Anti-ageing

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UNDERSTANDING THE AGEING PROCESS AND TREATMENT – ANTI-AGEING

“A curious thing about ageing is that everyone knows what it looks like, but no one seems to know what it is.”

Peter T. Pugliese, M.D.8

anti-aging-4The ageing process extends into all cellular regions of the body and mind. Additionally it is far reaching into the social and economical sectors of everyday life. Modern viewpoints including stereotyping are reflective of the society in which one resides. This article focuses on health and the care of ageing skin. It may be appropriate at this point to present some historical aspects to gain a greater insight into a grander picture of what the 55+ generations may be facing as they strive to remain healthy and continue working longer than what was traditionally considered retirement age. Undoubtedly a clearer understanding of the ageing progression goes way beyond the depth of a wrinkle! No matter where one lives, a key to healthy ageing is to be able to journey through this phase of one’s life in a functional and healthy manner to ensure a quality of life into older years. Successful ageing requires developing healthy habits, including taking care of our skin, along with receiving a positive influence from those closest to us as well as from society.

Society and Social Viewpoints

Older individuals in some societies, especially after the age of 60, may be viewed as feeble, or becoming a burden to society, or have little to contribute despite their level of skill and education. This is sometimes re-enforced with media and fashion advertising that focuses on beauty and youth. Research has shown that across most cultures and nations, the increase of urban industrialisation increased these perceptions.³ The more “urban” a society became, the greater the increase of older persons who lost their ground for economic security.3 It wasn’t always this way.

During colonial times, elders were respected and were looked upon as individuals who conveyed skills, wisdom, and tradition to younger generations.7 Older people at that time were also in the minority due to a lower life span. Additionally, they lived with their children or grandchildren or even in the same community. No longer are there multi-generational households in modern-day society, especially in more urbanised regions. The elderly lost their status within the family unit. At one time, they may have helped with child rearing, or with important decisions that involved the entire family.

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought about countless social changes. It also contributed to stereotyping and may have unfortunately contributed to building lines of separation between “young” and “old”. Mandatory retirement laws forced older workers to retire even when they were capable of continuing to be productive. Younger, healthier labourers were chosen to work in factories. Consequently, these laws often forced people into poverty when the breadwinner could no longer earn a wage.3 Fortunately, mandatory retirement regulations have changed throughout this century with newer paradigm shifts that suggest that people in their early 60s are as healthy as those in their mid fifties a few decades ago.5

How Old Is Old? Cultural variations

It is undeniable that we are faced with several objectives when exploring the ageing process. Attitude, acceptance, and what we do with it all varies with personal and cultural viewpoints.9 Cultural viewpoints about getting older were found to be associated with four key aspects of ageing.4

{1} Physical Health and Functioning

Successful ageing is seen as older people having energy, vitality, and interesting activities. They are able to maintain health and strength to carry on their daily activities. Physical decline means loss of mobility, frailty, and signals a deteriorating quality of life.4

{2} Financial & Material Security

Quality of living implies optimum health and financial/material security as being important. Material security can be defined differently across various cultures. A more consistent theme refers to subsistence and the assurance that food is available along with safe, warm shelter. Many countries focus on pensions and old age benefits, retirement, money and the accumulation of material wealth to ensure quality of life into old age. 4

{3} Family and Kinship

A key safety net for growing older is one’s relationships, especially with family. Some cultures traditionally delegate this responsibility to one selected son who upon marriage, resides with his parents and helps manage a common household.4

In many western cultures, problematic aging can be a result of the absence of a family. Moreover, family members may be estranged from their elders. Families in these cultures play less of a central role in providing economic and physical support of older kinfolk. Additionally, a change in job status of a family member can easily place distance between elder relations and the close ties that come with living nearby. There is a special family connection when there is close companionship with trusted relations. And no matter what the distance, many families support the interests of their children and grandchildren.4

