Signs of ageing - and how you might tackle them
Attitudes towards ageing are thankfully changing in recent years. Beauty companies are casting older models to promote their products and the language has shifted from ‘anti-ageing’ to ‘positive-ageing’.
Happily, attitudes have also evolved when it comes to treatments that might slow down the ageing process. While we all agree we cannot turn back time, we’re also less ashamed to admit to trying.
So, what exactly are the tell-tale signs of ageing, and how can you treat them?
What are the common signs of ageing?
Hair loss is one of the most common signs of ageing in men, but it can affect women too due to a drop in oestrogen levels in later life. It may be referred to as male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia. In men it can start as early as in the 20s, with some men losing all their hair. For others it may start thinning just at the hairline, forming an M shape.
Sun exposure, lifestyle habits (such as smoking and drinking) and simply years of moving our faces mean wrinkles will develop as you age. As collagen production slows down our skin starts to look thinner, less plump and wrinkles start to show. Wrinkly and loose skin appears across the whole body, from the hands and neck, as well as creating deep facial lines.
Skin blemishes, such as age spots or liver spots, form over time and often show up as brown patches or dark spots on the face and skin. These get more noticeable as you age on areas regularly exposed to the sun such as the chest, arms, and face.
Hyperpigmentation is when patches of the skin become darker than the surrounding areas. It can affect people of all ages but often presents in older people. It is especially common on the face and hands and is often a result of too much sun exposure.
What causes these changes?
When we’re young, our skin is more supple and holds on to moisture well thanks to high levels of elastin and the protein collagen.
As we age, the middle layer of our skin (the dermis) loses collagen and elastin, meaning it gets thinner and struggles to get enough moisture to the top layer (the epidermis).
Fat in the innermost layer of our skin (the subcutaneous) can also begin to disappear. This can cause sagging and wrinkles.
Hormonal changes can also have an impact. Women’s oestrogen levels decline over time and during menopause, which accelerates skin ageing.
Other factors that affect lead to signs of ageing in your hair and skin include:
- Sun exposure.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Repeated facial expressions, such as frowning, squinting, and laughing.
How can I try to reverse the signs of ageing?
Creams and oils
Creams and oils may make the skin look and feel more hydrated and tauter temporarily, but they aren’t a permanent solution. One of the most effective anti-ageing creams you can buy is one with retinol as this can help to treat any fine lines and wrinkles. Makeup can also help with covering up any signs of ageing to add a glow, cover liver spots and conceal dark circles around the eyes.
Chemical peels can help to shed any dead skin cells and boost collagen production when the new skin comes through. This leads to a more even skin tone, including the reduction of age spots and getting rid of any dullness.
Botox and fillers
Botox and dermal filler injections are used to smooth lines, enhance the face shape, and add volume. They’re the top non-surgical cosmetic procedure worldwide for men and women and great for reducing the signs of ageing. Neither treatment is permanent though, and will need to be topped up every three to six months to maintain results.
Fine lines, age spots and minor scars (such as acne scars) can be tackled with microdermabrasion. The face is exfoliated with fine crystals before dead skin cells are vacuumed away. It can also be used on the neck, chest, back and hands.
This minimally invasive treatment brings lacklustre, ageing skin back to life with injections of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Mesotherapy also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to reduce sagging and wrinkling.
Hair is grafted (or transplanted) from the back of the head and moved to cover bald spots either on top of the head or around the hairline. A hair transplant won’t work if you have already lost all your hair as you need existing follicles to be transplanted.
Facelifts are often the ultimate answer for people wanting to prevent their face from ageing. The skin is pulled into a more taut and youthful position and secured in place. It’s a great solution for smoothing any jowls and wrinkles around the face and neck. Threadlifts are a less invasive option that can deliver similar results.
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