Phew. We can all rest a little easier tonight, as we slather on our night-time beauty preparations before bed. Because the very act of using moisturiser does delay the signs of ageing – regardless of the ingredients.
In what is claimed to be the first long-term study – over eight years - charting the progress of wrinkle development, published in the June issue of the British Journal of Dermatology, well hydrated faces were found to line more slowly than when the skin was dry.
So, a 28-year-old woman with dry skin will see an increase in visible wrinkles of 52 per cent by the time she reaches 36, whereas a woman with well hydrated skin will see an increase of 22 per cent over the same period.
Which means keeping your skin hydrated halves the rate at which lines develop at that age. Or, as Olay puts it – the skincare brand funded the study – having dry skin more than doubles the speed at which women develop facial wrinkles.
The study also revealed that wrinkling increases most for women in their twenties (56 per cent), 40s (73 per cent) and as they enter the menopause (95 per cent).
Dr Greg Hillebrand, lead author of the paper and principal scientist for Olay, said: "Frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead lines and other wrinkles form as skin is repeatedly flexed and folded in to our expressions. We've now shown conclusively that how quickly those temporary folds are etched in to permanent wrinkles is heavily influenced by factors we can control like dryness and sun damage that reduce the natural elasticity of the skin."
He added: "We can dramatically delay the onset of persistent wrinkles by protecting skin daily with an effective moisturiser and sunscreen."