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Body beautiful

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It's all very well smearing anti-ageing creams on your face morning and night, but other body parts need extra TLC, too, if they're to stay looking younger for longer. When it comes to skincare, most of us tend to focus on our faces at the expense of the rest of our bodies, but necks, chests, hands and even elbows and knees are just as likely to show the ravages of time. In fact, given that we often neglect these areas, they can be more likely to show our real age – or even make us look older than our years – than crow's feet or saggy jowls.

Still, just as it's possible to turn back the clock when it comes to your face, you can do the same for other areas, too. Here's how to keep yourself in prime condition from the chin down, and even reverse damage already done...

Put the brakes on: Caring for your neck couldn't be simpler -–all you need to do is take your facial skincare routine below your jaw-line. But don't stop at that – gently exfoliate this area whenever you slough your face, and when you apply a face pack, spread it that little bit further.

Turn back the clock: Just about any treatment that will reverse the signs of ageing on the face will work just as well on the neck. The N-Lite Rejuvenation Treatment (from about £250 per session) works especially well here, helping prevent and get rid of the rings that appear around the neck, as well as sagginess. But you'll probably need three to four sessions to make a real difference, so it's not cheap.

Put the brakes on: The skin in this area is especially thin and delicate, which means it's very vulnerable to sun damage. It's also exposed to the sun more often than most parts of the body – strappy tops, V-necks and open-neck shirts all allow direct hits from UV rays – so applying a sunblock to this area is absolutely vital if you're to prevent crêpey skin and age spots. 

Turn back the clock: Most facial skin rejuvenation treatments work well here, too. However, if you've got ‘tram lines' emanating from your cleavage, Chris Inglefield, consultant cosmetic surgeon at London Bridge Plastic Surgery, recommends mesotherapy, a procedure in which hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally in the skin, is injected into the area using very fine needles. One of the best forms of anti-ageing mesotherapy around is Teosyal Meso, where a very pure and long-lasting form of hyaluronic acid is injected. It costs from £195 and is exclusive to Collagenics Clinics.

Put the brakes on: Our poor hands really go through it – not only do they have UV rays to contend with day in, day out, they also spend a lot of time in hot water. As well as ensuring you wear a hand cream with an SPF of at least 15 every day, protect your hands by wearing appropriate gloves when cleaning or gardening, too. And, whenever you apply a face pack, spread the residue across the backs of your hands to give them an extra boost.

Turn back the clock: You can find yourself with more than age spots and lines to contend with on your hands – veins, tendons and ligaments can become visible as skin loses its natural plumpness. Mesotherapy is a good skin-plumping option for this area, but Chris Inglefield also recommends micro-fat grafting, where fat is harvested from another area and injected into the hands. ‘It softens the hollowed-out appearance caused by the natural loss of fat, restoring the cushioning beneath the skin,' he says. At least 80 per cent of the fat cells survive the transfer, so there's permanent improvement. Cost varies, but you can expect to pay around £2500.

Put the brakes on: Saggy elbows may not be your biggest beauty worry, but unless you spend your life in long sleeves, they really can let the side down. Daily moisturising with a firming cream will help to keep skin tauter. Try rubbing half a lemon on your elbows to counter any discoloration on the skin, which can be ageing if left unchecked.

Turn back the clock: This is one area where prevention really is better than cure. While consultant cosmetic surgeon Laurence Kirwan says your best chances for reversing damage here are the latest restructuring lasers, such as Thermage and Polaris, or injectable tissue fillers, such as Sculptra and Restylane Vitale, he adds that their effectiveness in this area is limited. ‘They probably make little difference,' he admits, ‘so keep your elbows out of the sun as much as possible to prevent ageing UV damage.'

Put the brakes on: If you want to avoid wrinkly knees, you've got to – as it were – put in the legwork, especially at times when your weight is yo-yoing. So even if you miss out on moisturising the rest of your legs, take a few seconds daily to apply a nourishing product to this area, to combat roughness, wrinkles and sagging.

Turn back the clock: ‘You'll only see a significant improvement here with radio frequency treatments such as Thermage or Polaris,' says Chris Inglefield. ‘Both systems heat the collagen underneath the skin, producing a tightening effect. They also stimulate the skin's healing processes, gradually tightening the collagen and helping to smooth out wrinkles.'


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