The Decade-By-Decade Guide To Anti-Ageing
Illustrations by Mr Iker Ayestaran
Ageing may be one of life’s inevitabilities, but gone are the days when men were expected to adopt a laissez-faire, hands-off approach and simply let nature run its course. Now, the overwhelming consensus is that if you’re planning to age exquisitely – like a full-bodied red or a Mr Paul Rudd – you’ll have to lay down an investment. Those who frequent The Journal will (we hope) be well aware of the long-term merits of daily sun protection, skin-sloughing acids and retinol. But for that glowing, smooth complexion that seems to defy one’s date of birth? Well, you’ll have to go beneath the surface.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting that you go under the knife (although if that’s your anti-ageing course of choice, more power to you). Rather, it’s all about lasers, injectable moisturisers and other such “tweakments” that can soften the first signs of ageing and be dialled up as the years go on. To run us through the gamut of options out there – and when exactly to deploy them – we sought the expertise of Knightsbridge-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr Wassim Taktouk, who’s renowned for leaving patients looking refreshed and rested (rather than terrifyingly taut and squeaky). Below, he shares his decade-by-decade guide to slowing down the hands of time – in the most subtle, scalpel-free way.
In your twenties
The pre-emptive decade
Anti-ageing in your twenties, you say? The suggestion alone is enough to elicit eyerolls. But while there’s far less to fret about in these nascent years, those who pre-empt the ageing process can expect a handsome payoff down the line. “If a guy in his twenties came in and asked, ‘What should I do?’ it would be all about skincare,” Taktouk says. “Number one is SPF. Start early. It’s been proven to block pigmentation and wrinkle formation. And there’s the really obvious stuff: not smoking, diet, exercise.”
If you’re a Type A twentysomething who’s already scrutinising a forehead crease, the advice is to hold off on the Botox. “It’s only when you develop a static line, which is on your face when it’s not moving, that the conversation should start,” Taktouk says. Instead, for more significant, speedy anti-ageing results than can be administered topically, try giving skin boosters a whirl.
“There’s one called Redensity 1, which is like a cocktail of vitamins, amino acids, skin brighteners and antioxidants and it’s just little droplet injections throughout the face,” Taktouk says. “That’s great for overall glow and plumpness and youthfulness, and you’re taking care of your skin in the process.”
In your thirties
The age of injectables
Let’s be clear: your thirties are still young – sprightly, even – and don’t let the TikTok kids or a Forbes list of overachievers convince you otherwise. That being said, it’s around this age that you might begin to notice the juicy collagen stores of your twenties depleting, and a decade or so in the workforce starting to show around your eyes. The common-sense skincare advice still holds true, but granted you’re open to the idea of injectables, then the ultimate fix for tiptoeing crow’s feet or forehead “elevenses” can typically be found at the end of a derm’s needle.
“Botox does sort of stand in its own camp,” says Taktouk. “And the beauty of Botox is that is that you can start later and still do a lot of reversing.” The frozen look is always a fear among newbies, but Taktouk eases this by taking a softly-softly approach. “I like to split up the appointments – do a little bit, bring the patient back in, do a bit more. The key is understanding how to preserve the movement.”
For those simply looking for a light sprinkling of hydration, he’s a fan of injectable moisturiser Profhilo, which targets skin laxity, smooths out fine lines and should last for several months. And if it’s a less prominent under-eye hollow or sharper jawline that you’re seeking, then Teoxane’s “tissue matching” dermal fillers are “in a league of their own”.
In your forties
The light years
Forty is where the real fun begins. We’re not referring to the pillowy bags and jiggly jowls that might be rolling up to party uninvited here, but rather the wondrously high-tech toys that can be deployed to nix them. It’s typically at this age group that Taktouk will start whipping out his lasers, such as the Vbeam Prima, which can zap away thread veins around the nostrils, or for those who struggle with pigmentation, the heavyweight skin-resurfacing Frax Pro. High-intensity ultrasound devices are also an option – Ultraformer 3 deploys heat to tighten the deeper layers of the skin – but if it’s more superficial tightening and a bit of bonus collagen stimulation you’re looking for, a radiofrequency treatment could be your best bet.
Guys in their forties who’ve so far steered clear of Botox might be tempted to dabble at this point – and will be pleased to learn they can expect noticeable (but not too noticeable) results. But for those who are still somewhat hesitant, Taktouk explains that the deft use of precisely placed filler in unexpected areas can offer a subtle but effective alternative. “Where women tend to have nice convex foreheads, men can have a concavity, almost. If you put some filler really deep down there, you can very cleverly stretch the skin up, lift the eyes and soften the appearance of lines.”
In your fifties (and beyond)
The new beginning
If you’re among the wise folk who devoted the first few decades of adulthood to religiously applying sunscreen, declining cigarettes at parties and dropping by the dermatologist’s office, then congratulations: it’s around now that you’ll really reap the rewards of your diligence. But for those who’ve disembarked in their fifties without so much as a bottle of retinol – or who are simply keen to shave off a good five years – fear not: the solutions here are plenty.
One go-to for quinquagenarians at Taktouk’s clinic is the Morpheus8 treatment, which fires off radiofrequency rays from a micro-needling device to iron out fine lines and wrinkles. However, the biggest concern he hears about from patients in this age group is what he’s lovingly nicknamed the “waddle”. If the marriage of chin, neck and jawline isn’t something that bothers you, then we applaud your confidence; if it does, then a Belkyra (or deoxycholic acid) injection can dissolve the fat that hours of face yoga won’t budge.
Alternatively, if you’re set on a drastic, time-machine transformation, primed to drop a decent down-payment and don’t suffer from any squeamishness, then the semi-invasive FaceTite (which suctions out fat and tightens the skin, all while you’re wide awake) might be just the magic you’re after.