Reversing the Signs of Ageing

Sunday 29 September 2013

Reversing the Signs of Ageing

The Signs of Ageing

From top left clockwise: a child, a young adult, a person in her
early sixties, a person in her early seventies. Yes, the person at
the bottom right of this image is younger then the person at the
bottom left. The lady at the bottom left stayed clear of the sun
for most of her life
As we age our delicate skin starts to change its texture (pores become larger), wrinkles appear, then skin starts to crease, fold, and then sag. Some of us will go through these stages faster, others slower, but the steps are inevitable.

The face is the first thing that starts to age, the rest of the body catches up later.

How to Delay the Ageing Process?

Your teens and early twenties

Treat acne or do nothing

The ideal approach is to start looking after yourself early. When you are very young there is little you need to do, unless you suffer from acne or other skin disorder. In the case of acne you may want to experiment with various products to see if they can help you in getting rid of the spots. Sometimes doing nothing may be the answer; various cleansing products strip your skin off good bacteria as well as bad, thus, damaging the skin's protective barrier, the result of which is skin that is less able to defend itself; acne is exacerbated. You can read about it in more detail in the article How to Get Rid of Acne.

Apply sun cream

There is no need to preach about smoking, alcohol consumption and eating habits; we all know that it affects our skin. However, sun damage is something we should care about the most. Applying a bit of sun cream is not a lot of effort, but it can do wonders for your skin in the long term. Sun exposure is responsible for deep wrinkles that we may get as we age. People who stay away from the sun for most of their lives get only fine lines.

Moisturisers are not necessary

Moisturisers are not necessary; skin is able to moisturise itself, if it is not, it is only because the skin lost this ability due to the frequent use of face cream. These products will not stop you from ageing; they may make your skin look better, which is a temporary effect. Click the link to read more about how moisturisers work.

Exfoliation is not necessary

Exfoliation is also not necessary as it only works on the top layer of the skin. This layer mainly consists of dead cells, which are eventually shed anyway. If your skin is clogged with dirt then exfoliation may help remove this debris; however, it will not help in your attempts to fight ageing. Exfoliation does make skin look fresher and better, but the effect is nothing more than cosmetic. Also, if you do exfoliate, care should be taken not to overdo it; over-pampering may well leave your skin dry and sensitive.

Late twenties and early thirties 

Moisturisers are mainly cosmetics

Once you start seeing the first signs of ageing, say at around 30, you may want to rev up your skincare regimen. I do not mean start buying Estee Lauder face cream instead of Nivea (which is what I have done). No long term results came from that; new lines kept appearing even though very expensive products were used. The reason for this is that moisturisers plump the skin to make it look better, but they do not penetrate into the deeper layers to affect collagen and elastin production. Any effect one gets is cosmetic. Serums are not much different, unless they have the active ingredient listed within the first five products on the ingredients list. All products are listed in order of prevalence. Even then there is no guarantee.

Active ingredients

Vitamin A, or retinoids, should be your
first choice in fighting ageing
Vitamin A. This should be your first choice in fighting ageing. This vitamin comes in the form of retinoids, that can be obtained either on prescription or over the counter. The over the counter version of retinoid is called retinol, which is a weaker version of the vitamin A derivative. Although retinol containing products make only appearance based claims, it is argued that the creams containing this ingredient are able to even out some fine lines. Retin A or Renova are prescription only. Retin A is approved by FDA for treatment of acne and Renova is the only product approved for reducing sun damage. Nevertheless, both Retin A and Renova are prescribed by dermatologists for treatment of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, freckles, age spots, rough skin texture, uneven tone and visible pores. These prescription only drugs have been tested multiple times and their effectiveness has been established. So, if you are serious about making yourself more youthful, pay a visit to a dermatologist.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has been established to have some outstanding effect on our skin, i.e., it increases collagen production and it is a proven antioxidant. The problem is that delivery into the skin is very tricky, so even if the product contains vitamin C in high proportions, it is not guaranteed to be effective.

Vitamin E. Due to its antioxidant activity, vitamin E protects skin cells from UV damage, pollution and other sources that produce cell-damaging free radicals.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) in low concentrations (5-10%) as found in most over the counter products promote exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin giving it a smoother texture. The result is more beautiful skin but the benefit is not long lasting. Concentration of 10-50% provide more pronounced effect, but even then the results are not lasting either. Even stronger concentrations are used in chemical peels.

Visit a dermatologist for a guaranteed result

An important thing to understand is that if you want something more than just a cosmetic effect you need to go to a dermatologist for a prescription drug. Over the counter creams, lotions and potions may have some anti-ageing effect, but there is no guarantee. A brand new term was invented by marketeers called cosmeceuticals, in an attempt to give impression that some cosmetics have drug-like qualities. Whilst this may be true, however, nothing has been officially tested and so no guarantees can be made. If the product has ingredients in quantities known to make a difference to skin's deeper layers, thus affecting the product's ability to give anti-ageing effect, such product has to be declared as drug.

Beauty therapies to try out

In your early thirties it may be worth trying superficial chemical peels, derma rollers, micro-dermabrasion, LED light therapy, ultrasound therapy, mesotherapy.

Mid thirties to all the way through your forties

Beauty therapies list

This is the time to start employing some beauty therapies, devices and other means to make a greater difference. As there are so many techniques and therapies available, it is impractical to write about them in this article, therefore, they will be named for your guidance; further information can be found online if required.

Start with the mildest products and therapies at the beginning of the list, then work all the way through the list and start all over again:
  • over the counter creams
  • prescription drugs
  • superficial chemical peels
  • derma rollers
  • LED light therapy
  • micro-dermabrasion
  • ultrasound therapy
  • mesotherapy
  • medium peels
  • laser treatment for skin rejuvenation
  • collagen fillers
  • botox injections
  • hyaluronic acid fillers
  • fat transplantation.

Since I have not reached the final age bracket yet, I will leave the discussion of more advanced enhancements for later.

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