Age with grace, not in haste
‘Age is inevitable, aging isn’t,” said American Canadian author, Marv Levy. The older we grow, the frequency with which we hear the phrase, that age is just a number increases. And we realise we can’t reverse the natural ageing process. It’s natural to experience fine lines, sun spots, wrinkles and hair loss. Alas! That’s old news, isn’t it. However, environmental and lifestyle factors make our bodies suffer the repercussions of ageing prematurely.
Skin and hair are a mirror to what’s going on inside, and the impact of the surroundings one is exposed to. Changing climatic conditions, the degrading quality of produce, and even poor dietary habits, affect the way we look and feel.
Dr Rickson Pereira, Dermatologist, Mumbai, says, ”While ageing is a natural and an inevitable process, premature ageing has emerged as a widespread concern today. Unhealthy lifestyles, consumption of high sugar processed foods, nutrient-empty diets, stress and poor sleeping habits accelerate ageing. Increasing exposure to Blue Light which is emitted by all digital devices has also been associated with accelerating the ageing process.”
As one ages, natural elastic tissue is lost, resulting in the skin to become loose. Depending on the lifestyle, weather and genetics, types of ageing differ from person to person.
Mumbai based cosmetic dermatologist, Dr Niketa Sonavane, says, “Indian skin ages in a very peculiar way, dullness and dry skin are usually the first signs of premature aging. Besides this, early signs of aging are first visible around the eye area. This may come in the form of under eye dark circles, sunken eyes and crow’s feet lines. Pigmentation and age spots start on the cheeks and nose around the same time.”
All of us have experienced that ache in the back, a dull face after a night of binge drinking, bruises showing up more than often, dry and flaky skin, and the worst of all people constantly guessing you are older than you really are. It’s no brainer, that your body is aging faster than you think.
“As we get older, the body’s recovery processes slow down and there is progressive accumulation of damage over time. In skin, signs of ageing can be seen in the form of hyperpigmentation like sun spots, loss of elasticity due to collagen breakdown, dry lustreless skin. When these signs are evident sooner than expected, it is known as premature ageing. The most common factors responsible for ageing are free radical damage, accumulation of advanced glycation end products, telomere shortening, and mutations,” says Dr. Ameesha Mahajan, Celebrity Dermatologist.
Mahajan adds, “The UV rays damage the DNA in our skin cells and leads to collagen breakdown, thus causing dryness, loss of elasticity and ultimately wrinkles on the skin. Also, smoking causes skin damage primarily by decreasing capillary blood flow to the skin, which, in turn, creates oxygen and nutrient deprivation in cutaneous tissues making the skin appear lustreless.” Dr Sonavane believes stress and poor sleep quality also slows down skin healing and makes the skin appear old and tired. A diet that is loaded with sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed food causes oxidative stress and inflammation in the skin which also adds to the problem.
Premature ageing is taking over at a rapid rate, calling for serious attention. Though we cannot avoid these changes completely, there are ways to reduce the signs of ageing in your body — especially when you’re not ready to embrace them.
1. Cleanse your skin gently
Always cleanse your face before going to bed and use a hydrating night gel to help your skin repair during sleep. Use quality skincare and haircare products that are gentle on your skin and hair.
“The easiest and most effective way to prevent premature aging is daily use of a sunscreen that protects from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Make sure that your sunscreen has a broad spectrum SPF 30 or more and wear it daily; even indoors,” says Dr Sonavane. She believes using a vitamin C serum in the day time gives protection against environmental free radical damage. Use a Retinol cream or serum at night along with a ceramide moisturizer to boost collagen repair and restore the skin barrier.
3. Manage stress well
“To stop premature ageing you need to practice mindfulness in your thinking pattern, practice self management techniques like deep breathing, yoga, exercise and take out some time to do something you love - be it painting, dancing, music or whatever makes you feel positive and releases stress from your body,” says Anamika Yaduvanshi, celebrity life coach.
4. A healthy and a well-balanced diet
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables would help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Ensure an adequate level of iron, zinc, biotin, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin B12, through diet or supplements, as required.
5. Exercise most days of the week
Moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system which would ensure a youthful appearance.