Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 22, Tuesday, May 31, 2011



The dilemmas of aging

Just like the magic mirror had said to Snow White's stepmother that she was not the prettiest of them all anymore, there comes a time in everybody's life when (if such a mirror existed) it would say the same thing to them. By the time they reach their middle age most women, if not all, start noticing that their skin is not the same as it used to be and go into depression at not being the same as before.

Signs of aging appear at different times on different people's skin and to different extents and also depending on how well they have maintained their skin.

Aging generally occurs in females with the onset of menopause, or as one approaches menopause from as early as the age of 40, when hormonal activities start going down. Aging in men also occur due to reduced hormonal activities.

Skin aging is usually characterised by wrinkles with the forehead wrinkling first followed by facial skin, such as 'Crows' Feet' and 'Laugh Line' wrinkles. Hand and feet wrinkles come next. Apart from reduced hormonal activities a major cause of early aging is exposure to the sun.

Over exposure to the sun can cause age spots, wrinkles and a blotchy complexion. This is also known as Photo Aging. The adverse effects of the sun on the skin do not become apparent within a short time. It usually takes years for the signs of Photo Aging to show but, it may initiate aging as early as your 20s.

Although there are no magic potions to treat aging there are many precautions that one can take from as early as their 20s to lessen the effects and visibility of aging in their later years instead of opting for steroid treatments once the signs are already visible. Not that steroids are the only means of aging treatment; there are other herbal options and medical hormone replacement therapies that a lot of people opt for.

Precautionary methods include using sun-block lotions from an early age. Food rich in anti-oxidants should be a major part of your diet. Anti-oxidants are extremely important as they prevent formation of free radicals which cause reactions in cells leading them to die.

Anti-oxidants include Vitamin C which is found in citrus fruits and their juices, dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, tomatoes, pineapple, mangos, papaya and guava, Vitamin E found in vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, corn, nuts, whole grains, wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and dark leafy green vegetables and Beta Carotene found in dark orange, red, yellow and green vegetables. You should make sure you keep your skin well moisturised all the time and drink plenty of water.

A lot of women nowadays opt for anti-aging creams and lotions that are widely available in the market. Make sure while choosing your anti-aging cream that it contains anti-oxidants such as the above mentioned ones and not those that contain steroids. Other general precautions include avoiding agitation, stress, tension and hot environments.

Aging is an inevitable part of everybody's life so instead of fretting about it one should become aware as soon as they reach their mid 20s and follow a healthy eating habit and skin care regime.

Special thanks to Professor Dr M U Kabir Chowdhury for helping with the information for the article.

By Karishma Ameen

Battling the clock -- tick…tock!

This vibrant and youthful face will not stay forever. Sooner or later, you'll start losing it. That's why the anti-aging industry is worth billons of dollars. Nobody wants to look old.

And you don't have to, or (to be more truthful) you can surely slow down the process. The good news is that men's aging process begins later than that of females. Read on, as we share some of the most effective precautionary and preventive methods to battle against time.

Skin care is vital. Try to avoid the sun as much as possible. Use a sunscreen cream, or put on a cap when you are directly under the sun. Overexposure to sun will cause dead skin, some serious tanning and is also likely to weaken tissues to make your skin wrinkled.

As you shave regularly, the skin is more vulnerable to premature aging and dryness. You probably do not want to give up shaving forever, but make sure you reduce the effect: use warm water, apply shaving cream with moisturiser content, shave in the direction of hair growth and apply aftershave to avoid skin infection.

If you are in your twenties your skin probably doesn't have a hint of wrinkle. Well, now is the time to take it seriously, but once those adamant lines show up, it's almost impossible to get rid of them. But for those who already have them, well, try to minimise them or slow the process at least.

There are many anti-aging creams you can get hold of. The harsh truth, however, is that scientists, after all that research, still can't invent anything to slow the aging process in an optimal way, let alone stop it altogether.

Many creams and pills make empty promises while numerous millions are spent on promotions. But anti-aging creams do help to some extent. Before you use one, make sure you check it with a dermatologist so that you know its right for you. But before buying those anti-aging creams, see whether your regular diet is anti-aging or not!

