Age-ophobia – Grow Old, Don’t Get Old

  • Accept that you are ‘growing’ old, not ‘getting’ old’; age gracefully; find purpose and meaning in your later life.
  • Don’t be drawn by the knife, that drives you back to the cosmetic surgeon for one expensive surgery after another.
  • Refuse to be a frumpy old codger – you are going to dress well, keep your hair neat, keep your teeth healthy and always look your best when you go out or entertain at home.

As I look at my mother, I am filled with pride, she has never ever used make-up, her skin even after she has touched 80, looks flawless, although she has gradually wizened and her hair has turned grey. The respect she earns for her looks is ‘incredible.’ Aging of the face and loss of sharp shape is but inevitable. Why go under the knife when you can age gracefully, advocating surgical procedures to retain youth, is that a good option after all?

Let me begin with my own poem, “Wrinkle With Time” which is published in the September 2019 issue of The International Poetry Digest Monthly:

An era of expensive synthetic flawlessness
Mature babies in egg-smooth complexions,
Crime to earn a wrinkle, sag or line
“Outing” bare faces not at all fine,
Saggy lids arrest with revival serum botox thin lips,
Don’t cry in alarm, I say authenticity still rocks
Natural, bare beauty talks,
Wrinkles are but sun lines, laugh lines in ton,
Normal wear and tear in the life of every human,
Don’t sport a stony, wooden face like a villain,
Add warmth, charisma, smile big, laugh aloud,
Deep grooved, distinguished, stand out in a crowd,
Let that wrinkle show up proud and clear,
Every wrinkle has a story to tell, so don’t fear,
Don’t lament the passage of time with a sigh,
Take pride of achievements as years pass by!

As we age, our skin loses its stores of collagen and elastin, the two proteins that provide skin with its structure and ability to stretch. As a result, skin becomes thinner, more fragile and begins to sag.

The book Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers, written by Leslie Bennetts, revealed the emotional turmoil the late star faced that led her to undergo multiple cosmetic procedures ( she once joked she had 739) during her lifetime. Betty White is just one in a lengthening line of Celebrities who have recently confessed to undergoing facial cosmetic surgery while vehemently denying it. Earlier, actress Nicole Kidman confessed that she received Botox injections while denying it to the press and her fans, Singer Michael Jackson represents the classic case of celebrity denial, undergoing repeated facial plastic surgery procedures while vehemently denying that he had ever had his appearance surgically altered.

The Grammy Award winning Artiste JayZ, sang “forever young, I wanna be forever young…Do you really wanna live forever?” First off, it is just silly to think anyone can live forever and secondly, why on earth will someone want to be forever young? Time waits for no one; aging is a natural process one can’t stop, so why not celebrate age and appearance, for what they are. As we age, our skin loses its stores of collagen and elastin, the two proteins that provide skin with its structure and ability to stretch. As a result, skin becomes thinner, more fragile and begins to sag. Decreased production of natural oils and exposure to sun contribute by making skin drier and more prone to wrinkles. According to WebMD, our skin is at the mercy of many forces as we age: sun, harsh weather, and bad habits. But we can take steps to help our skin stay supple and fresh-looking. How your skin ages will depend on a variety of factors: your lifestyle, diet, heredity, and other personal habits.

Albert Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 non-scientific works. His intellectual achievements and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with “genius”.

Jangy jowls and hanging cheeks are a source of chagrin as we age, to stop the droop people panic and rush to the knife. Long hours of exercising outdoors equals more UV exposure, which over time breaks collagen down. One must slather up with plenty of sunscreen before venturing outside, even in colder weather. According to one blog,celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau warns,”After sunlight and UV exposure, squishing your face into a pillow for approximately 2500 hours per year is like ironing wrinkles into the skin”. Gentle pillows help, numerous medical studies have shown that continuous pressure on your face and skin will result in the formation of wrinkles, acne and contributes to overall skin aging, instead of your face smashed against your pillow at night, your head is comfortably supported by a gentle pillow allowing your face and skin to be free from any harmful contact and breathe naturally.

Regular use of makeup, particularly in excess, can lead to early aging of the skin, oil based makeup can clog the skin pores leading to acne and pimples. It can also aggravate fine lines below and around eyes, which is a sign of aging. Talc based make up products when used, cause dryness of skin and early and more rapid wrinkling. Mineral make up products may contain bismuth oxy chloride. This can cause dryness, irritation and peeling of skin. In addition, various kind of chemicals present in different makeup products can cause loss of tone and elasticity of skin, resulting in early wrinkling, again a sign of aging. The aging process speed and level of damage can be controlled to an extent with simple home remedies.

As you age, you are at increased risk for skin injury. Your skin is thinner, more fragile, and you lose the protective fat layer. You also may be less able to sense touch, pressure, vibratio, heat and cold. Good nutrition and adequate fluids are very helpful. Dehydration increases the risk of skin injury. One health authority says:

“If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. As water is lost in large quantities every day, you need to replace it somehow. The unfortunate truth about drinking water and skin is that water will reach all the other organs before it reaches the skin. So, it’s important to apply water to our skin and keep it there – this will not only show a visible difference in hydration, but it can prevent wrinkles, as well.”

Aside from age, smoking is the strongest predictor of facial wrinkling in men and women. ‘Smoker’s lines’ are the vertical wrinkles around the mouth that come from pursing lips to draw on a cigarette over and over again. Crow’s feet are a common type of wrinkling that develops at the outer edges of the eyes. For smokers, this damage usually starts much earlier than it does for other people, who get crow’s feet as they age.

Stress can have a profound effect on your skin. If the cells that line your blood vessels age prematurely, you may end up with heart disease. If the cells of your immune system age prematurely, you will be more susceptible to everything from pneumonia to cancer. If the collagen cells that support your face age prematurely, your skin will lose its elasticity and wrinkle. Stress affects your entire body because it ages every cell in your body. Being a yoga practitioner, I would recommend practicing savasana, it requires only a quiet space, a comfortable surface to lie on, and a couple of props. For the basic pose, you’ll need a support for your head, such as a small pillow or folded blanket, and a rolled blanket or large pillow to support the backs of your knees.

Sleeping well is vital. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so a good night’s rest is essential for good skin health. Eat healthy, balanced diet rich in omega-3 Fatty acids and vitamins A,B,C and E that helps protect your skin from free radical damage, increases collagen production and reverses signs of aging remarkably. Eat plenty of fish, leafy green vegetables and nuts, drink fluids packed with powerful antioxidants.

Readers, what steps have you taken to grow gracefully with time?

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Madhavi Vudayagiri

Writing and reading has always been my hobby. I would never buy a greeting card to wish a family member or a close friend, instead I would compose a poem highlighting their qualities and greet them. Having been in the field of teaching, studying people is what I do best. Creative writing is my forte, in order to hone my creative gene, I acquired a diploma in creative writing. I love to probe people's minds and try and understand their thought process. This website seems to be just what I am looking for!


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