Undo ageing

Short cuts to reverse premature ageing that don't involve using the knife

pretty womanSigns of ageing can only be kept at bay for so long. But when they show up before they are expected, it's a huge confidence dampener. Genes play a huge part in deciding how quickly our body ages.

Substantial blame also falls on our lifestyle—using poor quality sunscreens, unhealthy eating, staying dehydrated, overworking our minds and bodies, indulging in substance abuse, overusing cosmetics and not giving enough time to our bodies to heal the damage…all take a toll.

Your first attempt should be in delaying the ageing processes from an early age. However, if your skin is in really bad shape and has aged prematurely, don't hesitate to take medical help. There are several options:

Chemical peels

Glycolic or retinoic acid peels done regularly help remove damaged layers of skin. The resulting resurfacing gets rid of fine lines and wrinkles, dullness and superficial pigmentation.

Regular peeling also helps in remodelling the collagen thus tightening the skin. Peels are quick, affordable and safe procedures that don't need hospitalisation.

Mesotherapy

This is a technique of placing active ingredients and medications under the skin so that they reach target cells faster and in a more efficient manner.

Drugs like vitamin C or AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids] can be infused into the skin that help form new collagen, decrease production of pigment by melanocytes and give antioxidant protection to damaged cells. The results are quick and the ‘glow factor’ is terrific.

BOTOX

For dynamic wrinkles nothing beats the botulinum toxin treatment. By relaxing targeted muscles, a few tiny injections can iron out frown lines, crow's feet around the eyes and bunny lines around the nose.

Advanced Botox techniques are used to lift a sagging jawline [a.k.a Nefertiti lift] or enhance the eyebrow arch.

Contrary to popular fears, it's a safe treatment and does not cause paralysis or rebound wrinkling. Effects start within 3 – 5 days of treatment, last up to six months and can be repeated as often as desired. Age is not a limiting factor—it can be used in patients as young as 25 if the condition demands it.

Fillers

Our skin naturally contains a substance called hyaluronic acid, which helps retain water and adds bulk and shape to the lower layers of the skin.

Artificially-synthesised hyaluronic acid is available as ‘fillers’ that can be injected in depressed or furrowed areas like laugh lines around the nose and mouth or tear troughs under the eyes, to lift them and make them look fuller and thus younger.

Fillers integrate with existing proteins in the skin and are gradually reabsorbed. The treatment takes half an hour and effects last 12 – 14 months. Anaesthetic fillers are painless and give instant results.

There are plenty of solutions for retaining a youthful look without having to go under the knife. It's equally important to not let looks become an obsession and develop a paranoia about ageing.

Many people suffer from depression or a Body Dysmorphic Disorder where they're always dissatisfied with their looks.

Stay realistic, don't expect to look 20 at 50 and don't run for a treatment just because your neighbour or best friend has done it. Seek correct guidance and aim to stay healthy and happy, you'll automatically look younger.

Make wrinkles wait

  • Start using a sunblock that gives adequate protection against UVA as well as UVB rays. Both the rays are responsible for ageing. SPF is only the measure of UVB protection offered by a sunscreen.The International Academies of Dermatologists have all agreed on a star rating to be displayed on the bottle of medical sunscreens indicating a particular brand's UVA protecting capacity as well.Few Indian sunscreens have been awarded this rating, so choose carefully. Use a 3-star rated sunscreen for normal skin and 4-star rated sunscreen for sensitive skin. The recommended SPF value is 30.
  • Dieticians have tired of telling us to eat more fruits, vegetables and to drink enough water. But it's important to develop these habits early in life to slow down ageing. Berries, pomegranates, grapes, walnuts and fish oil are some of the most potent age-defying foods.
  • Sleep is nature's own rejuvenator. When we sleep a lot of work gets done on the skin—damaged DNA is repaired, dehydrated cells are hydrated, and cells multiply to replace dead ones. Get at least an uninterrupted 6 – 7 hours of shuteye every day.
  • Kick the butt immediately. Smoking is the worst of all ‘bad habits’ as far as inducing ageing is concerned.
  • Use night creams with anti-ageing products like retinoids or alpha hydroxyl acids to erase fine lines; hydrators like hydroxydecine to combat dryness; and depigmenting agents like kojic acid to lighten age spots.

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Parul Kolhe
Parul Kolhe, MBBS, DDV, is a cosmetologist, hair specialist and dermatosurgeon. She runs her own cosmetology clinic, 'Tvacha' at Bhandup, Mumbai. She has won national acclaim for her work on chemical peels for acne, pigmentation and skin rejuvenation as well as skin grafting for vitiligo. She is an avid trekker and writes poetry in her spare time.

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