How to keep my skin plump and firm!

As we get older, our features become less defined. Sagging skin, loss of tone and firmness... we all know the score. Both our bodies and faces bear the brunt.

Much as we'd love to bury our heads in the sand, we can't avoid noticing that our faces start to sag.

At first it doesn't really bother us. We may find our skin's a little less firm or toned and our jowls a bit floppy... This is because from around the age of 25, our skin loses 1% of its collagen every year - a slow process that's made worse by exposure to the sun, smoking and lack of sleep. As the years pass, our facial contours lose their chiselled look. These early signs of ageing skin often creep up on our cheeks and cheekbones, when we'll notice that our faces have begun to sag.  The reason? Our bodies start to produce less collagen and elastin fibres - the two proteins that govern skin density and provide our faces with an inner scaffold. To put it simply, this means our skin is no longer held up and the effects of gravity begin to take hold. As our skin slackens, wrinkles and lines appear - the infamous 'expression lines' that add character to our faces. And the second skin-ageing factor? A decrease in hyaluronic acid that's naturally present in our skin.

My face is heading south. A complete disaster?

Not nowadays! Once upon a time, the only way to deal with sagging mature skin was to go under the surgeon's knife. Luckily for us, that's no longer the case. The cosmetics world has come up with a host of solutions. It's just a matter of choosing the right treatment and applying it correctly. First off, opt for a cream designed to reinforce your skin's elastin fibres. Apply it to both your face and neck. The trick is to massage it in using upwards (rather than downwards) movements, working from the bottom of your face and chin up towards your ears.  Another gravity-defying tip is to avoid yo-yo dieting - it's not good for our health or our skin, which will consequently slacken and lose its elasticity.