monthly treatment is a microcurrent facial. This gives facial muscles a little workout so that they help hold everything up. So far, these treatments are doing a good job, but if all else fails I would consider hyaluronic fillers. I've seen good results with Restylane on other people and there is some research that suggests that the presence of the filler actually increases collagen production. At this stage, this is the only invasive treatment that I would even contemplate. And still, I would prefer to find a topical solution.

The best of the anti-sagging potions and lotions that I have found so far is Nutra-lift Rejuvenating Therapy. I just got reacquainted with it the other day, when I was looking around for something to compare with Avon's Anew Clinical Derma Full X3. I've been trying Nutra-Lift on the downward lines on one side of my mouth and chin, and Avon on the other. Avon claims to be clinical grade hyaluronic in a bottle rather than a syringe. It seemed as if it might be having an effect, but it may also have caused an ugly breakout of hive-sized zits on my chin so I'm giving it a rest for a few days. Nutra-Lift, on the other hand, is benign and also seems to be making a difference. Plus it has an array of great anti-aging ingredients, including Matrixyl 3000 and the firming job is supposed to be handled by DMAE, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C ester and astaxanthin. It is so well-priced at around $45 that it puts many high end brands to shame.

As for the rest of the body, I've come to the conclusion that the exposed parts - hands, neck, decollete - need the same kind of TLC as my face. I am using my Baby Q on these areas and this has made a huge difference. I also use IMAGE Skincare's Ageless glycolic acid serum on my neck and chest and this is helping to clarify and smooth the skin. Neck and hand creams that I've found worthy of recommendation (although this isn't what they are necessarily marketed as) are Dr Perricone's Firming Neck Therapy (with astaxanthin, carnosine and taurine), April Rain (hyaluronate, pseudoalterononas ferment (a strain of bacteria from the Arctic Circle that helps with water retention) and a bunch of peptides) and Dermaxime's Rejuvenating Day Cream (with, amongst many other things, hexapeptide-10, a chain of six amino acids that stimulate cell activity by interacting with specific molecules).

Recently, I have started to include my hands when I apply a mask to my face. I smear some of the mask, such as Abrione's Hydrodynamic Facial Mask, on the backs of my hands. Same thing with Suki's exfoliating cleanser.

I am also researching body creams that have anti-aging potential. I have definitely reached the point when a body lotion is no longer enough. Some of the best that I have found so far are Pevonia's Anti-Aging Body LotionOsmotics Age Defense Barrier Repair Body Silk.

Of course, age spots are another bane of aging skin. I'll be coming back to treatments for them in a future post.

Ingredients in Nutra-Lift

Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Matrixyl 3000 at 5% (Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 PAL KTTKS), Vitamin C ester, sea kelp / algae, liposomes, astraxanthin, grape seed extract, cetyl esters, nikkomulese, co-Q10, pycogenol, natural mixed tocopherals (vitamin e), anti-oxidant complex 14, natural firming complex (dmae, alpha lipoic acid) fruit flower complex 12, herbal complex 30, plant derived polysorbate 20, hydroxyethyl-cellulose, hyaluronic acid, copper peptide, marine collagen, marine elastine, organic royal jelly, Mexican yam, green tea, milk thistle, retinyl palmitate, ( vitamin A) ppgsmdi co-polymer., l-tyrosine, zinc sulfate, squalene, colloidal minerals.

Ingredients in Perricone Neck Therapy

Aqua (Water), Taurine, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phosphatidylcholine, Palmitoyl Carnosine, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Pyridoxamine Dihydrochloride, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Resveratrol, Disodium EDTA, Pantethine, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Tocotrienols, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Astaxanthin, Parfum (Fragrance

See also:

A skin care regime for 20-somethings
A skin care regime for 30-somethings
A skin care regime for 40-somethings (part one: treatments)
A skin care regime for 40-somethings (part two: potions & lotions)