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.

Hair - - The Focal Point -

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.

The process

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.

Causes

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.

Treat­ment

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.

Preven­tion

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.

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