{4} Social & Quality of Ageing

anti-aging-5The aspect of “community” is highly important as social connection supports both the emotional and physical requirements of belonging and feeling valued. A sense of belonging is essential to the well being of all individuals, including the elderly. Many seniors may also philosophically look upon getting older as contentment, peace, relaxation, toleration, reflection and the freedom to do what they wish.4

Researchers concur that there are turning points in life, especially in our mid-40s where we begin to notice subtle changes that include increased feelings that we are losing our autonomy (independence), the inability to withstand external pressure, and the perturbations (worries) about everyday life.3 The way we age is dependent upon the way we live. Keeping an active mind and body is paramount to a happier, healthier life. The healthiest societies tend to work through these stages of life through various means continuing on with quality of living into an older age.

The biological – Theories on Ageing

There are numerous theories of why an individual actually ages. We will address two key theories.

Molecular and genetic theories

Humans are born with genetic encoding that predetermines physical and mental functioning.8 Genes determine the rate of ageing and length of life. Scientific studies suggest, however, that only about 25 percent of our life expectancy is determined by our genes. The rest of the 75 percent depends upon our overall environment, lifestyles and the daily choices we make including our thoughts, exercise and activity, and good food choices.9

Cellular theories

When determining the rate by which an individual ages, we should be aware of the underlying levels of cellular ageing (biological ageing). It is very different than chronological ageing. We may be 40. Due to our lifestyle and amount of environmental exposure, especially to the sun, there can be an acceleration of cellular ageing. Our cells may really be 10 years older!

There are five levels of cellular damage that can easily begin in our earlier years.1 The rate at which this occurs manifests in our skin, which is a billboard for our internal health. Depending upon the level of biological aging, the skin may show deep wrinkles, become mottled (blotchy), look thinner, sag, and lose its lustre.

  • Oxidative Stress (free radicals) and Lipid Peroxidation: Free radicals attack cell membranes and end up cross-linking proteins and lipids to create substances known as lipofuscins.8 Oxidative stress begins early in life. Normally our body has the capacity for cellular repair. This ability becomes reduced, however, based on the accumulative affect of oxidative stress and also our age. Eventually, it affects the cellular DNA impairing cellular function leading to cellular senescence or even cancer.
  • Mitochondria DNA damage: Accumulative damage can move to the mitochondria that is the cell’s energy source. Mitochondria are responsible for many cellular activities including the oxidation of food molecules to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), a molecular energy source.1 The high activity of the mitochondria naturally leads to the formation of damaging free radical injury. Their metabolic activity consumes most of the oxygen you breathe. Furthermore, they lack the repair mechanisms found in other parts of the cell.8 Be mindful that whenever there are metabolic biochemical reactions in the body, there is a certain amount of oxidative stress (free radical activity). It is the excess accumulation of this activity that raises a flag for premature cellular ageing.
  • Mitochondrial Ageing and Cellular Senescence: When there is excessive oxidative damage and the mitochondria no longer function properly, this eventually causes malfunction throughout the entire cell. DNA becomes damaged by numerous environmental assaults, which leads to forming cell mutations during cell mitosis (division). The repair mechanisms cannot keep up with the rate of damage and the cell ends up going into a state of senescence. This state also can lead to cancer. Researchers also confirm that there are over 28 diseases related to mitochondrial damage and biological ageing.8

Ageing and Balance

“Life can be extended through practicing moderation.” Luigi Cornaro, 1550 – The Art of Living Long10

Ageing begins at birth. It has been defined as a balance between the individual and the environment. Throughout our life we accumulate various changes and characteristics that begin to mold us including our thinking, our creativity, how we react in life and how we cope.

Robert Kane, M.D. and director of the Centre on Ageing and the Minnesota Geriatric Education Centre, defines ageing “as loss of coping mechanism, a failure to be able to maintain internal control and balance”.2 He continues, “old age is another period when the balance favours the environment; older people require help in protecting themselves.”

