When the years go by

Youthful exuberance is associated with vigor and an all-round pleasing and aesthetic physical look. Ageing changes a lot of that in a plethora of less than appeasing ways; physical changes are less subtle as the outer skin layer thins even when the number of cell layers remains unchanged, melanocytes (Pigment-containing cells) decrease and the remaining cells increase in size. We are yet to know why we grow old although there are theories that seek to explain why. There is nothing conclusive. The aging skin looks thinner, paler and curiously translucent. Other signs involve textural distortions such as laxity (sagging), wrinkles, depigmentation, keratosis and a generally poor skin texture. 

For some; ageing is received with admirable grace, while for others, it’s an unwelcome sign of years gone by; and as a matter of medical concern, mental health or otherwise; ageing triggers panic because an old ragged skin doesn’t help the confidence. The nostalgia of youth is overwhelming and this isn’t only with the women, men are increasingly tempted by the allure of a youthful look, and so the use of anti-aging creams is on the rise in recent times. 

The cosmetic industry has sought to solve the problem with rigorous marketing of anti-ageing products with the promise of making the consumer look younger by reducing, masking or preventing signs of an ageing skin. Many products have been thought to remedy ageing for a while but none have been proven to have long standing or major positive effects. One study found that the best performing creams reduce wrinkles by less than 10% over 12 weeks which wasn’t noticeable to the human eye.

During ageing, the body loses its grip on its DNA (which begins to degenerate), but also extrinsically, it begins to lose its ability to retain water in the skin and therefore it’s no surprise that most anti-aging products have moisturizing agents. Some of the other ingredients in anti-ageing products include:

  1. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): Known to remove dead skin cells and reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. Peptides: Are known to signal cells to produce collagen.
  3. Coenzyme Q10: Influences cellular metabolism and improves cell function to combat ageing at the cellular level.
  4. Antioxidants: These neutralize free radicals known to cause cellular damage that leads to wrinkles. 
  5. Sunscreens: UVA radiations have been implicated in the process of wrinkle formation, so sunscreens that are able to filter and block the UVA are posited to help in reducing wrinkle formation.
  6. Vitamin C: Known to neutralize the free radicals that lead to high oxidative stress in the body. High oxidative stress is a cause of premature ageing because it creates a tired looking skin.
  7. Retinoid: These are known to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing production of collagen. They also help improve skin color by stimulating new blood vessels to ensure that the skin is well perforated, hence softening rough patches and blurring age spots.


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