Skin ageing is a complex natural process that occurs because of inborn or natural factors (hormones, cellular metabolism, genetics and metabolic processes) or external factors (chemicals, pollution, long-term exposure to light, toxins and ionising radiation).1 The skin ageing process that is controlled by genetics is known as intrinsic ageing, while environmentally induced ageing is known as extrinsic ageing or photo-ageing.1
Fine wrinkles and a thinner epidermis (the outermost layer of skin in the body) are common signs of intrinsic ageing as people become older.2 Anti-aging is a therapeutic process that requires several steps as it is a combination of several methods for the restoration of different layers of skin.1 There is a rise in demand for healthier options for anti-ageing skincare approaches. This includes exploring the relevance and potential of diverse natural resources.2 Read along to find out some home remedies that can come in handy.
What Causes Ageing?
Biologically, ageing occurs due to the build-up of a range of molecular and cellular injuries over time. As a result, there is a gradual reduction in the physical and mental capacities of individuals as well as an increased risk of disease and eventually death. These changes are not constant and are only related to a person’s age in years.3 The surroundings in which people grow up along with their traits influence how they age in the long run. There are two types of factors that cause ageing; these are intrinsic and extrinsic factors. There are different pathways and mechanisms for intrinsic and extrinsic ageing, but there is synergy in the effect of both the types for every individual.2
The ageing of skin and hair occurs due to intrinsic factors that are determined by genetic factors. It is an inevitable process due to internal physiological factors and is called chronologic or intrinsic ageing. It is a natural skin ageing process.2
The external factors that are related to our environment cause extrinsic ageing or photo-ageing. The process occurs when the skin is deeply impacted by external harmful agents. It is characterised by skin laxity (this occurs when the skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag), deep wrinkles, the appearance of lentigines (pale brown to dark brown spots in sun-exposed areas of skin) and telangiectasias (enlarged or broken blood vessels present at the surface of the skin). Photo-ageing mainly occurs due to long periods of exposure to the sun.2
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Symptoms of Ageing:
The changes that can be noticed in your skin due to ageing are:
Your skin becomes thin, less elastic and more fragile.
Your skin is more susceptible to bruising, which is identified as skin discolouration from a skin or tissue injury.
Skin tags (small growths of skin that develop over the surface of the skin), wrinkles and age spots become very common as you age.
You are prone to having saggy and dry skin in the body.2,4
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Suggested Home Remedies for Anti-Ageing:
Several natural and sustainable remedies are available for anti-ageing. Several measures that involve simple changes in lifestyle can be beneficial. These include avoiding excessive sun exposure, maintaining a healthy diet and following appropriate skin care practices.1,2 Different home remedies for anti-ageing include:
1. Moisturising Agents
The three types of moisturising agents are emollients, occlusives and humectants.2
Emollients are compounds that help to manage rough, dry skin and result in soft and smooth skin. Examples include cocoa butter, shea butter, kombo butter, murumuru butter, argan oil, avocado oil, broccoli oil, mango butter, cupuacu butter, almond oil, babassu oil, castor bean oil, chia seed oil, palm oil, olive oil, passion fruit oil, pomegranate oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and many others.2 Emollients have to be applied after washing your hands or after a shower, as this is a time when your skin requires more moisture.
Occlusives work by forming a physical barrier on the skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (loss of water through the outer layer of skin). Natural ingredients with occlusive properties include oils such as jojoba oil, coconut oil and olive oil and waxes such as candelilla wax, jojoba oil or beeswax.2 To use as a moisturiser, it is better to use occlusive ingredients along with light ingredients like humectants, as occlusive ingredients can produce a greasy or heavy feeling when applied to the skin.
Humectants function by extracting water from the inner layers of skin towards the outer layer and also binding water vapour from the atmosphere. Examples of humectants are hyaluronic acid, honey, glycerine, glycerol, sorbitol and honey.2 The humectant must be applied right after taking a bath and when your skin is still wet. It must be taken in your palm and rubbed before applying it to the face. You can apply a humectant film to your face and let it absorb.
Anti-oxidants nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage by substituting for the skin components that free radicals normally destroy. Anti-oxidants can be grouped into water-soluble anti-oxidants and oil-soluble anti-oxidants. Water-soluble anti-oxidants include vitamin C, coffeeberry, green tea and glutathione. Oil-soluble anti-oxidants include vitamin E and vitamin A.2
Red wine has anti-ageing properties and is present in different anti-oxidant skincare formulations. Apart from this compound, certain compounds present in peanuts and alfalfa sprouts help to manage and prevent wrinkles due to ageing.2 There are two ways to take anti-oxidants for skin, i.e., dietary inclusion and topical application.
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Vitamins play an essential role in skincare. Vitamins that are commonly used in skincare include vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, firming up the skin and lightening fine lines, scars or wrinkles.2
Vitamin E helps to neutralise free radicals and also helps to soften the skin.2
Vitamin A boosts collagen production, hence reducing wrinkles that occur due to natural ageing.2
Vitamin B3 helps in anti-ageing and is essential in reducing wrinkles or fine lines, and also helps to manage and prevent sunspots.2
There are two ways to use vitamins for skin—oral intake and topical application.
