"I’m 38 and I don’t want botox. Here’s what I’m doing for my skin instead."

I’ve always been lucky with my skin. I skipped acne as a teenager and through my twenties it thrived on alcohol-induced dehydration and neglect.

I inherited the good skin genes from my mum’s side, both her and my grandma receiving compliments on their complexions well into their sixties. But lately things have started to change…

I have two children, aged four and seven, and I’ve always secretly enjoyed having people tell me I look far too young to be a mum. “Oh, really!? Stop! But actually, keep going.” But then it did stop – about a year ago.

Apparently in the last 12 months my skin has started to act its age.

Side note: Julie Morris and her thoughts on botox, and breast cancer. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

It happened right around the time my girlfriends (mostly in their early forties) started getting Botox.

While I’m adjusting to my mum face, my mum mates are rocking smooth foreheads and elevated eyebrows, looking like they’ve dropped five years and erased two kids overnight.

Now I’m not against Botox AT ALL. I reserve the right to opt for injections at any time. And to be honest, in my forties I probably will.

But right now, my body and I are trying to keep things relatively clean. It honestly just feels a little weird for me to alkalise my water and shun caffeine, gluten, sugar and dairy in the name of my health but then voluntarily inject stuff into my face..?


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That said, I might be nutritionally virtuous and pH balanced – but I’m starting to look old AF.

In true beauty editor style, it’s time to throw some product at the problem. I’ve enlisted the help of Vaia Pappas, salon director of Vaia Beauty – herbal medicine and skin care clinic, to embark on a new prescriptive skin care regime for me.

When it comes to truly improving the condition of our skin, it’s the things we do daily that count. And that means stepping up my morning and evening home care. Think of it like weight loss. If you go on a healthy eating plan and you stick to it every day, every meal, in six months-time you are going to see massive results. But you’ve got to be consistent. It’s the same with the skin and prescriptive skin care, Vaia explains.

The hero of my new routine is the Ultraceuticals Ultra Pore Refiner. The older I get, the more noticeable my pores are. They’re also congested, which nobody wants.

Why do our pores enlarge with age? Two main reasons, explains Cosmetic Physician and Founder of Ultraceuticals, Geoffrey Heber; “Firstly, exfoliation slows with ageing and there is a thickening of the dead surface layer of the skin.

The Ultra pore refiner. Image: Ultraceuticals.

This accentuates the appearance of open pores. Secondly, [when we are young] the dermal layer of the skin is firm and has elasticity. It supports the pores that run from the surface perpendicularly through it. With age, we lose firmness and elasticity, allowing the pores to expand in size.

When it comes to skincare there’s no one size fits all fix. The best way to have a proper skin diagnosis is to book in for a facial.

“The therapist will be touching your face for an hour, we can feel the texture and see any change in colour. Our hands and eyes are such a good diagnostic tool and give us a really good indication of what’s going on with your skin,” says Vaia.

My main skin issues were dehydration and a course texture (like I said in my professional diagnosis - old AF).

To combat this Vaia prescribed Vitamin B for hydration and plumpness, sunscreen (as we get older our skins melanin decreases, making us more photosensitive), a redness repair moisturiser and Vitamin C to address pigmentation and increase radiance. Anti-aging holy grail Vitamin A will come later, as I’ve just started the pore refiner.

Skin care rule of thumb - only introduce one active product to your face at a time!

I’m also dipping in to the world of ingestible beauty to boost my collagen levels. While ideally we’d get all the collagen we need from our diet, life is not a health retreat. Taking a supplement is handy if you’re not eating properly due to travel or stress, you have poor gut health (I do) or your idea of a balanced diet is red wine and microwave brown rice.


“Taking oral collagen helps to strengthen and repair connective tissue. Skin is made up of lots of collagen so it’s feeding it back goodness,” explains Vaia. I’m adding my collagen powder to my daily smoothie and so far, so easy.

Finally, I’ll be having a bit of LED light therapy to recharge my skin cells. “It’s like a little aerobic workout for the skin,” says Vaia. Think of it like photosynthesis. Just like the sun feeds plants, light therapy does the same for your skin, helping cells thrive, she explains.

And while I wait for my new regime to turn back the clock (and enjoy my post facial glow) I’ve also taken myself to the hairdresser to get a fringe - aka the poor man’s Botox. I feel like it’s got a youthful, ‘peppy cheerleader’ vibe … At the very least it’s hiding my forehead. Fake it til you make it, right?

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