A Wrinkle In Time

Ageing of the skin is a natural process, and can be divided into natural ageing and photo ageing. While it is impossible to stop the ageing clock completely, it is entirely possible to delay or prolong the process. Wrinkles anywhere on the skin, when visible, make an individual appear older. They can be unsightly and, especially if they occur in a younger person, can negatively impact the psyche of the individual. 

Today, with so much awareness about the beauty and anti-ageing industry, nobody wants to “look old”, especially before their time. Neck wrinkles, in particular, can be aesthetically unappealing. The age of the face and neck can start to look different and there is an imbalance in one’s appearance. Wrinkles are caused by the depletion of collagen and elastin, which naturally keep the skin firm, in the deeper layers of the skin, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle.

Some other causes of wrinkling include:

•    Sun damage
•    Smoking
•    Poor diet
•    Dehydration
•    Oxidative stress
•    Pollution
•    Facial expressions
•    Natural ageing
•    Sleeping on one’s side

So what can one do to keep wrinkles of the neck at bay? Awareness about skin care from an early age is a must. Following are a few tips on how to delay the onset and progression of neck wrinkles.

Skin care: Treat the neck as a continuation of the face, without giving in the step motherly treatment. Whatever goes on the face to clean, beautify and moisturise it should include the neck too. Intense moisturising helps. Moisturising masks also provide good hydration and keep the skin supple. One could use coconut, argan, olive, jojoba or grape seed oil, according to what suits your skin type. Medicated body butters or moisturisers are good as well.

Protect the delicate skin of the neck from sun damage with a paraben-free sunscreen, suited to the skin type. Use sunscreen with an SPF 30-50, and reapply at least thrice a day. This is especially important if one travels to the mountains or a beach.

Personal care: Stop smoking. Smoking hastens all the signs of ageing and makes the skin look prematurely old.

Sleep well: Let your body and skin rest and repair itself. Around eight hours of sleep every night is ideal for skin health.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Take supplements: Antioxidants like green tea, spinach, walnuts, almonds, kiwis, beans, tomatoes, etc. prevent premature wrinkling. Gelatine supplements which contain collagen are also good. Fermented cod liver oil is a powerful systemic sunscreen and skin nourisher.

Eat healthy: A balanced diet with vegetables and fruits is a must. They contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that are extremely important for a healthy skin. Fish and soy are advisable as well.

Home remedies-

•    Banana and papaya masks are rich in minerals and hydrate the skin well.
•    Egg white, lemon, and honey pack does wonders in infusing minerals, vitamin C, and hydrating the skin.
•    Aloe vera juice, when applied to the skin, acts as an intense repair and hydration fix.
•    Massage and simple acupuncture go a long way towards preventing wrinkles.

Simple, minimal invasive cosmetic procedures-

•    Chemical peel: This is a safe, easy-to-perform procedure, which helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It promotes gentle removal of the dead skin and stimulates collagen production.
•    Microdermabrasion: This is a safe, machine-led treatment for fine lines and wrinkles that stimulates collagen production.

•    Photofacials: Help improve the texture and maintenance of photo-damaged skin.
•    Lasers: Resurfacing of the skin and development of lost collagen.
•    Botulinum Toxin BOTOX TM: This is one of the only treatments used to make dynamic wrinkles disappear those which show on movement.
•    Fillers: Also one of the treatments used to remove wrinkles which have already formed, by filling them with a substance that is naturally present in the body hyaluronic acid.
•    Platelet Rich Plasma treatment (PRP): This uses one’s own blood and the growth factors from it to release stem cells to prevent and treat wrinkles.
•    Mesotherapy: This treatment uses micro-injections of an anti-wrinkle medicine to prevent wrinkling.
•    Skin care medicines: There are a lot of cosmeceuticals available in the market, claiming to delay the onset of wrinkles.

Apart from antioxidant tablets, there are anti-wrinkle creams and serums, topical vitamin C serums, and retinoid creams that act as anti-ageing products. Ageing is an ongoing, natural process, but we can adopt a multi-targeted approach to slow down the ageing clock.

- Dr Gulhima Arora, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist