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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Freeze frame: The look of Gen-Now

Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow. Well, that’s for dummies. Move on and capture the look of Gen-Now. Although we’re still a long way off from finding the fountain of youth, medical science is breaking new ground each day in this exciting field to help the beauty conscious stop the clock, albeit just for a while.

But aren’t you as young as you feel? That’s a tad clichéd. While there’s nothing wrong with a few wrinkles, nobody wants to look old before their time. In fact, you can change the look and shape of your face, lips, eyes, breasts, thighs and almost every part of your body. While a bevy of cosmetic treatments can help you feeling and looking good, right attitude, clothes, expressions and mannerisms can do wonders for changing your look to one more that’s more youthful.

Get the modern day mantra — ‘Don’t lie about your age. Defy it’. Which explains why more people today — cutting across the barriers of age, gender and income brackets — are changing their lifestyle and opting for newer treatments and procedures which intelligently promise health benefits and help them stay fit and young for a longer period. In fact, their quest for the fountain of youth is already producing a flood of products, services and advice to delay the ageing process. Moving in tandem, the sales of skin creams, suntan lotions, hair colouring, cosmetics, vitamins and nutritional supplements are also soaring.

But do these miracle salves really work? Is it possible to stay young forever? Trust Dr Jamuna Pai, one of India’s best-known beauty gurus and the name behind Blush Skin Clinic in Mumbai, to peel off the facts. “You can see the changes yourself. Most of the celebrities and executives look at least 10 years younger today, thanks to an ever-increasing awareness about health. Just by changing their lifestyle and food habits, and taking to regular exercises, yoga and nutritional support, they are leading a better and mentally relaxing lives. These really help give you a healthy and glowing skin.”

Dr Pai has a pulse on the problem. Arguably, in an age of electric steamers, electro magnetic currents, alpha hydroxyl creams, cosmetic surgery and others, the emphasis is on finding fault with outer beauty. But skin is not an isolated part of the body. It is well connected — intellectually, physically, sensually and spiritually. “If your diet is deficient in skin-friendly foods and you have a bad lifestyle, any external treatment will work only for the short term,” points out Dr Pai.And you thought beauty is just skin deep?

Actually, at a time when we’re assaulted by an array of fabulous faces and figures and as lotions and potions abound, awareness is a key issue in staying young and beautiful. Take, for instance, the case of Sanskriti, an executive with an MNC. “I was using three lotions from different companies and ended up with a rash on my face. I was sure it was the cleanser and threw it away. But I found out that I was wrong in a hurry. The next time I put on the moisturiser. Ouch! I ended up losing the cleanser and moisturiser that day, and that cost me quite a bit of money.”

Sanskriti is not alone. Dr Simal Soin, consultant dermatologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, sees a growing number of patients at his clinic who fall into such traps. “Products like skin creams, gels or lotions are a mixture of chemicals that have a biological action and are applied topically to the skin. So the effectiveness depends on whether the active ingredients work, and whether they are absorbed properly into your skin. Your skin’s temperature, hydration, environment and other factors will influence your skin’s ability to absorb the active ingredients in a product,” he explains.

So much for the outward appearance. But there’s more to it. More Indians are going under the knife in their pursuit of perfection. Trimming, filling, contouring, enhancing — Indians are no more shunning the scalpel and as Dr Pai observes, “the mindset is changing.”

Plastic surgery, botox, fillers, cheek implant, lip plumping, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose job), laser treatments for hair removal, and what have you! Thanks to newer breakthroughs in medical science, better and more effective solutions are being used in India for enhancing your cosmetic appearance and giving you that extra confidence. Says Dr Rashmi Taneja, senior consultant, department of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi: “These procedures are largely driven by people’s aesthetic desire. There’s a growing tendency to reverse or stop the clock and there’s a strong western influence.

The most common minimally invasive procedures are fillers, botox and chemical peels. As for surgery, we’re seeing more people coming for treatment of eye bags, thread lift, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and liposuction.”

That’s scratching beyond the surface. But what’s more important, say experts, since the skin renews itself every four weeks, it is very responsive to what goes inside the body. Therefore, complimenting your diet with nutritive supplements, particularly when you’re forty-something, will help overcome nutritional deficiencies and make your skin healthy and radiant, says Dr Pai.So why look your age? Try to be the youngest old person you can be. That’s the bottomline.

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