The desire to stay young and healthy has been around for ages among humankind. It is known that ancient cultures such as Chinese and Egyptians explored different methods to maintain youth in very ancient times. Studies show that ancient Egyptians (the great queen Cleopatra in particular) used a rustic form of a chemical peel by bathing in sour milk. This sour milk removed the most outer layer of the skin exposing a younger, smoother looking skin while hydrating it. They were also known for using all different types of herbs and oils (rosemary oil, castor oil and olive oil) daily and liberally as their hair and skin care. Henna was used to cover up gray hairs and animal fats were applied to men's scalps to prevent baldness.
Stay Young - Longer
These are only some of the practices we have been able to grasp from ancient times that have been used to maintain youthfulness. Some of these practices have inspired modern treatments, some by principle and some only by name. For example, a modern technique that utilizes neuromuscular blockers (Botox) to eliminate neck wrinkles is named after Nefertiti (Queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten) this being because of the famous Nefertiti bust exposing her impeccable long neck.
The mentioned sour milk bath inspired new treatments that work by the same principle (removing the outer layers of the skin), using different substances and methods. Some of these modern peels include the famous microdermabrasion which instead of using chemicals utilizes a mildly abrasive instrument to sand the skin and remove the outer layer of the skin.
Some of the modern chemicals we use instead of the sour goat milk are the much heard of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol. Modern peels intensity can be controlled by time and potency depending on the patient's needs. We have come a long way! Special thanks to Cleopatra!
Anti-aging and its benefits
So why have humans been trying to maintain youthfulness throughout history? This is a tough question to answer, but it is safe to say that we live in a society where appearance is important, a young, healthy, symmetrical overall look benefits a person in so many ways (personal and social). Benefits go from obtaining higher self-esteem to portraying power, fertility, health, happiness and beauty which psychologically makes us more likable to others and ourselves.
"Over a quarter (28%) of women under 25 even admit that they "regularly" worry about their signs of aging, and this number increases to 42% for those aged 25-34 and then 54% for those aged 35 to 44% of women over 45.
Nowadays, regenerative medicine focuses not only on physical aging aspects (Wrinkles, sagginess, skin scarring, sun damage) but on health and youth on a cellular level. This means we have the treatments and means to stay young and feel young too. An example of this would be hormone replacement therapy , which treats hormone deficiencies and prevents our bodies from feeling old, losing fertility, virility, vitality, libido, skin glow, hair loss and even mood.
The anti-aging movement
The anti-aging industry has come a long way and treatments have been found for innumerable conditions including varices, obesity, baldness, uneven skin tone, volume loss, facial asymmetry, scars, sagginess you name it! Technology varies from a wide range of topical treatments to surgery, lasers, cell therapy, dermal fillers, dermal peelings, ultrasound, botulinum toxin (Botox) etc. We can thank science and our ancestors for the wide range of anti-aging options we have today and the ones that are yet to come.
On a side note, it is natural to want to feel and look like the best version of ourselves, but it is of great importance to not lose sense of ourselves and to embrace who we are as we age. Life is all about balance, there has to be balance in the way we perceive ourselves and always understand that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Aging is a beautiful, natural process which is impossible to stop. The real purpose of the anti-aging industry is to help humans age gracefully by being the healthiest, liveliest and happiest version of ourselves.
Natasha Mikhail MD/MS Aesthetics and Longevity
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.