Beat the Face App effect

Over the past week, Face App has taken social media by storm, with hundreds of thousands of users going online to share aged photos of themselves, created by the app based on a picture submitted by the user. The app doesn’t give a time frame, but it creates a scarily realistic image that, if taken at face value, shows how the user will look when they reach the age of, say, 60. I did mine based on the picture I use for all of my social media profiles, and inserted them both side-by-side below. Scary, right?

The app quickly made its way onto TV, generating discussion on numerous talk shows about the potential negative effects that doctored images like these could have. And to an extent, I agree. Remember Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” campaign? While that initiative almost shamed people into stepping up their fitness regime, the Face App filter shows a potential reality which could shock or scare people into altering their lifestyle.


When I first saw my aged photo, I’ll admit I was shaken – not only because it made me confront the ‘realities’ of ageing, but because I’m very conscious of looking after myself and my skin, and never imagined I’d end up looking that way. But I put reality in inverted commas for a reason, because the app doesn’t take things like lifestyle factors and skincare regimes into consideration, and so can’t give an accurate prediction of how ageing will affect a person. After all, that’s all it is – a prediction.

I have to say, I’m in no way condemning Face App or suggesting its intent is to pressurise people into looking a certain way – there’s also a ‘young’ filter, and the app allows you to try out various hair styles and colours, as well as facial hair and make-up. It’s definitely grounded in fun. Nevertheless, anti-ageing is very much a thing, and in this post I wanted to talk about the some of the best anti-ageing products and techniques on the market, to help defy what I’m calling the Face App Effect and age gracefully.

Look at your key ingredients

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve had soooo many people messaging me about problems they’re having with their skin. *Disclaimer* Although I’m in no way a trained dermatologist, the first question I ask is what ingredients they’re using in their current regime. And more often than not, people know the products they use, but not what’s in them – which, for me, kind of misses the point.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the skincare ingredients I use the most, and the majority of those, I would say, are key to a consistent skincare regime to keep skin looking fresh, bright and healthy. Looking back at that post, there are three categories of ingredient that can be integrated easily into your current regime that, in the long term, will help with anti-ageing:

  • AHAs and BHAs: Scrubs are out and chemical exfoliants are in. I do a mask of each once each week, usually a couple of days apart, to help resurface skin and unclog pores at a deeper level.
  • Retinol (Vitamin A): Retinol is in trend at the moment, and it looks set to stay. It’s one of the only ‘anti-ageing’ products on the market that actually works, and has been an LA staple for years. Use 3 times each week, overnight, and always wear SPF the next day (more below).
  • Vitamin C: Anti-pollution is an up and coming skincare trend that is being treated as equally important as sun protection. Whether you live in the city, in an industrial area or even by a highway, find a moisturiser infused with antioxidants (i.e. Vitamin C) to protect skin.

Always SPF

It’s something I’ve written about a couple of times before, but SPF really is the key to anti-ageing. In fact, in the US only SPF and Retinol can be advertised as anti-ageing, because they’re the only products proven to work over time. Wearing a broad spectrum SPF with UVA and UVB coverage will help protect skin from pigmentation, as well as fine lines and wrinkles caused by exposure to the sun.

When you buy an SPF, make sure you check what the formula covers. While all should be UVA and UVB, protection from Infrared (IR) rays is also a big bonus, as researchers are finding up to 90% of rays from the sun are IR – doesn’t come under traditional SPF protection – and can cause damage equal to or worse than UVA and UVB. It’s also important to check when you should apply protection; if you use a mineral sunscreen, you can apply immediately before heading out, while classic sun creams usually suggest applying 15 – 30 minutes before going in the sun.

My favourite sunscreen products. For more details, read the full post here.

Check out both parts of my SPF series here, for more info on UVA and UVB, what to look out for and how often to apply and the sunscreens I use the most.

Cleansing is everything

I’m so happy that the wet wipe controversy is being covered so well in the media. While the effect they’ve had on the environment is appalling, the number of wet wipes misused for cleansing purposes is unforgivable, and can be so easily avoided. Take note: wet wipes don’t clean your face. Yes, they remove the surface dirt, but they don’t go deep enough to clean skin in a way that’s actually beneficial.

Imagine spilling sauce on a white T-shirt – you can wipe off the excess easily, but there’ll still be a stain that needs to be washed out properly. Make-up wipes will wash away make-up, but anything below will be left in its place, clogging pores and affecting skin negatively. Hence, using a proper cleanser and a muslin cloth every morning and evening is essential to keep skin clean, and help prevent premature ageing (and no, micellar water doesn’t count).

When it comes to the type of cleanser you should use, lifestyle is a key factor. If you wear make-up, oil or balm cleansers will help break through the product and should wash away fairly easily. Oil cleansers are also deeply nourishing – and yes, you can use them on oily skin. In fact, most oily skin is dry, and crying out for hydration and nourishment because people are afraid to use product. Otherwise, gel cleansers are also great for a deep cleanse, while cream cleansers work well for more sensitive skin. And I always avoid foaming cleansers – generally speaking, they’re too dehydrating.

Lifestyle matters too

Knowing what you put on your skin is important, but the things you put inside your body will also have a significant effect on how you age overall. Even with the most comprehensive skincare regime, if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day and drink hard liquor all night, it’s going to cause you to age at a more rapid rate. So, the secret to anti-ageing really is to learn the benefits of moderation, and adopt a lifestyle that’s balanced and consistent.

I know so many people who get monthly facials and diet for weeks at a time in a bid to stay young and fit, but spend the time in between indulging too much and not taking proper care of themselves and their skin. But the phrase “Everything in moderation – including moderation” is key. Build a lifestyle that works for you, with all the healthy additions and skincare essentials, but don’t be afraid to veer away and indulge in a little of what you want now and again.

We could drive ourselves crazy worrying about getting old and, although Face App made me think twice, what it did remind me is, more than anything, happiness is the most important thing. And as long as you’re living well, doing things that are good for you and enjoying life, you’ll find ageing far less scarier than a filtered picture makes it seem.


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