Spinach and beans, both excellent sources of compound materials, prevents wrinkling and aging of skin. Another substance, called antioxidant polyphenol, works to retain the skin's elasticity: have grape juice to prevent sagging of skin.

Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, helps fight the effects of UV rays. Mustard seeds, having high content of Vitamin E, help you retain youthfulness.

Preventing hair loss is another challenge for men combating aging. If you feel you are vulnerable to hair loss, the first step -- and the easiest -- you can take is to cut your hair short. The longer your hair, the more the stress on hair follicles. Anti-oxidant supplements are available to make hair follicles more robust. Again, consult an expert before jumping to the market.

Also, maintain good scalp hygiene and wash your hair with shampoo regularly.

Grey hair is yet another enemy. Sadly, you probably cannot conquer it! Hair follicles die as you age, taking with them the colour of your hair, as they contain the necessary pigments that gives you the hair colour. But what you can do is keep away from it as long as possible.

And you already know how to do it. It's an open secret: lead a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, this is true for not just preventing greying of hair, but for anti-aging in general. Drink plenty of water. Sleep well. Add substantial amount of vegetables to your diet.

You always hear people tell smokers to quit. Here's a good reason why: as smoking causes damage to blood vessels, they cannot transfer oxygen from the blood to the tissues. This is likely to cause wrinkles and dryness of skin.

The perfect recipe for anti-aging is one of nature's best kept secrets. Sooner or later, you'll start to show some signs. But maybe, given the right age, it's not bad; it can even be graceful.

Therefore, whatever you do, don't worry too much, because stress itself contributes to aging. Simply lead a healthy and enjoyable life.

By Zane


Oroni and Adori

By Iffat Nawaz

Oroni is a good girl. She wakes up early every morning, brushes her teeth and drinks a glass of milk and memorises her verbs and nouns. Then she makes two braids and puts on her ironed school uniform and her book bag and heads to school.

Oroni's town has many concrete buildings and the only open field she knows is her school playground which will soon be transformed into a multi-storied tower for all the other children who need to get educated just like Oroni. There are doyel pakhis along the path which Oroni's school bus follows, and a confused kokil who sings all year around thinking it's spring. Oroni has a cat named Adori.

Oroni's cat was found in a cage. The man who was selling it had five cages. One had a pair of rabbits, two had munia pakhis, the fourth had a lizard and the fifth was a little kitty in black, brown and white. Oroni had never seen a cat in a cage before and it seemed extremely strange. What was even stranger was that the cat's feeding bowl in the cage had grass. Now everyone knows cats don't eat grass -- they drink milk and eat fish.

Oroni's father had promised her a little kitty two years back and like many other promises he had made (like taking her on a hot air balloon ride to building her a tent inside her room where she can pretend play to be in the depth of the wild) he didn't keep it. Oroni wouldn't let this opportunity go. Oroni's Baba was also a bit soft-hearted from seeing the little kitty and with Tk500 and half a minute of bargaining Oroni found Adori, the kitty who once lived in a cage.

Adori was a special cat. She befriended everyone in the house, except for dadi who hissed at her saying her oju was ruined every time Adori would brush up against her sari. Adori really didn't didn't mind the hissing, she was happy growing little by little mostly on Oroni's lap.

It was during a typical bikal, alone and in front of a Bangla grammar book that Oroni discovered she could understand Adori's speech. As if she could read her mind. And she could put together Adori's past. Like how Adori's mum came from wealth and had fur like those of the Persians, but her father was one from the wild with big dreams. Adori's mum eloped with her father and started a life of their own. Adori was born under a jarul tree, it was a usually warm day in June and it started raining when she came to earth.

Adori's mother ran and sought shelter and found a little home for Adori and her brother Ornil (who was sent to a boarding school in india now), Adori saw first light under the bed of a disabled caretaker of a forgotten garden.

