Signs of ageing: What does this mean?

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ageing, tashas's face, blue light, skin care, darker skin

I decided to write this post after becoming fed up with being told we need to fight the “signs of aging”. Skin is meant to age, just as the rest of our body does, but it seems this is not allowed.

The real trigger point was a Sunday Times Style magazine article (28th Nay 2017) called “Is your screen killing your skin?” by Claire Coleman. The first paragraph ended with “But if the prospect of a sleepless night isn’t enough to have you powering down, would the news that this type of light could also be prematurely ageing your skin have you reaching for the off button?”

My answer is “no”. I don’t use my phone because I think it makes me look younger. What does “prematurely ageing your skin” actually mean? Does it mean speeding up the onset of one or more of Oil of Olay’s seven “signs of ageing”? You can tell I think it’s just a marketing ploy.

According to Olay India’s YouTube channel (they dropped the “Oil of” ages ago”), the seven signs of aging (in 2010) were:

  • Lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Patchy skin
  • Open pores
  • Dryness
  • Dullness
  • Dark sports

I remember when the adverts came out when I was a child and at the time I thought they were pushing it, especially by saying that lines and wrinkles are different things. They look the same on my face.

Interestingly, the Olay UK website now mentions a “7-in-1 formula” but the “seven signs” list that I couldn’t find there easily has perpetuated elsewhere.

My point is that I would rather you tell me what specific issue is supposedly caused by the blue light, pollution, sun etc. rather than vaguely saying that it ages my skin. I persevered with reading the article then got my answer – the blue light can cause uneven pigmentation which remains for longer than pigmentation caused by UVB rays (the light that gives you a tan). However, my interpretation of the article is that the uneven pigmentation is as a result of lifestyle that is, using screens that emit blue light.

It goes on to say that the free radicals in the blue light accelerate collagen breakdown leaving you with sagging skin and wrinkles and it can make the skin more prone to irritation. I agree that sagging skin and wrinkles are caused by the skin’s natural ageing process which can be accelerated by numerous factors. As for irritated skin, is that something I can look forward to simply as a result of getting older? I hope not. Besides, I think it is more to do with environmental and lifestyle factors because anyone at any age can have irritated skin.

Stepping away from the blue light, I agree that dullness is more likely to be seen on older people, from my personal experience.

Looking at the other so-called signs of ageing in the list; patchy skin, open pores, and dryness, I don’t think they have much to do with age. I have had dry skin for decades, some young people have open pores, and patchy skin is probably caused by one or more skin conditions and can affect you at any age.

Interestingly, I was listening to a podcast by Afroblush where a number of ladies were discussing that the “signs of aging” are different for black women, for example sagging, which I have seen on older family members. After the introduction, Jo Gay of Patent Purple Life starts by debunking the myth that “black don’t crack”.

You might be wondering why I have such strong feelings about a seemingly minor thing. I just don’t want to be treated like a fool by being persuaded to buy yet another cream to combat another alleged problem (ageing is not a problem). I also don’t want to be made to feel bad for getting older! Could we call the signs of ageing “signs of skin damage” or “the result of collagen breakdown” instead? Probably not. The truth is horrible when you say it out aloud and they are rubbish marketing taglines.

I use skincare  to look and feel the best I can do at my current age. I have never sought out a product in an attempt to look younger. Let’s just see what I look like in 20 years’ time. Perhaps I’ll have to (metaphorically) eat my words.

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