A few generations ago, premature aging was unheard of. However, today it is a widely prevalent problem; and it would not be a fallacy to state that it is only set to increase in the coming years. The causes of this are manifold and interrelated, resulting in a complex web that is difficult to break out of.
Middle Eastern skin does not have a natural predisposition to aging early by way of wrinkles and fine lines, but exposure to the harsh sun often results in uneven skin tone and dark spots. However, a study conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation proves that the Middle East has high smoking prevalence. Not only is premature aging common in smokers, it is also rampant amongst those that passive smoke, thereby rendering most of the Middle Eastern population susceptible to toxic damage to the skin.
Most Common Extrinsic Causes of Premature Skin Aging
Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun is considered to be the central reason for premature skin aging and is more prevalent in warmer climates. While Middle Eastern skin is naturally endowed with more melanin, which keeps it better protected from the harmful radiations of the sun than Caucasian skin, long term exposure causes severe and, sometimes, irreversible damage to the skin. The effects of Photoaging are characterized by rough, coriaceous skin with age spots, loose skin, fine wrinkles, blotchy complexion and spider veins. Exposure to Ultraviolet A radiation is mostly related to long term skin damage, while Ultraviolet B is known to cause immediate damage by way of causing sunburns.
Lifestyle: Modern lifestyle choices, such as alcohol and nicotine abuse, along with high intake of caffeine, have direct impact on skin health. Along with this, long term psychological stress, lack of sleep, lack of hydration and overuse of make-up can also lead to early aging. The typical sedentary lifestyle of today's office goers and exposure to free radicals in the urban polluted air are also some of the reasons of premature skin aging.
Tips on Prevention of Premature Skin Aging
Dr. Vandana Kadam, a cosmetic dermatologist at Kaya Skin Clinic, offers tips on skin aging. She says that while there are some precautionary actions that apply to all, other more nuanced measures must be devised post consultation with a dermatologist on the basis of age and skin type. She states categorically that there is no age for sun damage. It could start in childhood and manifest in the twenties. Therefore, it is recommended that a dermatologist be consulted as early as possible.
Dr. Kadam stresses on the importance of cleansing, toning and moisturizing for everyone, along with dedicated use of a broad spectrum sun block that offers protection against UV A and B radiation. She sheds light on the optimal use of sun block by stating that it should be applied not longer than half an hour before leaving the house, followed by reapplication every two hours. She also recommends the use of Vitamin C as an antioxidant. Other than this, she says it is best to wear protective clothing and avoid being outdoors from 10am to 2pm.
She underscores the importance of special care after the age of 30, as this is when a woman’s skin begins to thin and collagen production is reduced, resulting in slower regeneration. The use of alpha and beta hydroxy acid is highly recommended, as well as glycolic acid peels that help thicken the skin and prevent sagging. Dr. Kadam also recommends the use of retinol, which is known to be an anti-aging superhero. Other than this, over the counter products containing stem cell extracts and peptides could also help in keeping age lines at bay.
These useful aging should help to prevent premature wrinkles and fine lines. However, in case you require treatment for existing damage, there are many services available to help reduce these signs. Other than regular facials with fruit extracts, scientific advancements allow for photofacials, fraxal laser, dermaroller, mesotherapy, etc, which help mitigate the signs of aging. A more advanced alternative to the popular botox therapy is thread lifting, which lasts longer and gives better results.