Adori was doing just fine roaming the garden for a month or so when the bad, bad animal seller found her and trapped her in his cage. Thank god that Oroni had rescued her and gave her a home. Adori talked about the future and how things will be different again when she would take Oroni to the wild with her, one day, maybe during the next summer vacation, when everyone forgets what Oroni is up to thinking she is in some corner of the house hiding her face behind a book.

Oroni is a good girl. She drinks milk everyday. She loves her parents and respects her elders. She doesn't know when she will grow up... she also doesn't know that she will lose the power of understanding Adori's speech as age will take her over and loneliness will have different meanings. Oroni is afraid of the dark.


Summer and your skin

Summer in our country not only ushers in heat and humidity, along with these it also brings in myriads of skin troubles that not only frustrates us even more than we already are but also cause the additional anguish of having to rush to doctors for relief.

With the summer sun blazing over our heads for the past month or two, a lot of us probably have already become victims of difficult to deal with skin problems. For those of us who have not yet been affected and also for those who have been here are a few common skin problems that occur during the summer.

Photo sensitivity/photo dermatitis
In other words this can be called Sun Sensitivity. This is caused due to prolonged exposure to the sun and is characterised by dark spots or marks on the skin. Preventing yourself from being the victim of Photo Sensitivity is easy; all you have to do is make sure you put on a good sun-block lotion to all exposed areas of your body whenever you step out into the sun.

One other thing that you can do is carry an umbrella with you during the daytime. Not only will you be able to shield yourself from the sun you will also have a shade during the rain.

Miliaria and nappy rash
No it's not as serious a disease as its intimidating name makes it sound! Miliaria is the scientific name for what is commonly known by us as Prickly Heat. Prickly Heat brings with it irritating rashes that itch and burn a lot and can be quite troublesome once they become extremely aggravated.

Similarly, nappy rash that occurs in babies who still have to wear diapers can be quite painful for them and cause them to be cranky and cry often. The best way to prevent this is to make them wear light and airy clothes. Try to save the fitting clothes for the fall or winter. Wear cotton clothes instead of synthetic ones as the latter do not let air pass through, resulting in rashes. Also stay in cool places as much as possible.

Fungal infections
Fungal infections are a widespread cause of complaint in humid regions. As Dhaka has excessively humid weather during summer people are more prone to fungal infections. Fungal infections occur in creases. Make sure to keep yourself clean. Take showers twice a day; one during the morning and once after returning home at the end of the day. During the rain try wearing closed shoes and avoid stepping in dirty water as this may cause fungal infections.

Humidity is a major cause of dandruff, which is perhaps one of the most common complaints of both men and women. During the summer this may be aggravated to such an extent that dandruff may lead to infections due to sweating and scratching, and may even cause fungal infections. Keep your hair clean by washing a few times a week and avoid scratching your scalp.

Heaven knows how many millions of girls and boys have been cursing this disease for years, yet it keeps on affecting as many adolescents, young adults and at times middle-aged people as well. Pimples occur during summer time as a result of excessive secretion of sebum, which is basically oil.

Pimples can mainly be seen on the trunk, back and chest of men. For women it generally occurs on the face. Try not to pop your pimples as this will only aggravate them and cause some more breakouts. If you have been out, wash your face on returning home and keep your face clean. Avoid facials at beauty salons as this harms the skin to a great extent.

Skin problems are one of those diseases that are greatly dependent on and related to climate and ecological changes. Every year during the summer the complaints of people regarding skin trouble increases manifold. However, as the temperature cools down most complaints start to go down and altogether disappear with the onset of winter. So the trick to staying away from summer skin troubles is to be a little cautious and dress appropriately for the weather.

Special thanks to Professor Dr M U Kabir Chowdhury for helping with the information for the article.

By Karishma Ameen


A trip to Blue Ridge Parkway

People travel faraway places to see the enchanting fall colours. Driving through the arched trees is possibly the best way to enjoy the change in nature. This year, we had an opportunity to see the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. My husband, and I, joined his brother's family who planned to show us the fall colour and took us for a long drive through Blue Ridge Parkway.

