‘She’s aged like fine wine,’ you’ll hear people say. Which is not to say that the person has spent time in a barrel. Or that the person has been stomped on. It’s to say that the ravages of time have hardly shown up on her, or that she’s been so graceful in the acceptance of ageing that she doesn’t look like she’s aged. Right there in that statement is what positive ageing related to skincare is.
We might not always admit it, but youth is currency. In a world obsessed with looking young, wrinkles, sagging skin and crow feet have no place. Brands and beauty companies peddle their wares, promising the erasure of anything related to ageing, making it seem like the older you get, the less relevant you become. Like a jar of cookies left out for too long, so now the cookies are just crumbling bits and it hardly has the bite it used to have.
‘Wrinkles? Pbft, be done with them’ a very happy, very young woman in her early 20s tells you in a commercial. ‘I used to have crow feet, now I can’t find them,’ another young ‘un smiles at you from a magazine advert. PS: She never had crow feet because they don’t start that early. Also, photoshop. How then are we supposed to be sold on the concept of positive ageing when we are so petrified of even showing *hushes* age?
What Is Positive Ageing When It Comes To Skincare?
Positive ageing is a broader concept in general. A concept that explores ageing without thinking of it like it is some sort of ultimatum. It involves having a great approach to getting older- being fit, engaging in activities, and generally being positive about greying hair and failing joints. It’s literally living by the words, ‘Age is just a number.’
When it comes to skincare, this positive ageing means that you don’t stare at the mirror in utter horror the first time you spot a wrinkle. Anti ageing isn’t the mantra any more, it’s being more gentle with yourself, more accepting that age is going to do its thing on you, you just have to enjoy the ride. It means embracing the things age will invariably bestow you with.
We spoke to a couple of dermats to get their inputs on how positive ageing is picking up as a concept in India. Dr Chytra Anand, Cosmetic Dermatologist and founder of Kosmoderma Clinics & SkinQ, says, “I find the concept of making peace with growing older is tasteful. People are not doing anti-ageing treatments because they don’t wanna grow older, but they are doing it to maintain themselves. We need to get away from this negative connotation of ageing.”
Dr Soma Sarkar, Cosmetic Dermatologist and founder of Dr Soma’s Aesthetic Clinic, sees this a little differently. She doesn’t think people are fully against wrinkle-busting treatments, especially in India where taking care of your skin has just started to become the norm but believes that perhaps people are taking better care of their skin. “Ageing is a very subjective topic. It is very different for different set of people. Now, in my practice I have seen that patients have accepted ageing and started knowing the biological changes better. It doesn’t mean that only that your only resort is injectives like a botox, or fillers. It also means that you have to take care of your skin. Even a simple sunscreen can be effective to prevent looking older.”
How Is This Different From Anti-Ageing?
Positive ageing isn’t about climbing on a moral high horse and judging people for wanting to look young. It does, however, offer an interesting spin to the term anti-ageing. The term anti-ageing implies that you review age as a stance, and therefore anti-ageing as a protest against it. It’s funny because we all have to age. There’s literally nothing you can do to stop it except, well, die. There is also the underlying notion that ageing is bad, like you’ve let yourself go or that you simply don’t care to invest enough in yourself. Dr Dr Chytra Anand makes a great point here. “I don’t think there is anything wrong in people having procedures if they want their skin and hair last longer. I don’t understand this negative connotation of the word ageing. We all want to look good, we all want to look fit, feel fit and we all want to be healthy. Everybody wants to look their age or younger than their age and that’s fine. When you are healthy on the inside you will look your age or younger than your age.”
There is a raging debate about the women who walked the Cannes red carpet. This was Aishwarya’s 20th time at the film festival and all eyes were on her. But what people cottoned on to the most was whether she had work done on her face. For celebrities, it’s a catch 22 situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Positive ageing as a concept sounds great but its acceptance will probably take time to come around when we are this obsessed with age, particularly so when it comes to women.
Dr Soma says, “I always tell my patients that it is like taking care of expensive jewellery. When you are investing so much in expensive clothes, bags, shoes you go all out there and maintain it. Similarly, your skin is your representation. I am not talking about looking younger, definitely not. I am just talking about maintaining your skin while ageing is also ageing gracefully. It is absolutely fine to flaunt your lines and wrinkles if you can do it and it is not impacting your professional and personal life. But I will always say these (skin) treatments do have a positive impact on a person’s personality.”
I also did a whole piece on how fuller bust women cannot find swimwear in India. Read maybe?