This modern life: Saving our skin

Come September, the world's pre-eminent folk in anti-ageing will gather at the Royal Society of Medicine for the third International Anti-Ageing Conference. Between now and then the attendees will probably be using bi-thermal Myoxy-Caviar anti-ageing masks, or something. Heaven forbid that they should sport any more wrinkles than at the second conference. Some reportedly already looked a little rough back then, even with their necks covered up, like Jane Fonda in the L'Oreal Age Re-Perfect Pro-Calcium day cream TV ads.

But now they've got stem-cell research to talk about, and developments in highly concentrated nanoceuticals, and there's London's first hyperabic oxygen rejuvenation tanks (at Notting Hill's BeautyWorksWest) to pop into on their way from Heathrow. And there's the urgent dream that we might shortly be able to live to 121, with organs kept as fresh as daisies and faces like 14 year olds'. Indeed it's quite possible that the increase this millennium in criticism and persecution by adults of teenagers derives from a deepening, if unconscious, envy of their skin.

Britons' annual spend on anti-ageing products is approaching £1bn. But cosmetic scientist Gisele Mir has put a spanner in the works by claiming that 'many anti-ageing creams accelerate ageing rather than prevent it.' If this proves to be the case, maybe consumers could demand pro-ageing creams, in the hope that they'll do the opposite of what's claimed. Meanwhile, the word on the anti-ageing scene is that pouting is a no-no, food should be strictly all-mauve, and that, when averaging out the regenerative cycle speeds of all parts of the body, a person in their late-thirties currently has a body that's only 15-and-a-half years old.

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