There are many things we liked aged - good whiskey, cheese, wine… but face it, when it comes to your skin, no one wants to look old and wrinkled. And you needn’t have to, if you take a few basic precautions, and choose a really good anti-ageing cream.
Thankfully, Indians have some luck on their side to begin with. “Our skin contains more melanin than Caucasian skin, which acts as a protector from the sun,” explains Dr Chytra V Anand, cosmetologist at Kosmoderma Skin & Laser Clinic, Bangalore. That statement is reinforced by dermatocosmetologist Dr Swati Srivastava, who points out that a 16-year-old Caucasian girl’s skin will look similar to a 25-year-old Indian woman’s. “Their skin begins ageing earlier, usually in their twenties, and is more prone to wrinkles,” she says.
But it’s not all good news. Dr Punit Saraogi, senior consultant, medical innovations and partnership, Kaya Skin Clinic, warns that, “due to more sun exposure and higher melanin content, Indian skins generally suffer from the problems of hyper pigmentation, uneven skin tone, dullness and spots.”
This is why it’s important to get a good cream or lotion working for you. “Begin using anti-ageing creams before static lines start forming on your face – either a laugh line or a wrinkle,” says Dr Srivastava. “I would recommend starting between the ages of 28 to 30 years. However, those with dry skin need to begin slightly earlier than those with oily skin.”
“A good anti-ageing cream should not only replenish moisture but also help the natural process of skin repair,” explains Dr Saraogi. Some key ingredients to look out for in a good anti-ageing cream are:
Hyaluronic acid (HA): It replenishes skin’s natural moisture levels.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA): Lactic, glycolic and mandelic acids help prevent dead cell build-up.
Retinol: This helps promote natural cell rejuvenation.
Vitamin C: Ascorbyl phosphate helps prevent free-radical damage.
Ubiquinone: This super antioxidant minimises free radicals produced due to pollution.
Isoflavones: This soyabean extract helps skin regain its youthfulness.
Peptides: This promotes collagen formation.
No matter what age you are, you should use a daily moisturiser. "Moisturising is a compulsion, not a choice if you want good skin," explains Dr Srivastava, adding, "It must begin earnestly from one’s teenage years. Moisturiser is best used right after a bath when the skin is a little damp; your anti-ageing cream can be used at night." And how does one select a good moisturiser? "Opt for one that provides long-lasting hydration without making skin feel oily or sticky. Always try moisturiser on the face before picking it up," suggests Dr Saraogi.
His other tips: Get a moisturiser with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Look for one that is oil- and fragrance-free. Choose moisturisers that contain antioxidants like green tea, chamomile and pomegranate, as they help keep skin looking fresh. Select a non-comedogenic facial moisturiser (one that won’t clog your pores). Finally, people with dry skin should pick a moisturiser that has ingredients to keep skin hydrated, such as hyaluronic acid and dimethicone.
If you have sensitive skin, choose a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturiser. Also, avoid those that contain acids and alcohol, such as alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, retinoic acid and salicylic acid.
To prevent facial acne, avoid moisturisers that contain lanolin, mineral oil, waxes or shea butter.
Men’s skin is about 20 per cent thicker than women, which means that creams do not get absorbed easily. “So they should use heavier creams containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHA),” advises Dr Anand. Dr Saraogi adds that, “due to constant shaving, the skin can get dry, which also causes premature ageing. So it is important to use a shaving cream with moisturising content.”
He has further advice for both men and women. “Avoid smoking as it ages the skin by releasing an enzyme that breaks down elastin and collagen, leading to wrinkles and dry skin. Alcohol also expands blood vessels, causing patches and sagging of skin.”
Anti-ageing at home
Massage face and neck with clarified butter (ghee), almond oil or coconut oil before bed.
Apply masks containing honey and milk or lime juice and honey or fresh aloe vera to the face once a week.
Mash tomato, papaya and carrot. Add some fine granules of sugar and lime juice (for dry skin, use less lime juice) and apply it to your face for 10-15 minutes. spa solutions
Get a skin analysis by a dermatologist before your choose a treatment. Try anti-ageing peels, Botox, fillers like Juvéderm, laser skin tightening, mesotherapy, laser photo facials and antioxidant medication.
Microdermabrasion is a great skin polishing tool. Fine crystals are sprayed on the skin, which help remove the dead cell layer. Dermabrasion is a much harsher procedure and is not advised for Indian skin.
From HT Brunch, March 10
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