EXTRINSIC FACTORS THAT ENHANCE SKIN AGEING & DEVELOPMENT OF WRINKLES
- Exposure to Sun/ UV (ultraviolet light) – Exposure to the sun’s rays is the primary external factor responsible for skin ageing. Damage to the skin is cumulative caused by both prolonged exposure and everyday exposure to the sun/UV rays (also called as photo ageing). This is brought about by the accumulation of damage due to free radicals as time goes by. Although the skin has the ability to protect itself from the sun through tanning and thickening of the epidermis, there is a limit. This limit varies from person to person, and once exceeded results in permanent damage to the skin, and acceleration in the signs of ageing.
- Stress: both physical and mental stress contributes in accelerating ageing process. Stress results in creation of free-radicals – volatile molecules that attack the internal cellular structure of skin, making it weaker and more likely to display visible signs of premature ageing. Busy work schedules, hectic city lifestyle and pollution have become one of the leading causes of stress induced premature ageing. Any serious disease or ailment takes a toll on the body and accelerates stress. Therefore it is very important to manage stress and indulge in regular yoga or meditation.
- Pollution: pollution generates free radicals on the surface of the skin and also free radicals inside the body when you breathe it in. So the more pollution you are exposed to, the faster your skin will age.
- Dehydration: Dehydration results in dryness and cracking of the skin which in turn disrupts the natural balance of the skin making it susceptible to microbes and infections. This decreases skin’s healing capacity and increases free radical damage. Therefore keeping your body and skin well hydrated is very important. Also regular use of air conditioners and blowers make the skin dehydrated.
- The loss of subcutaneous fat on a person’s body either due to some disease or sudden weight loss.
- Eating excessive chewing gums: this makes your facial muscles constantly stretch and contract all the time you are chewing.
- Insufficient Sleep: there are many important restorative effects that occur during sleep. During the day, our body is under the constant pull of gravity in a vertical direction. Also certain hormones are secreted only during sleep which plays a major role in skin rejuvenation.
- Smoking: smoking dramatically hastens the onset of wrinkles. First nicotine in cigarettes robs the blood of oxygen, which is essential for healthy skin. Second, smoking constricts the blood vessels, making it difficult for them to carry what little oxygen is in the blood stream to cells, including skin cells. Third, smoking introduces destructive chemicals into the blood stream, which attack the vital skin proteins collagen and elastin. In addition, the repeated motion of sucking and throwing out air from the mouth during smoking a cigarette causes dynamic wrinkles to form around the mouth.
- Poor diet: poor diet and unhealthy food also contribute in accelerating ageing process. Foods that contain excessive sugar; activate a physiological process called glycation which causes proteins including collagen and elastin to harden or become stiff over time; eventually resulting in wrinkles. A diet high in fruits, veggies and antioxidants can help repair & protect your skin. Also eating foods with ample amounts of free radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E helps improve the skin’s texture, keeping it elastic and supple.
- Sleeping on your side or on your stomach (with your cheek pushed against your pillow): when you sleep on your face; the compression action a pillow creates; results in shifting and compressing delicate facial tissue which may lead to wrinkles. Therefore it is advised to sleep on your back. But if you can’t get out of the habit of sleeping on your back then get an anti-wrinkle pillow that doesn’t put too much pressure on your face as you sleep. Also investing in pillows made of satin or higher thread count is a good option.
- Excessive steaming: although, steaming hydrates and helps in opening the blocked pores but its use should be limited. Frequent steaming can result in damage to elastic fibres in the long run causing premature aging. Therefore steaming should be restricted to 1-2 minutes every 7-10 days.
- Correct skincare: skin is a reflection of the way it is cared for. A good skin care routine goes a long way in protecting and treating all signs of ageing: loss of volume, loss of density, wrinkles and related conditions such as age induced dryness or sensitive ageing skin.
Do not excessively massage, pick, scratch, rub and scrub. Make sure you use only those skincare products that are skin pH friendly, formulated specifically for your skin type/ concerns/ needs and are safe (do not contain toxic/ harmful ingredients in them) for application on human skin.
- Topical Medications: The effectiveness of anti-wrinkle creams depends in part on the active ingredients. Retinol, alpha hydroxy acid and antioxidants result in modest improvements in wrinkles. Non prescription wrinkle creams, however, contain less of the active ingredients than do prescription creams. Therefore results, if any, are limited and usually short-lived. (Plz Note: though some of these creams may be available over-the-counter; it should be used only under medical supervision or as prescribed by your dermatologist/ cosmetologist.)
- Prescription Retinoids or Vitamin A derivatives (tretinoin, Retin A, Renova): This ingredient has the longest track record of success in treating aging skin and fine lines. As this medication can make the skin more susceptible to burning from sunlight exposure; you must use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Topical retinoids may sometimes cause dryness, itching, a burning sensation, a tingling sensation and redness until the skin gets used to it.
- Over the counter wrinkle creams: these are the ones we usually get in any supermarket or cosmetics store. The effectiveness of OTC wrinkle creams varies considerably, and depends mainly on what its active ingredient is. Also the key for the effectiveness of such creams lies in their formulation. These may contain retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, kinetin, coenzyme Q10, pentapeptides, oligopeptides, hyaluronic acid, saponin and antioxidants.
- Medical procedures: it is important to get these producers done by or in presence of a certified dermatologist/ cosmetologist.
- Chemical peels
- Laser and radiofrequency:
- Botox – (Botulinum Toxin Type A): Botox blocks the chemical signals that cause muscles to contract. It is injected in small doses into targeted muscles. The muscles can no longer contract, giving a less wrinkled and smoother appearance. As treatments generally last about three to four months, repeated injections are required.
- Fillers: these may include collagen, hyaluronic acid, or fat. They are injected into deeper face wrinkles, plumping and smoothing them out, giving the skin more volume. Patients may sometimes experience swelling, redness and bruising in the treated areas for a short period. As with Botox treatment, for lasting results the treatments need to be repeated every few months.
- Surgical procedures: these include facelifts, brow lifts etc. The results usually last more than fillers and botox.