Aging is natural and irreversible. The first signs of aging include fine lines and wrinkles. They begin to appear around the age of 25 years and above. As time progresses the skin also looses its natural elastic tissue making the skin less tight.
Skin aging differs between individuals. Some people experience sagging skin, skin pigmentation and others, dull skin tone.
Aging is influenced by both external and internal factors. These factors include genetics, ethnicity and amount of sun exposure. Other factors such as poor skin routine and lifestyle can cause visible signs of premature aging.
Signs of Skin Aging
There are seven signs of an aging skin. Each one affects facial skin in different way includes
- Sagging skin
- Age spots
- Dull skin tone
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Dry skin
- Thin skin
- Skin prone to bruises
A sagging skin is often associated with the loss of fat. Loosing weight stretches the skin also causing it to sag. Sagging skin is also caused by production of less elastin and collagen in the dermis over time. Elastin and Collagen are important proteins necessary for the skin to maintain its elasticity and firmness. Unfortunately, these proteins decrease as you age between the age of 30 to 40.
External factors such as
- UV radiation from sunlight
- Environmental pollutants e.g cigarette smoking. Smoking produces free radicals that damage skin cells leading to premature wrinkles
- Lifestyle habits such as poor nutrition and excessive alcohol consumption.
Age spots are very common in adults above 50 years. Age spots are caused by over active melanocytes aka pigment cells. Melanocytes are in charge of giving your skin its unique colour. Long exposure to UV radiation from sunlight increases production of these cells causing premature ageing. Age spots usually appear on areas exposed to the sun.
Dull skin tone is as a result of dead skin cells build up. The skin continuously sheds dead cells, a disrupt in this natural process makes your complexion have a dull appearance. A dull skin has an unhealthy tired appearance that accentuate wrinkles.
Skin cells aka keratinocytes are composed of keratin – a protein. Keratin is formed in the epidermis; it travels to the skin’s outermost layer where it eventually dies at the end of its life cycle.
As we age, skin renewal decreases by 6 – 7% every 19 years – meaning less new skin cells are produced to combat dull skin.
Fine lines and Wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles are the first noticeable signs of skin aging . As the skin ages – it loses moisture, elastin and collagen. This leads to the appearance of wrinkles. Wrinkles are more likely to appear on areas of the face that moves such as eyes and mouth.
External factors such as sun exposure, lack of sleep and smoking increases the emergence of wrinkles.
Dry skin produces less sebum, losing its ability to retain sufficient moisture and build protecting covering against external factors. As you get older, the body reduces the production of sebum. Sun damage, heat, harsh weather conditions etc. plays a role in dry skin.
Thin skin aka fragile skin bruises and tears easily. It’s a common problem in older adults. As you age, the epidermis reduces its rate of cell production. This reduction leads to development of wrinkles.
CAUSES OF SKIN AGING
Skin ages due to a combination of factors – external and internal factors. Understanding these factors help us to care for skin at it ages, reduce evidence /signs of aging, prevent premature aging.
Internal causes of aging are dependent on genetic. As we n structure and cell efficiency function of the skin. This is a natural and continuous aging process. Although people age differently these changes become visible at different ages but are most commonly experienced by those who are 50+.
For example, at age 30, fine lines begin to appear. At 40, a noticeable change such as drier and thinner skin occurs.
Internal causes of skin aging include
- Hormonal changes
- Poor blood supply
Oxidative stress is the major process that affect the speed at which skin ages. Oxidative stress is triggered by the following external factors:
- Poor nutrition
- Inappropriate skin care
What exactly is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify these free radicals’ harmful effect by antioxidants in the skin via a process called neutralization. Free radicals cause premature aging by destroying essential cell structures and components that make p the skin. The essential components include collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.
Sun: Exposure to sun rays without adequate protection- wearing sunscreen can cause noticeable changes to the skin. Sun damage to the skin is known as photoaging.
Photoaging depends on your skin color and history of long-term sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays destroy elastin. Elastin enables the skin return to its original position when it is poked or pinched. Breakdown of this key protein causes the skin to lose this ability and also cause sagging of the skin.
Note: Premature aging is not caused by a single prolonged UV exposure but by everyday exposure without adequate protection.
Pollution: Pollution can trigger the effects of free radical damage especially when coupled with sun exposure. Pollution is a common feature of urban cities.
Smoking: Cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is addictive and harmful, not only to the lungs but to the skin. Cigarette smoking increases the number of free radicals.
Nutrition: Free radicals are neutralized from the body with the help of antioxidants. Nutrition that leave out fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant could lead to oxidative stress. To prevent this, eat fruits and vegetables such as orange, carrot.
1. Bad skin care routine – a good skincare routine prevents skincare aging vice versa. An example of a bad skin care routines includes:
2. Using skin care products that irritate the skin
3. Not wearing sunscreen for effective sun protection
How to Care for An Aging Skin
- Quit smoking
- Eat fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants such as orange, tomatoes, beans, oil fish [salmon], leafy green vegetables.
- Have a good skin care routine
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure
- Get enough sleep
- Reduce stress
- Stay hydrated