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How can I disable edit on a record if it is already in a specific status?

We have the following two custom objects:
1. Purchase_Orders and
2. purchase_items.
The object Purchase_Orders has a custom text field named "Approval Status". The requirement is that once the value of the field "Approval Status" is "Approved", users (except system administrators) SHOULD NOT be able to EDIT the record for both the purchase_order and the purchase_item. Until then they are allowed to edit the detail pages for these records.
What are the different options to enable this kind of functionality to disable "EDIT" based on certain criteria? Can we do this using any standard force.com functionalities?
Appreciate all your feedbacks on this.
Thanks and regards,
P.S We cannot use the standard salesforce approval process due to some inherent restrictions, therefore cannot use its locking mechanism.)