Signs of Aging
What is Happening to My Skin?
Our skin changes constantly from infancy as a result of internal and external factors. As we mature, we are faced with specific, uninvited structural and functional changes that occur, both within the epidermis (outer visible layer), the supportive dermis layer as well as other surrounding components.
Biological aging is a natural process engendered by hormonal changes and genetic factors. The skin’s natural functions and metabolism decline, causing a reduction in circulation and a decrease in the oxygen and nutrient supply. Skin cells are unable to replenish themselves properly and gradually loose its natural oils, which weaken the skin’s natural protective hydro-lipid film. This translates into a complexion prone to dryness, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and sensitive skin.
Visible aging of the skin commences around the age of 25, with the normal regenerative process beginning to slow down. The skin replaces old cells more slowly and turnover of the surface skin cells is less rapid. Wound healing also becomes reduced. After the age of 45, thinning of the skin starts – rendering the skin more vulnerable to damage caused by surface-abrasion and an increase in sensitivity to environmental factors and allergens.
With age, the main proteins that contribute to elasticity, texture and tone (collagen and elastin) become chemically-altered and damaged, corresponding to a loss of skin strength and elasticity. The moisture holding compounds (proteoglycans and GAGs) naturally decrease with age and present a dryer, looser skin. The oil-producing (sebaceous) glands also become more sluggish, further contributing to skin dryness. This in turn leads to a more sensitive skin, whereby harsh soaps and disinfectants can more easily damage your skin.
The layer of fat under the skin also diminishes, revealing greater sagging and looseness. The skin can easily lose its glow with age, as the number of blood vessels in your skin become reduced.
Skin Aging Caused by External and lifestyle factors
If all this isn’t enough to deal with, there are a host of external and lifestyle factors that can exacerbate the aging of your skin. Many signs of aging such as dry skin, roughness, patchiness, pigmentation, brown spots and wrinkling are self-inflicted, due to poor diet, prolonged stress, excessive sun exposure, environmental pollutants and poor quality skin care products. The good news, however, is that the external and lifestyle factors are in your control. A diminution or elimination of all these factors can decelerate the aging process and protect the physical beauty and health of your skin.