Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It takes a long time to become young - reverse the signs of ageing

“It takes a long time to become young”-Pablo Picasso

It is a sad but true fact that we reach our peak age at 25 and from then, all we can hope for is to slow down the aging process.

How you tackle this niggling problem will show not only on your facial skin but also in how your body reacts later on. In the Middle Ages the average life expectancy was 20 years. In 2020 it will be 90 years and predictions for 2050 indicates 120 years! Who would want to life that long unless you are also “young”?

The meaning of anti-aging has changed significantly over the last few years and now the focus is on raising our life expectancy and quality of life by caring not only for the outside, but the inside as well.

There is no more need for your skin and body to look haggard and run down. Everyone ages differently due to genetic factors, hormonal imbalances and lifestyles. Aged (mature) skin is determined by our age, but more importantly, by the declining processes of our body. It is now possible to ascertain one’s biological age, which is different from one’s chronological age, by using a battery of reliable, coded tests. A 30 year old woman can look 50 years old due to the effects of sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, pollution, stress, lack of sleep and an inadequate diet. However, the opposite can also be true by establishing a good beauty routine and looking after body, mind and inner harmony.

The normal changes associated with facial aging are the result of both intrinsic (age related fat and bone loss known as atrophy, hormonal imbalances, illnesses etc) and extrinsic factors (like sunlight, pollution, and smoking). As we age, the outer layers of the skin comes slightly thinner because of the reduced rate of regeneration in the lower levels of the skin.

Melanin production (the substance that our cells secrete to give us a “tan”) decreases, thus increasing the risk of sun damage and therefore, skin cancer. Collagen, (the softness factor of our skin) becomes “stable” and in general the skin is less pliable. Elastin fibers degenerate and the skin looses its elasticity and suppleness. The fatty deposits under the skin shrink causing the skin to bruise more easily since blood vessels are not as well protected as before. The skin also tends to retain less water, resulting in dry, flaky skin. These changes all add to the deep wrinkles around the mouth, sagging skin, softening of the oval of the face and a general tired look.

According to Dr Claude Dalle, in his article ANTI-AGEING: PREVENTION AND OPTIMISATION we need to consider the following to slow down Father Time:

We need to optimise our hormones as the levels drop over time and it can already start in our early 20’s. We all have catabolic hormones that degenerate our bodies. Anabolic hormones regenerate skin, muscles and bones. Between the ages of 25 and 70, the different rates at which our bodies produce catabolic hormones and anabolic hormones get more out of balance with the end result of growing old.

The more we stress, the more cortisone our bodies produce and the more negative the effect is on our bodies. In order for us to extend our life span, we have to reduce our stress levels.

We need to pay special attention to our diet. Be careful of steroids and other growth hormones that may be added to livestock feeds. The effects of these on our bodies are not yet fully known. Rather be safe than sorry! Use fresh produce where possible and do not destroy all the goodness by over cooking. Beware using too much seasoning.

Include essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants in your diet or as supplements as these compounds will enhance your anti aging regime. There are numerous food supplements on the market which can sort this for you by simply taking a couple of tables at breakfast time. Your salon can also assist you with specialist products according to your needs.

Dr Catherine de Goursac a physician specialising in aesthetic treatments gives excellent advice:

The rules pertaining to anti-ageing:

• You need to exercise 30 minutes per day or three hours per week because it increases longevity.
• Limit your intake of dairy products
• Limit your intake of fatty and sugary foods.
• Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
• Cut out smoking and alcohol.
• Maintain your goal weight, or stay within 5% of it.
• Visit your doctor regularly as it is important to pick up organ problems and cancers as early as possible.
• Optimise anti-oxidants.
• Keep hormones balanced.
• Drink a liter and a half of water per day.
• Keep a youthful outlook because if you think young, you stay young……?

The idea of a Fountain of Youth that will keep us young forever is as old as history itself and unfortunately has not been discovered yet. The complete prevention or reversal of ageing will not happen in our lifetime but the desire to reverse the signs of ageing still make people use strange and wonderful remedies and potions.

Perhaps a better option would be to follow a good daily beauty routine, stress less, laugh more and enjoy the outdoors with a SPF 30!

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