4. Hydroxy Acids
These acids are also referred to as fruit acids. They are known due to their anti-ageing effects, such as reducing fine wrinkles, spots, discoloured skin and dryness. Hydroxy acids are grouped into alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids.2
The alpha-hydroxy acid group includes citric acid (obtained from citrus fruits), lactic acid (obtained from fermented fruits), glycolic acid (obtained from sugarcane), and tartaric acid (obtained from grapes) and malic acid (from fruits).2
Alpha-hydroxy acids are helpful in managing dry and ageing skin. Beta-hydroxy acids can be used on oily and acne-prone skin.2 Topical applications of alpha-hydroxy acids can be used for skin care.
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5. Sunblock Ingredients
Sunburns, dark patches, discolourations, sagging or leathering, and wrinkles are all caused by ultraviolet (UV) B radiation, which is a shorter wave UV ray. Several natural remedies are known to protect from sun exposure. These include aloe vera, coconut oil, ginger, green tea, shea butter, vitamin E, caffeic acid and tamanu oil.2 Topical applications of these herbs can be made for skin care in the following manner:
Aloe vera: Clean your face and dry it. Now, with clean fingers, apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to your face. Leave it on the skin for some time and rinse it later.
Coconut oil: You can use a small amount of coconut oil and apply it evenly and let it absorb into the skin completely before applying anything else on the skin.
Ginger: Rub a small slice of fresh ginger on the skin for anti-ageing benefits for the skin.
Green tea: After drinking green tea, you can take the leftover tea on a cotton swab and dab it onto your face.
Shea butter: You can apply shea butter directly to your skin using your fingers until it’s completely absorbed.
Vitamin E: Massaging vitamin E oil on your skin can be helpful.
Caffeic acid: It can be applied topically to the skin.
Tamanu oil: You can apply Tamanu oil directly to your skin using your fingers until it’s completely absorbed.
Some sunscreen can be taken and applied to your face. You can use a moisturiser after applying sunscreen. Sunscreen can be used every day before you are exposed to the sun.
6. Skin Lightening Agents
These agents work by decreasing the quantity of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin pigmentation). Skin lightening agents are helpful in skin problems such as dark age spots, dullness and hyper-pigmentation, which are common conditions associated with ageing. Several natural agents are used as skin lightening agents, such as white mulberry extract, bearberry extract, vitamin B3, liquorice extract, citrus extract and Indian gooseberry.2 These agents can be mixed with ingredients such as yoghurt and honey and then applied to the face.
7. Barrier Repair Agents
These are useful ingredients in the skincare regimen for strengthening skin barrier function and boosting overall skin health. Natural oils have fatty acids that play an important role in maintaining the skin barrier and preventing ageing.2
The two groups of essential fatty acids include omega-3s and omega-6s. Omega-3s are present in flaxseed oil, chia oil and walnut oil. Omega-6s are present in safflower oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil and evening primrose oil.2 A few drops of these oils can be taken on your palm, rubbed to make it warm and then massaged on your face.
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When to Seek Medical Help?
You can visit the doctor in the following cases:
The bruising tendency in older people is more compared to that of younger individuals. A few medicines might also lead to bruising. It is essential to visit your doctor if you find bruises on your body and do not know how you got them despite having your skin covered with clothing.4
Consult your dermatologist (skin and hair doctor) or physician if you are concerned about your wrinkles.4
Age spots and skin tags usually do not cause any harm. However, at times, skin tags can become infected. If you are bothered by age spots or skin tags, consult your doctor about getting them removed.4
A variety of lifestyle measures such as avoiding excessive sun exposure, maintaining a healthy diet and following appropriate anti-ageing skincare practices can help in graceful ageing. With age, a lot of changes can be observed in the skin, such as less elasticity, thin and more fragile skin. Skin becomes more susceptible to bruising. Age spots and skin tags become very common as you age. With age, you can also develop dry skin. Natural ingredients are considered safe and effective for managing the symptoms of ageing. Home remedies such as cocoa butter, avocado oil, almond oil, castor oil, honey, jojoba oil, beeswax, green tea, shea butter, oats, turmeric and sunflower oil can be used on the face for anti-ageing benefits. It is essential to consult your physician if your condition starts affecting your mental health or if there are visible signs of premature ageing.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the lifestyle changes that can be made to delay signs of ageing?
Avoiding smoking, overexposure to the sun, stress, following proper nutrition and physical activity and maintaining general health are some ways to delay signs of ageing.1
What are age spots?
Age spots, also called liver spots, are flat, brown spots associated with ageing. These occur mostly due to long periods of exposure to the sun. They are bigger than freckles in appearance and commonly develop on the face, arms, hands, feet and back. Using sunscreen can help to prevent age spots.2,4
How do vitamins help in anti-ageing?
An anti-ageing skincare routine generally consists of vitamins along with other components. These can enhance skin texture and elasticity. Vitamins are vital for skin care as they reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Some of the commonly used vitamins in skincare include vitamins A, E and C. Vitamins can either be consumed or applied topically for benefits.2
What changes can be observed on the skin due to ageing?
With age, the skin becomes thinner and losses elasticity and even becomes more fragile as the fatty tissue content below the skin reduces. There is also reduced production of natural oils that makes the skin drier. Some of the visible signs of skin ageing are age spots, wrinkles and small growths called skin tags.4