This is one of the most scenic roads in America and the ride is named 'America's Favourite Drive.' The 469-mile recreational motor road connects Shenandoah Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The drive from Raleigh, North Carolina to Blue Ridge Parkway was stunningly beautiful. As we were approaching the mountains, we noticed different posts marked by MP (milepost), and at some places by the elevation, like Carroll Gap Overlook, (elevation 3430).

We stopped at Carroll Gap Overlook, where the Christmas tree plantation, green plains and the colourful mountain were all trapped in one canvas. What a scene! It's a great place to stop your car and pause for a moment to enjoy the enchanting beauty of nature.

We crossed several mile posts and parked at Linn Cove Viaduct, MP 304.4 (elevation 4, 000ft) and it lies in the Grandfather Mountain and this viaduct was the last section of the parkway to be completed and is considered an engineering marvel of the parkway.

Driving over the Viaduct was very scenic and through the curvy road, heart-stopping. We were a week or two late of the peak season. As some of the leaves had fallen, but still the yellow, orange, red and green leaves created a magnificent ensemble of colours.

The red colour of pine, golden yellow of hickory and the rusty red of oak looked like an embroidery on nature. We took some shots and my camera caught the fiery colours.

During the picturesque ride, we spotted a lake, where the shadow of leaves were seen reflecting on the tranquil water. We got off the car and walked by the side of the lake. There was a small wooden bridge for people to cross to the other side, surrounded by a combination of short and tall trees.

In the background, the outstanding vista of the mountain range created a heavenly atmosphere. The view from the distance looked magnificent under the clear sky. The best place to take shots!

There are visitor centres, picnic places, camping and hiking trails and a place for leisurely walks all over the Blue Ridge Parkway. Restaurants, lodging cabins and hotels can be found at different places.

The stunning beauty of nature is hard to describe and once you have seen it, is forever embedded in your mind. The appreciation of natural beauty never ends here. The more you see, the more you enjoy the beauty of nature.

By Aeman T Rasul


Phirey Chol Matir Taney

To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, Harappa, the country's largest pottery, terracotta and art ceramics manufacturer has organised a clay exhibition at the Drik Gallery. This exhibition, titled "Phirey Chol Matir Taney", commenced on May 29 and will run till June 4 daily from 3:00pm till 8:00pm. The exhibition was inaugurated by Kaler Kantho editor Abed Khan on May 28.

The exhibition has on display various items of everyday use like cups and saucers, mugs jugs, glasses, flower pots, pickle and cookie containers, wall panels, tiles, fountains, light shades, crockery, masks, etc in eye-catching colours and patterns. They are available in different styles, designs and layouts. Their prices too are reasonable, considering the artwork, design and the hard work that goes into making these earthen items.

Price of the art on display ranges from Tk30 to Tk10, 000.

Gazing upon these gritty chunks of clay, one is left to wonder about their aesthetics. The exhibition boasts many masterpieces. Pottery as interior decoration can enhance the overall look of any home, as well as lending a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Harappa's work splendidly captures the essence and beauty of the seasons. They produce stunning, handcrafted pottery that is fully functional as well as decorative.

"It is our fourth exhibition. We're trying to revive our traditional terracotta art and improvise its own style to elevate this medium of art to another dimension. There are several works that are experimentally done by integrating brass, wrought iron, cane and wood along with clay. Our showroom is situated in DCC Market, Gulshan#2”, said Rudro Naser, in-house designer and production director of Harappa.

Founded in 2006, six friends took the oath to save the traditional pottery industry of the country from extinction. Thus the journey of Harappa began. The design concept is based on imbuing a modern outlook on tradition with today's techniques. It is adapted to a modern way of life and crafted with care for high quality.

“Aside from our own showroom, our products can also be found in local craft shops. The aim of Harappa is to conserve, protect, restore and develop this age old medium of arts. The artworks are put on sale during the exhibition and we also take orders and customised orders,” said Marketing Director Afsar Ahmed.

Pottery is perhaps the most primitive type of human invention. Artefacts related to pottery provide us a glimpse into our pre-historic past. The majority of archaeologists and anthropologists believe that examining pottery from different ages is the easiest way to estimate the evolution of the human mind.

By Farizaa Sabreen


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