Return to Youth with Anti-Ageing?? Get Over It

Can we please eliminate/eradicate the term anti-ageing?

There is no such thing. Anti aging=death. It’s a ridiculous phrase. It’s added as a descriptive term to advertising far too frequently. It’s understood to be undeniably positive, promoting everything from diets to yoga, face cream, lipstick, underwear, to acai berries. Let’s be truthful. Anti aging = anti-nature. Can’t be done. Don’t waste your time or spend you $$$. Or give it credibility.

We all age at different rates. If you’re like I am, you have already looked around at people your own age, wondering how some look so young, or what happened to make others look so old. There’s a wide variation among us. Some things in life accelerate the aging process, but if you have the pleasure (let’s hope) of living a long life, YOU WILL AGE SOONER OR LATER. Better to face it, than to flee.

Just as mid-life provides us with an opportunity to examine our lives and make changes as necessary, ageing provides a similar opportunity if we can jettison all the nonsense that surrounds it that just isn’t worth the dwindling time we have.

The somewhat obvious spin-off of anti-ageing rhetoric is designed to make us dissatisfied with ourselves and our naturally ageing bodies and minds.  It does just that if you don’t have your ears perked up and call it out for what it is.  It’s ultimately anti-life.

I don’t want to be approached by a pretty young thing patronizingly offering me a creme to make me look younger. Fuck off.  I’ve earned my place in life and I’m quite ok thank you very much. I’m not ashamed to look my age although I must admit to being a little too happy when I’m told I look younger than I am!  Old thought patterns don’t let go so easily.

I have zero desire to strut around in very high heels to make my body look better.  I’ve already played that painful game.

Now that I am approaching my late 70’s, I see ageism all around me. In myself too. We are SO culturally conditioned. I don’t like it in myself . I resent it in others . But, I’m becoming more and more aware of it. I’ve decided to become active in identifying it when I see it and calling it out. Others are doing it too. It’s well past time to be realistic, don’t you think?

… the success of the anti-ageing industry that caters to the needs of the elderly, like alternative medicine, it owes much of its success to its fundamental, albeit ambiguous, relationship with science. This particular sector in consumer society is shrouded with an aura of science that is used for the promotion of a variety of goods. It thrives on symbolic uses of science, while passing over its requirements for experimental evidence, peer review and official regulations. The aura and the discourse of science are skilfully applied for product enhancement in response to a fast-growing demand from the ageing public (see McConnel & Turner, page S59).

The anti-ageing market is replete with products: yoghurt cures, enema regimens, cell injections, magnetic devices, skin creams, herbal elixirs, glandular extracts, hormonal therapies, vitamin supplements, fad diets and exercise programmes. They give us anti-oxidants to neutralize oxygen-free radicals; chelators to bind heavy metal ions such as copper and iron; dehydroepiandrosterone to rejuvenate the immune system, improve brain function and relieve stress; growth hormone to increase muscle mass and function; retinoic acid to decrease skin wrinkling, and many more.  EMBO European Molecular Biology Organization

When was that Line Crossed?

Some shifts in life happen almost imperceptibly.  Styles and places that were almost second nature in terms of my likes and dislikes have shifted past the point of no return.  When and why and how did that happen?

For example:

I no longer drool over clothing with ruffles.ruffles

I stopped lusting after the peasant look.  That attraction began in my childhood when I was given a Romanian peasant shirt complete with puffy sleeves and cross hatch embroidery.  It was my go -to Gypsy look for every Halloween until I no longer dressed up for Halloween. It was an easy segueway from that to the 1970’s peasant look which I was more than happy to wear.

I no longer want to wear a dress or blouse with puffy sleeves.  Of any kind.

 

I no longer can wear thonged sandals.  Who knew that collagen in your feet allowed you to do this in the first place?

samdals
Instruments of Torture

Ditto any high heel over 1.5 inches. Continue reading “When was that Line Crossed?”

OUT, DAMNED SPOT

As if it’s not enough for older women to be dissatisfied with graying  hair, dull skin, turkey neck, jowels, jiggly upper arms, crow’s feet, thinning lips, thinning brows and lashes, wrinkles and a thickening waist, we are also asked to be outraged by “brown spots.”

Brown spots?  You mean like, freckles?

Yeah, something like freckles, only when they appear on an older woman they’re called brown spots and the best thing you can do is remove them.

I never paid any attention to most of this stuff until I recently noticed a few small areas of discoloration on my shoulders. Checking it out online, I discovered that it probably shouldn’t be tolerated and I should try any or all of the following procedures:

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REALLY??!!

When did signs of aging become something to be feared as much as a terrorist threat or avian flu ouitbreak?  Sure, it’s a sign of our mortality, but that’s a good thing, preventing us from living under the illusion that we’re going to live forever.

When did “You look so young!” become the nicest thing you could say to a woman of almost any age?

How is it that decades after the Women’s Movement emerged, we’re subjected to the tyranny of looking perpetually youthful?

I’ve noted that aging hands have become a target as well.  I used to think that older hands are beautiful symbols of a life lived.  But not so, I’m told.  Here’s some tips from the Huffington Post on keeping our hands young:

M-AreYourHandsAgingYou-Bazaar-Nov12-1

The telltale signs of aging not only include crow’s feet and gray hair, but also older looking hands — the kind of hands with skin that doesn’t bounce back anymore when you pinch it.

How worried are people about aging hands? So worried that even Madonna apparently has been covering up her digits with fingerless gloves, according to Joan Rivers. “Believe me, you can hide a lot of things, but the hands always give it away,”she told The Huffington Post.

For those not interested in getting a “hand lift,” a 5-to-10-minute procedure that costs about $1,200, what else can be done?

We asked Dr. Lisa Chipps, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in California, for her take on how people can have younger looking hands. Her top 5 tips are below. 

1. Establish a regimen sooner rather than later.
Your hands are the first part of your body to show serious signs of aging, and it’s a problem that can start as early as your mid-20s. Most patients don’t recognize signs of aging on their hands until their 30s or 40s, and the problem is that most people won’t start changing their routines until they notice those signs appearing.

2. Sun/UV protection is by far the most important.
It’s never too early to develop the daily habit of applying SPF on your hands. By using a broad-spectrum sunscreen you’ll cover UVA rays and prevent aging signs like brown spots. Even in the car, slip on a pair of driving gloves for UV protection.

3. Lock in the moisture.
Keeping your hands well moisturized with thick hand creams — particularly overnight — can keep the skin on your hands looking healthy and glowing. 

4. Find the right products to prevent and repair.
For thin skin, ask your doctor about prescription tretinoin to reduce signs of discoloration or uneven skin tone. To enhance the thickness and radiance of our hands, products like growth factor serums are highly effective.

5. Explore your options for dermatologic procedures.
Volume loss shows up as very prominent veins and ligaments, but can be easily repaired with injectable fillers, which replace lost subcutaneous fat. Lasers can also be used to thicken skin and to soften or remove brown spots. There are many laser treatments available, so it’s best to consult your dermatologist about what procedures might be best for you.

I understand that the desire to beautify is as old as humankind. Yes, to that.   I also try to respect anyone’s personal reasons for making any cosmetic changes they want.  None of my business. I just don’t like to see the natural process of aging treated like a particularly vile form of leprosy.

As Betty Friedan said of a woman’s later years, “It’s a different stage of life, and if you are going to pretend it’s youth, you are going to miss it,” she says. “You are going to miss the surprises, the possibilities and the evolution.”