'How old are you?' she asked.
'I'm forty years young,' he replied, a smug smile on his face.
That cheesy line is from a novel I read sometime back. Most of us want to stay young. However, that seldom happens. So we strive for the next best alternative - feel and look young.
When it comes to looks, as we age, the skin in our face begins to breakdown and signs of aging start to show. The things we neglect in our 20s starts showing up on our face as we enter our 40s and 50s. Before discussing anti-aging treatments, let us see the causes and early signs of aging.
For the skin to remain healthy and young looking, it needs collagen and elastin. With age, the body struggles to produce enough collagen and elastin to maintain healthy skin, which results in wrinkles and makes the skin thinner and dryer.
Skin gets damaged from exposure to sun’s UV rays, which gets accumulated over time and results in fine lines, dark spots, dullness, and other signs of aging. Smoking quickens the aging process, and alcohol dehydrates and damages the skin. Consuming food that contains a lot of sugar and carbohydrate accelerates aging.
The most common changes seen on the face skin are:
Crow’s Feet - Wrinkles in the corner of the eyes are called crow’s feet. It can also occur in the mid-20s as the skin around the eye is thin and lacks oil glands. As aging causes the elasticity of the skin to go down, the skin is unable to go back to its original state.
Wrinkles Around the Eyes - Fine lines and folds under your eyes or between the eyelids and eyebrows are called wrinkles.
Age Spots - Skin discoloration is caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays, which results in excess melanin production.
Bags Under the Eyes - Mild swelling or puffiness in the lower eyelid is common with age. The muscles supporting the eyelids weaken and the normal fat moves to the lower eyelid, which results in these under-eye bags.
Laugh Lines - Due to repeated facial expressions and movements, lines and folds form on the sides of the nose to the corner of the mouth.
Droopy Eyelids - As the normal fat that helps support the eyes move down, the eyelids become droopy.
Frown Lines - Wrinkles between the eyebrows and forehead are called frown lines.
Loose Skin - The skin starts to sag as the elastin in the skin begins to breakdown, especially the lower cheeks and jawline.
Dull Skin - Due to the buildup of dead skin cells on the face, the skin looks dull.
Crepey Skin - Dry and coarse skin that feels rough to touch is called crepey skin or elephant skin. Repeated stretching and low elastin cause this.
1) Anti-Aging Creams:
Anti-aging cream contains moisturizers and other ingredients like:
Retinoids - They are vitamin A derivatives, and increase collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It reduces age spots and improves skin tone.
Epidermal growth factor - It boosts cell renewal and collagen production and has anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. Thus it is useful in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) - They are used as chemical peels, which exfoliate the skin, reduce fine lines, and improve the skin tone.
Salicylic acid - It is the commonly seen ingredient in many over-the-counter anti-aging creams. It reduces blackheads and whiteheads by penetrating the pores. It also exfoliates the skin and reduces the signs of aging.
Vitamin C - The antioxidants present in vitamin C increases collagen production and reduces wrinkles.
Caffeine - When applied on the skin, it is believed to prevent the growth of skin cancer and reduce wrinkles.
Hyaluronic Acid - Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in the body, which reduces with age. On topical use, it makes the skin even and smooth.
Coenzyme Q-10 - CoQ-10 is an antioxidant naturally produced by the body. As its production reduces with age, creams containing C0Q-10 reduces crow’s feet and wrinkles.
Sunscreens - Sunscreens protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation.
2) Chemical Peels:
Chemical peels, otherwise called derma-peeling or chemexfoliation, uses chemical solutions to remove the outer layers of the skin. The skin that is formed is smooth and younger-looking. The chemicals used are AHAs, BHA, and retinoic acid.
In this treatment, a rapidly rotating brush is used, which removes the surface layer of the skin. After the procedure, the new skin that is formed is smooth and wrinkle-free.
The skin is sandblasted with aluminum-oxide crystals using vacuum suction. Unlike dermabrasion, only a very fine layer of the skin is removed.
For quick results, soft tissue fillers are injected into the skin to give it more volume and to remove wrinkles and fine lines. The fillers commonly used are:
Here, laser beams are used to breakdown the outer layer of the skin, and the heat to the underlying tissue stimulates the growth of collagen. After a few sittings, the skin becomes firmer and fresh.
7) Face Lift:
It is a surgical procedure, where excess skin and fat is removed.
Follow these tips to prevent premature aging:
Protect the skin from sun exposure by using sunscreens of SPF 30 or higher, use sunglasses, and cover yourself with clothing.
Avoid artificial tan, as it can speed-up aging.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Avoid excess consumption of alcohol.
Wash your face gently and avoid scrubbing roughly, as it can irritate your skin.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day.
Always moisturize your skin after washing it.
Do not use skin products that sting or burn on application.
If you already have signs of premature aging, a few changes in your lifestyle can help you. To know more about anti-aging treatments, book real-time video consultations with professionally trained dermatologists online.