YOUNG SKIN: how to keep it beautiful

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Young skin doesn't just look different to mature skin. It is different. At 15, for example, its surface layers (the stratum corneum) are smooth and regularly shed dead skin. Beneath this layer, melanocytes (pigment cells) are evenly distributed and act as natural sun protection factors, and blood vessels suffuse cells with oxygen and nutrients. Sebaceous glands keep the surface oiled, preventing water loss via evaporation; and glands release sweat with natural moisturising factors. Epidermal cells reproduce perfectly each time. Deep down, the dermis is plump and springy. Even deeper, subcutaneous fat cushions skin, giving its surface a youthful bloom and tone; and collagen and elastin fibres are neatly ordered, supplying stretchability.

The challenge is to keep these youthful mechanisms functioning like this for as long as possible. Of course, this is largely down to your genes. But your lifestyle also impacts, and that includes the way you look after your skin. The ideal is to keep it clean, well moisturised and protected, without over-stimulating or overloading it with too much product and activity.

So the watchwords for young skin care are gentleness, simplicity and routine with products that perform the basic functions - to cleanse, moisturise and protect.

When Elizabeth Hallett was formulating Elizabeth's Daughter, her range for young skin, she was determined to use only the simplest, most natural ingredients available. She had suffered with her skin when she was a teenager and didn't want her daughter to run into the same problems - her thinking was that harsh chemical ingredients could trigger skin problems like breakouts and/or aggravate existing spot-prone issues. Elizabeth's quest to make straightforward products that deliver the fundamentals - to clean, moisturise and protect skin - for young skin makes a great deal of sense because until we get to our mid-Twenties our skin doesn't need active anti-ageing treatment. Even then it doesn't need high performance topicals that aim to firm, enhance cell renewal and supplement collagen and elastin because it's still youthfully supple, elastic and springy.

The aim with young skin is to keep skincare simple, to cleanse and moisturise twice a day using products that suit your skin type and lifestyle.

So if your skin is obviously more oily than dry, and/or you prefer the ease and freshness of a wash-off cleanser (sometimes this is a nicer option when the weather is warm), a gel like Elizabeth's Daughter The Gel Cleanser or gentle pH-balanced soap like Baby Face Soap are your best choices. If you have drier skin (perhaps in winter when central heating dehydrates skin) try a cream cleanser (either wash or wipe off) like The Facial Cream Cleanser by Elizabeth's Daughter.

When you look for a moisturiser seek out one with a broadspectrum ultraviolet (UV) filter so you can nourish and defend your skin from age UV light all year round. UV light is one of the biggest contributors to premature ageing - if you expose your skin to it regularly without protection it's likely to age more quickly than it would if you didn't (irrespective of your genes); so in using a UV-protective moisturiser you are actively preventing ageing. Elizabeth has developed The Daily Moisturiser with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 in it for this reason. If you like to use a different moisturiser at night, simple formulas like Orba Vitamin E Moisturising Cream or Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm are ideal for young skin.