During a remarkable study directed by Dan Buettner – Blue Zones – he and his research team searched the globe looking for the prescription for success and happiness when it comes to longevity. What they discovered were five regions they called the “blue zones” where they found people living the longest and healthiest. What they also concluded is that a key controllable factor for longevity and health is where we live – not education, marital status, and wealth.2 Called Power 9®, there are basic attributes that permeate amid these long-lived people. Consequently we love this formula for healthy ageing.

  1. Move naturally – get out and walk.
  2. Know your purpose – know the reason why you are living in the first place.
  3. Slow down – chronic inflammation is caused by stress. It is related to every age-related major disease. Take time everyday to meditate, rest, pray, or enjoy a happy hour with friends.
  4. 80% rule – cut your calories.
  5. Plant (Food) power – colour your immunity. Eat a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening.
  6. Red wine (in moderation) – for antioxidant benefits. Consume with a plant-based meal. There are also non-alcoholic grape beverages that are high in resveratrol and elagic acid that have anti-inflammatory benefits.
  7. Family first – living in a thriving family adds years onto your life expectancy.
  8. Belong – reconnect and remain in a faith-based spiritual community. It does not matter what your denomination. A key is to participate in a spiritual community.
  9. Add years to your life. Choose your friends carefully. Hang out with people who support healthy behaviors and possess a sense of commitment and positive support to one another.2

dermaviduals® and Ageing

anti-aging-1A powerful approach to ageing is to embrace the realisation that we cannot stop this inevitable process. Instead, and thanks to modern scientific research and education, we now have greater understanding of how to care for our skin and our body in order to experience optimal vitality and health. This ultimately contributes to the way our skin looks and feels. Based on the field of corneotherapy, there is a great deal of new scientific research involving the importance of maintaining a healthy skin. It also confirms that we must protect the skin barrier at all times without being overly aggressive with skin treatments.

The skin barrier

Maintaining a healthy and functioning barrier provides overall protection against dehydration, the penetration of germs, allergens, irritants, oxidative stress, and excessive ultra violet radiation. Application of products based on the theories of corneotherapy supports a gradual healing of any inflammation and other conditions that impair the barrier function. As stated earlier, there is a lessening of the cell function in ageing skin. Nevertheless, we know that we can make both external and internal adjustments to alter the affects of the ageing process. This indeed supports cell functioning and repair with improved immune response and rebuilding of the skin barrier.

Supportive regenerating ingredients – outside to inside therapy

anti-aging-2Skin care products should be formulated with mimetic agents that compliment the skin. The dermal membrane structure in the barrier layers of the stratum corneum consists of ceramides, cholesterol and palmitic acid.6 They are naturally found in the skin bilayers that are responsible for maintaining the natural moisturizing factors (NMF) and continued regenerating of a strong skin defence. A resilient barrier increases the probability that the underlying skin structures are able to function correctly. Based on the research of Professor A. Kligman, moisturising substances may contribute to stabilising the skin barrier leading to greater results.6 He called it Corneotherapy: “outside to inside” therapy.

“Whenever you see inflamed skin, regardless of cause, the stratum corneum is leaky and permeable. But, if you repair the stratum corneum, that tells the underlying tissues that they don’t have to keep reacting like there’s danger in the environment.”

Albert Kligman, M.D., Ph.D. 1916-2010

Sadly Kligman passed away in 2010 but the science behind his groundbreaking work is now being carried on by dermaviduals®. The long term effects after a therapeutic treatment of the horny layer with appropriate skin care substances can deliver results without harmful side effects.

Skin requires supporting substances for regeneration. In ageing skin this becomes a key factor in compensating for the biological changes that occur within the cells during each phase of ageing. A key to corneotherapy is to recognise and eliminate substances that can inhibit/interfere with this regeneration process.

