Why you shouldn’t be afraid to expose your arms in middle age

My whole life beauty routine has focused on my face. And in the summer my legs. and feet. Every now and then, my hand would take a look. So it’s surprising that now, what I notice the most is my arms.

Oh for those sultry days of frocks, tank tops, spaghetti straps and sleeveless dresses. When I can wear them without looking at my arms and thinking, ‘What they need is a cardigan’.

The reason you lose strength in your arms as you age is because muscle mass naturally declines — roughly three to five percent per decade after age 30, especially if you’re relatively inactive, and it accelerates as you age. And low estrogen levels during and after menopause doesn’t help matters either.

Is there an easy solution? I’m not going to lie, doing some triceps curls with a box of Heinz beans doesn’t mean you’ll wave goodbye to bingo wings faster than you can say two fat ladies (bingo callers are still allowed to say who-which?). You also can’t reduce fat – you have to improve your overall weight by following a healthy diet, exercising and doing hard work, in order to develop tone in certain areas.

However, there’s no doubt that since I’m going to Fight Klub, an exercise class that works the upper body as well as the lower body, and includes boxing moves, weight training, and push-ups (which I modify by doing them against a wall because my wrists are weak ), my arms are in better shape than they have been in a while. If you want to start — or switch — an exercise routine at home, visit a professional who can put together a program and teach you how to perform arm strengthening exercises, such as the triceps, correctly and safely.

Apart from muscle strength, the other issue with aging arms is the texture of the skin. My elbows looked like a rough worm of wrinkles and my inner arms had the look of dry parchment that reminded me of my mother’s arms when she used to bemoan them like they were my grandmother. In this transition from age clubbing, I would like to remind myself that I am fortunate to have lived long enough to notice collagen loss. Not everyone is so lucky.

But I still want my arms to look better. This means using a body scrub, especially on the backs of the arms and elbows, and I’ve been trying the new Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub from Biossance (launching next month; £22, lookfantastic.com). Sugar crystals slough off dead skin cells, while pomegranate enzymes provide an extra exfoliating action.

Hydration can help but you need to do it regularly, not just take a dip in individual occasions. I’ve heard positive feedback from many of our testers full of Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (£46, Cultbeauty.co.uk) and they don’t speak from behind because, yes, you can use it on your arms. It’s infused with Guaraná, an Amazonian plant that contains caffeine, which can have a temporary tightening effect, and cupuaçu butter, an especially nourishing ingredient.

However, my favorite is Olverum’s New Firming Body Moisturizer (£40). It is an advanced lotion with collagen supporting ingredients, and it helped me sweat very quickly. If you prefer oil, the brand’s Firming Body Oil (£47.50) contains grapefruit botanicals and black pepper for toning—absorbs well and leaves a nice shine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m wearing a sleeveless number and leave the jacket on the back of the chair.


This week I mostly…

Enjoy a limited edition Onolla + Elixseri Fresh Start Duo (£129 for worshippers), a reset program for your skin. Acting Act opens and removes dead skin cells overnight, while Rescue Diver provides a burst of moisture that plumps cells.

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