Dr. Anusree Gangopadhyay is an assistant professor at the R. G Kar Medical College, Kolkata. She has experience in clinical dermatology. Being a gold medalist in MBBS, MD in dermatology, she has earned a specialty certificate in Dermatology from the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (UK). Dr. Anusree Gangopadhyay is a consultant dermatologist at Fortis Hospital, Kolkata. Her special fields of interest are clinical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology. She has several publications to her credit and has presented the paper in various National and International conferences. She is a member of Cosmetic Dermatology Society Of India.
Here is the edited excerpts of the interview.
Team Zotezo: What is premature ageing?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: When we get older, our body recovery also slows down and it creates room for the different signs of ageing like wrinkles, dark circles, fatigue etc. to show. Premature ageing happens when the body shows signs of ageing before the age of 40 years. If signs of aging skin bothers you, it is never too late to visit a dermatologist. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are helping people have younger-looking skin.
Team Zotezo: What are the signs of premature ageing?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: The ageing process is different for different individuals, but there are certain signs which are considered as the premature signs of ageing.
1. Dry Skin: This is the first sign of premature ageing which can be noticed. With time dry or itchy skin may happen, which causes due to dehydration. This may result in noticeable loss of a glowing complexion which can be visible from the age of 25.
2. Wrinkles & Dark Circles: As people enter the age of 30’s their skin slows down the production of Collagen which is the skin shaping protein. Collagen helps your skin stay healthy and plump. With less collagen, ageing signs like wrinkles & dark circles around eyes, pigmentation & black spots are visible.
3. Loss of fat over cheeks and around eyes: If you notice the skin around your eyes and cheeks have become thinner, i.e. you are losing fat from these areas, then definitely it is a sign of premature ageing. This makes your face look exhausted and sick.
4. Thinning of hair / Baldness: Hair loss happens when the stem cells that trigger new hair growth in your hair follicles start dying. This generally occurs after the age of 50. But hormonal changes, stress, genetics or environmental factors like pollution may trigger baldness at an early age.
Team Zotezo: What are the causes of premature ageing?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: There are various factors which affect our body directly and cause the premature signs of ageing to occur.
1. Sun Exposure: Direct exposure to the sun can harm our skin very adversely. The harmful UV rays from the sun harm our DNA’s and causes signs like wrinkles, sun spots, sagging skin, dryness etc.
2. Stress: There is a direct relationship between stress and ageing. These days almost everyone suffers from stress (both physical and mental) and this has become a chronic condition. This leads to many people taking up the bad habit of smoking which reduces the oxygen flow to our skin. Thus Stress hormones and inflammation can age your body faster.
3. Medicines: Using certain medications like lithium , hydroxychloroquine etc. can cause the skin to become thinner and make blood vessels prone to rupture more easily causing multiple signs of ageing.
4. Poor Nutrition: Consuming lots of highly processed or sugary foods can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar which can trigger chronic, low-grade inflammation at the cellular level. This hidden inflammation can in turn speed up skin aging through a process called glycation, which is a marker for ageing.
5. Lifestyle Diseases: Lifestyle diseases like hypothyroidism, diabetes is caused by leading an unhealthy lifestyle. These diseases may cause cause rapid premature aging and a shortened life span.
Team Zotezo: Can we take any precautionary measures to avoid premature ageing?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: There are some precautions that one can take to address the signs of ageing.
a) Using Sunscreen: One must wear sunscreen containing at least SPF 30, to create a shield from ageing. Regular use of sunscreen can protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
b) Using Moisturizer: Pay attention to not just your face but also your entire body. A skin care routine for the body also must be followed. Make sure to apply a moisturizing lotion with SPF to your body.
c) Balanced Diet: A balanced diet rich in antioxidants, with lots of fresh fruits, less red meat , more fish, chicken should be taken. Amidst all these, water is a must which keeps your skin hydrated and looking healthy.
d) Proper Sleep Schedule: A good night’s sleep (minimum of 7 hours) is essential for the skin to heal and renew itself daily. This is a precaution that must be taken to avoid the signs of premature ageing. Along with adequate sleep, proper exercising also should be incorporated in one’s daily routine.
Team Zotezo: At what age should one start taking these measures?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: “It’s never too early to look ahead, so measures should be taken from the age of 25″. Anti-aging products provide many benefits to the skin as it ages. These products can be incorporated into your everyday routine in your early 20’s.
Team Zotezo: Do you want to suggest any diet for premature ageing?
Dr. Gangopadhyay: “You probably know the basics of a healthy diet” — lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins like fish and chicken, whole grains, some low-fat dairy and healthy fats, and less salt along with at least 3 liters of water is mandatory.
Some Anti-Ageing Product Recommendations: