Hold the lines!
As more and more anti-ageing products claim to keep unwanted lines off your face, DR. AKSHAY BATRA gets to the bottom of the problem — the scientific way.
An array of personal and beauty care products compete for consumers’ attention in the market today, with anti-ageing products forming a large chunk of these offerings. However, in order to effectively fight signs of ageing, one needs to consider several factors that determine how a person ages.
Ageing is a gradual, degenerative process that affects all parts of the body, most visibly the skin. Urban lifestyles, unhealthy diets, pollution and increased stress levels lead to early ageing, with changes becoming evident as early as in your mid-20s.
The primary factor that determines the ageing process is underlying genetics. Other internal factors include diet and lifestyle. Smoking, a cause of premature ageing of the skin, degrades collagen, a vital ingredient that keeps skin tight and smooth. Environmental influences, including weather changes and pollutants, have a direct adverse impact on skin, with the most profound damage being caused by chronic UV exposure.
Exfoliation has been used from time immemorial to reduce fine lines and improve complexion. Chemical exfoliants such as hydroxyacids (‘peels’ in modern-day parlance) and retinoic acid remove dead surface cells. Mechanical exfoliants include cleansing grains and natural scrubs. Masks are also among the oldest mechanical exfoliants. In recent times, lasers and LEDs are being increasingly used for wrinkle-reduction.
Staying away from smoking and alcohol goes a long way in the endeavour to delay signs of ageing.
Sun exposure is another problem area. Although UVA is more often implicated in skin ageing, coverage for both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum sunscreen) is recommended.
A combination of vitamins E and C are our best defence against sun damage. Having antioxidant-rich foods help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body. Green tea and vitamin E are believed to be of great value in the prevention and treatment of ageing.