South Africa has seen a growing popularity in cosmetic procedures which claim to conceal the effects of ageing. In fact, operations to slow down or reverse ageing are reportedly one of the most popular in the country.
This is despite the country being in a technical recession. A recent report by Euromonitor International, looking into beauty and personal care in South Africa, showed that the demand for beauty products is not slowing down.
This is not surprising considering society's obsession with youthfulness and the idea that age and wrinkles need to be defeated. Numerous studies indicate that there is a very real pressure on women to age gracefully "while resisting appearance changes." This study, which interviewed older women, found that a number of them had tried to get rid of visible signs of ageing, mainly through cosmetics, for fear of being "socially invisible."
However, the outward focus of masking ageing skin can be misleading, cautioned Ramona Roemer, managing director of VIMED CELL, a human cell therapy company that focuses on anti-ageing. That's because the ageing process starts from inside the body. "From the age of 25, our cells start deteriorating inside our body, in our organs and tissues, and with the progression of age, this deteriotation accumulates," Roemer told HuffPost SA.
In addition, stress, an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise accelerate the ageing process.
"This cumulative cell damage causes the visible and internal effects of ageing and occurs naturally as we grow older and our cells begin to wear out," said Roemer.
The focus by the medical community then, often "treats various branches, focusing on symptom-based treatment which provides only temporary relief which results in the condition recurring."
So what is the best anti-ageing method?
Roemer does not believe there is one best method as ageing is a natural process, but anti-ageing therapy through cell regeneration may be a better option. "Instead of masking the signs of aging with cosmetics, rather restore the health of the damaged cells." And this is what their therapy tries to do. "We target the root cause of the problem by repairing the damaged cells," she said.
This involves "preparation of the body and cells as well and injecting them into the part of the body which requires treatment." The injected organ cells travel around the human body until they find and link up with cells in the human body.
Cell regeneration procedures are costly though and can cost anything from R10,000 to hundreds of thousands of rands. This may exclude consultations and additional medication, and may include travel costs as some procedures are not yet available in South Africa.