What is the definition of ageing, and why do people age as they get older? Many people use the terms ageing and growing older interchangeably, but they also acknowledge that some people 'age' better than others, implying that the changes in our bodies as we age do not follow any set of natural principles.
Sure, we all reach a point in our lives when we must die, our bodies eventually giving up the battles of daily living on this planet, but for some of us, that moment comes later than for others. Growing old takes time, but that is not how most people understand or accept the term 'ageing.'
"You haven't changed much since the last time I saw you!" How many times have you heard that (if you've been fortunate)? Obviously, you've aged, but the rate at which you've aged has been slower than the observer had anticipated. So, while ageing and progressing in age in terms of chronology are sometimes used interchangeably, they are distinct for the purposes of answering the question, "What is ageing?"
Age-Related Physical Changes
Throughout your life, several changes occur in your body: your skin becomes less supple and wrinkled, your muscles weaken, your bones become more frail and brittle, and your brain function alters. These changes will occur even if you eat a healthy diet in the sense that we define it and usually 'look after yourself.' What is the reason for this? What causes these alterations in our bodies? Why do our brain cells die as we age, our skin wrinkles, and we generally 'look older' as we go down the razor blade of life?
Why does a 30-year-old look older than a 22-year-old once we stop developing physically? Why does an 80-year-old man or woman appear to be older than a 50-year-old? Our cells and other components involved in our metabolism are oxidised, which accounts for a substantial part of the answer. Free radical oxidation of cholesterol can cause blocked arteries, and DNA damage can cause malignancies, but both of these things tend to shorten our lives rather than add to the appearance of ageing.
The Aesthetics of Aging
In terms of your appearance, what does ageing entail? For many people, the appearance of ageing is more important than their chronological age. Wrinkles, so-called age or liver spots, and hair colour loss are among the outward indications. Hair colour isn't a problem because it can be dyed any colour you like, but the others are more general signs of ageing for which there's usually nothing that can be done - or at least little that can be done after the fact. There are some apparent indicators of ageing for which something may be done if you are proactive and prevent or at least slow them down by recognising their underlying causes.
Take, for example, wrinkles. Have you ever wondered why fair-skinned persons who live in hot climes have wrinkled and rougher skin than those who live in colder climates? Californians, for example, age more rapidly than Scandinavians, and many Africans appear younger than Australians of same age. Also, why do smokers wrinkle more quickly than non-smokers?
The Molecules of Destruction: Free Radicals
This question has an answer, which is found in a form of molecule called as a free radical. These are oxygenated molecules produced by pollution such as traffic fumes or tobacco smoke, as well as exposure to the ultra-violet component of strong sunlight. Many free radicals are, in fact, a by-product of your own metabolism: the oxygen-driven cellular respiration that is necessary for life.
Free radicals can kill specific types of bodily cells, including skin cells, when they originate in your body. They can also damage DNA molecules, which can lead to cancer in some cases. Free radicals also oxidise LDL cholesterol in your blood, causing it to accumulate on the inner walls of your arteries. Due to a shortage of oxygen to the heart muscles and the brain, this progressively builds up and plugs the arteries, resulting in heart failure and strokes.
Your Skin's Aging and Free Radicals
Free radicals damage your skin by destroying skin cells, resulting in wrinkled and harsh, leathery skin. People who live in hot areas have pigmentation in their skin to protect them from the UV rays of strong sunshine, but fair-skinned people should apply a decent sunblock.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralise free radicals and protect them from harming your skin cells. Antioxidants are found in anti-aging skin lotions. Not only that, but they also aid to rehydrate skin that has been dried out by too much sun and provide the nutrition your skin requires to regain its youthful health.
Anti-Aging Creams Help to Delay the Signs of Aging
They won't make you younger, but they can help prevent free radicals from forming due to the substances and bright sunlight that cause them. As a result, they can help prevent your skin from wrinkling in the first place, smooth out wrinkled skin, and inhibit the development of these tiny molecules that speed up the ageing process.
Anti-aging skin creams cannot prevent ageing, but they can delay the appearance of wrinkling, leathery skin, and liver spots by addressing the substances that cause wrinkling, leathery skin, and liver spots.