Ageing is a universal process that can’t be stopped, but delayed. Due to an unhealthy diet, sun exposure and stressful lifestyle, the signs of ageing are becoming pronounced even in those in their 30s and early 40s, making them look years older than their biological age. While the factors associated with internal ageing can’t be controlled, external ageing can be delayed by lifestyle modifications and medical methods, say experts.
Internal ageing in a person may be faster or slower depending on their genetic composition and protein degeneration factors, while external ageing that shows on the skin as fine forehead lines, wrinkles and sagging are directly related to prolonged exposure to sun (heat and sunlight in the plains and ultraviolet rays in the mountain regions), stress and anxiety, habits such as smoking, drinking, sleeplessness, excessive indulgence in meat, which releases free radicals in the body causing more of protein degeneration.
“Besides photo-exposure, faulty diet and stressful life, even prolonged exposure to computers and 24X7 staying in air-conditioned room will dehydrate the skin causing premature ageing. Swimming in highly chlorinated water will also lead to faster growth of wrinkles at an early age. So, signs of ageing has become common in the younger lot, those in their 30s,” averred aesthetician K Satya Prema from Do Up beauty clinic.
However, exposure to sun is not the only factor triggering ageing and photo-exposure can be managed. “A farmer and an athlete are both exposed to the sun for long hours. Yet the farmer ages much faster. It’s because of their difference in lifestyle. Lack of nutritious food, indulgence in smoking and alcohol, sleeplessness, stress due to debts and financial constraints make the rural people look much older than his actual age. The athlete takes care of his diet and follows a strict healthy lifestyle, which naturally gives him a younger look. Therefore, rectification of lifestyle and diet should start from childhood. Children should abstain from preservative-rich packaged and instant food or juices. Instead opt for fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables,” said Dr G Ajay Kumar, assistant professor at King George Hospital.
The ageing takes place not just on the skin but of the muscles, arteries, brain and heart. On the skin, it affects the dermis layer, damaging the fibrous network of collagen. The collagen is responsible for maintaining skin integrity and prevent sagging. “The signs of ageing is first reflected at the back of the hands, followed by forehead and frown lines, crowfeet under the eyes, drooping angle of the mouth, nasal folds and sagging of cheeks,” stated Dr SV Satyaprasad, dermatologist at Suraksha Health Park.
Speaking about the ways to delay the onset of ageing, the dermatologist said, “Stress management through deep breathing exercises and meditation is important. In fact, any physical exercise, aerobics or dance enable the organs to stay young. Drinking a lot of water, eating fresh fruits, salads, green leafy vegetables while avoiding excessive meat and high carb diet is a must besides of course quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking. Apart from these, anti-oxidant packs can be applied as home remedies. These mainly consists of aloevera gel and cucumber packs to reduce the sun damage and rejuvenate the skin. Medically prescribed sunscreens, vitamin C creams and collagen-building creams can be used too but it can control up to 30 per cent of ageing. Beyond that cosmetic corrections after clinical evaluation is required. The various cosmetic corrections or skin tightening procedures include Botox, fillers, thread, radio frequency skin tightening and injecting platelet rich plasma.”
Another method is using Mesoscience treatment. Explaining it, Satya Prema said, “The machine has various nodules that works on the dermis layer. Negative current is passed to make the skin porous and then positive current with the anti-ageing product is passed. It’s evenly and internally distributed wherever required and finally kryo is used to seal the skin. Post-treatment, certain hyaluronic acid rich products and creams should be used. The overall treatment can help in minimising wrinkles, toning or firming the skin and lightening of pigmentation.”
Since the skin types of individuals vary, one should use skin tightening products or collagen creams or undergo any procedure only after consultation with a qualified dermatologist, advised Dr Ajay Kumar.
Keep the body hydrated always by increasing the daily intake of water
Consume lots of fresh fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables
Instead of eating meat daily, switch to plant protein and egg whites
Absolutely avoid high carb, oil-rich food like biryani and fried rice as well as heavy desserts for dinner
Absolutely abstain from alcohol and smoking
Do yoga and deep breathing exercises to eliminate the free radicals from the body
Exercise regularly to tone up the skin and enable the organs to stay younger
Apply home remedies like anti-oxidant packs containing cucumber and aloevera gel to rejuvenate the skin and reduce the impact of sun damage
Use only dermatologist prescribed sunscreens, vitamin C creams and collagen-building creams for the skin to look younger
As a last resort, one may undergo cosmetic corrections or skin tightening procedures after clinical evaluation by a dermatologist