  • Perfumes – the number one allergen in skin care products.
  • Preservatives – contain allergen-causing substances.
  • Mineral Oil and non-volatile silicones – high concentrations can affect the skin regeneration process.
  • Emulsifiers may cause barrier disorders.
Anti-Ageing Actives Function
Hyaluronic Acid & Hyaluronic Acid Liposome Plus Skin-tightening, moisturising
Para cress liposomes (anti-wrinkle serum) Helps reduce wrinkles by relaxing muscle contractions
Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) Influences collagen synthesis
Helps reduce wrinkles
Green tea Anti-oxidant, improves microcirculation, anti-inflammatory
Grape seed extract Radical scavengers
Phytohormones Red clover liposomes (oestrogen like effects); supports collagen structures
Essential fatty acids Linoleic acid (omega-6) is an essential corneotherapeutic component and is most beneficial as phosphatidylcholine (liposomes, nanoparticles).  It also exists in the stratum corneum as Ceramide1 that is vital for the barrier.  Refer to our topic on Essential Fatty Acids under “Your Skin Advisor” to review them.
Vitamins A, C, E, B, D, Coenzyme Q10, 
d-Panthenol
Antioxidants, stimulation of cell growth and collagen synthesis, help reduction of inflammation, support hydration
Boswellia Inhibits collagenase (enzyme that destroys collagen), anti-inflammatory.

 

The Skin Analysis

anti-aging-3It is of prime importance to conduct a detailed skin analysis prior to beginning treatment. There are newer modular measuring instruments that assist the skin treatment therapist in retrieving diagnostic information. They measure skin hydration, lipid content, transepidermal water loss, elasticity, melanin, and skin redness. This supplies vital information that helps determine the level of damage in the skin and also develop an effective skin management corrective program. We will conclude with a suggested therapy for aged, dried, and elderly skin.

Skin Cleansing
Toning
Low-foaming liquid cleanser such as DMS Cleansing Milk or Total Cleansing Cream.
Face tonic containing d-Panthenol and Lotion N or Lotion M prepares the skin for the penetration of actives as well as increased dosage of linoleic acid – essential for skin health
Exfoliation Enzymes, the same as those found in papaya, pineapple, and clay minerals dissolve buildup on the corneum via a proteolytic action.  At home, use dermaviduals® peeling cream once a week.
Active agents
  • Hyaluronic Acid Liposomes Plus
  • Phytohormone (Red clover) liposomes
  • NMF liposomes
  • Boswellia has a dual benefit of reducing redness and collagen production
  • A range of vitamins A, C, E with d-panthenol
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Grapeseed Extract
  • Co-enzyme Q10

 

References

  1. Barrett-Hill, F. (2005). Advanced Skin Analysis. Virtual Beauty Corporation, New Zealand.
  2. Buettner, D. (2008). Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. National Geographic.
  3. Egendorf, L. (2002). An Aging Population. http://www.enotes.com/aging-population-article/
  4. Fry. C., et al (2008). Culture, Aging and Context. Chapter 5 – Culture and the Meaning of A good Old Age. pp. 14, 102, 105 Retrieved from http://www.usfsp.edu/~jsokolov/webbook/fry.pdf
  5. Gokhale, J. (9 September 2004). Mandatory Retirement Age Rules: Is It Time To Re-evaluate? The CATO Institute presentation to the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate. Retrieved from http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-jg040909.html
  6. Lautenschläger, H. (2007) Applied Corneotherapy and skin care: Guidelines for the anti-aging treatment. Ästhetische Dermatologie (3), 8-16.
  7. Lockenhoff, C, et al. Perceptions of Aging across 26 Cultures and their Culture-Level Associates. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20025408
  8. Pugliese, P.T. (2005) Advanced Professional Skin Care – Medical Edition. The Topical Agent, LLC, Bernville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. pp 244-246
  9. Zani, A. (June 2011). Timeless Traditions… Healthy Life. Dermascope Magazine. p 77
  10. A Venetian nobleman, Luigi Cornaro (1464-1566) discovered a way to stay healthy and alert. He chose to live a balanced life, eat a healthy diet and lived to be 102 when the average life span during that era was 40.

Disclaimer

This dossier has been prepared on behalf of dermaviduals Australia and New Zealand as a reference that relates to various skin conditions. In no way does it replace the advice of your medical practitioner or a dermatologist. All views represent the research and findings of the writer in conjunction with derma aesthetics.

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