The secret to staying young-looking can actually be found in your fruit bowl – if you are a woman. Forget expensive face creams or anti-ageing lotions.
Scientists have found women who eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables have fewer wrinkles when they pass the age of 50 than those who don’t eat as healthily.
But eating well apparently makes no difference to a man’s facial appearance, researchers at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam found.
Women who ate more bread, red meat and sweets had more wrinkles, and so did those who drank alcohol.
The findings suggest snacking on fruit could be a much cheaper alternative than pots of cream and bottles of lotion for women seeking younger-looking skin.
Scientists think a fruit-rich diet helps by ensuring the body has plenty of vitamins and flavonoids, which protect the skin against ageing and stimulate the growth of collagen
British shoppers, mainly women, spend an estimated £120m a year on anti-ageing face creams alone, and millions more are spent on tonics, moisturisers and serums.
Meanwhile, demand for the wrinkle-busting toxin Botox continues to rise, with a 50 per cent increase among young women having the jab in recent years.
How the research was carried out
Researchers at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam quizzed 2,700 men and women aged over 50 on their eating habits.
Each one then underwent a 3D face scan to measure the number of wrinkles.
The results showed women who had the highest intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish had the fewest lines on their faces.
But women who regularly ate large amounts of red meat, bread and sweets had the most.
Healthy-eaters who enjoyed a drink or two every day had more wrinkles – suggesting alcohol undoes some of the good that comes from eating nourishing foods.
And eating habits appeared to have no major bearing on the number of wrinkles on men’s faces.
Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR SKIN HEALTHY
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and should be taken care of.
Don’t get sunburn
UV rays from the sun are the main cause of skin ageing and also a risk factor for cancer.
People should cover up, wear suncream with at least SPF 15, and spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm on hot days.
Smoking is linked to early ageing of the skin, and restricts the blood flow so it gets less blood and fewer nutrients.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Drinking alcohol can dehydrate the skin and make it look dry, tired and older.
Wash your skin
People should wash their skin regularly – but not too often, as it can dry out – with a mild soap, and moisturise to keep it hydrated.
Women are more prone to wrinkles
Previous studies have found women may be more prone to wrinkles and one reason may be they tend to have thinner skin.
Researcher Dr Selma Mekic said: ‘In addition to not smoking and protecting the skin from the sun, this work suggests women who wish to look younger longer may now have another way to delay the development of wrinkles.
‘Those with high scores for fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low scores for meats, sugars, saturated fats and alcohol, showed significantly less facial wrinkles.
‘But this was only the case for women.
‘No difference was observed between men who ate a healthy diet and those who did not.’
Scientists think a fruit-rich diet helps by ensuring the body has plenty of vitamins and flavonoids.
These are health-boosting compounds that protect the skin against ageing and stimulate the growth of collagen – the fibre that keeps skin stretchy and taut.
Women are thought to be more susceptible to wrinkles because they have a lower density of collagen in the skin – men have a higher density so may look young for longer.
Dr Sajjad Rajpar, a consultant dermatologist from the Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham said: ‘Because of their thinner skin, as they lose collagen with ageing, women are more likely to develop lines and wrinkles.’
Products claiming to improve ageing skin include eye creams, supplements, botox and even stem cell injections.
Two London entrepreneurs have created a vitamin C shower head which softens tap water and douses the body in the vitamin in a bid to banish wrinkles.