Define Aging Skin
As we go through the years, our skin will age. It is a fact of life. However, the way that you handle the skin now will determine what your skin will look like in years to come. There are three main parts to the skin : the outer part, also referred to as the epidermis, the middle part, which is the dermis and the inner layer under the dermis called the subcutaneous layer. This layer contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, fat and blood vessels. There is also connective tissue with collagen fibers in each layer that gives support and elastic fibers to give strength and flexibility.
How does the skin age?
There are two types of aging in our skin. It can be caused by genetics, which is intrinsic aging, or internal aging. Extrinsic, or external aging, is caused by factors in the environment, such as pollution or exposure to the sun’s rays.
Intrinsic aging is the process that usually begins in our mid 20’s. This is known as the natural skin aging process. The collagen production will slow down, and elastin will have much less bounce and spring to it. New turnover of skin cells is slower, as the dead skin cells on our skin do not shed as quickly as they once did. Signs of intrinsic aging include lines and wrinkles, sagging skin as the bones shrink away from the skin, thin skin, skin that is transparent, dry skin that can itch, inability to sweat, loss of fat underneath the skin, which can lead to hollow cheeks and eye sockets, and a loss of firmness of the neck and the hands.
Extrinsic aging can be caused by a number of things, such as the sun, our sleeping positions, smoking, and repetitive facial expressions. When one gets too much sun exposure, freckles, age spots, spider veins, fine wrinkles and rough skin can appear. A loose or blotchy complexion can also be a result of excessive sun exposure. When one is repeatedly exposed to the sun, the skin will not be able to repair itself. UV rays break down collagen and new collagen is not able to be produced like it should be. Sleeping positions can also lead to aging skin, with wrinkles forming in the skin. These wrinkles become etched into the skin over time, and will not disappear like they once would. Woman usually notice these lines on their chins and cheeks while men see them on their foreheads. If one sleeps on their back, these lines will not be formed as they are not smashing the skin against a pillow.
What can accelerated the process of aging?
Smoking causes accelerated aging. Smoking causes biochemical changes in the body. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the number of deeply wrinkled skin. Skin can become leathery and severely wrinkled if one smokes.
Repeated facial expressions can cause aging to the skin. Many feel that doing facial exercises will slow down the aging process, but in reality, they are only helping themselves age more. A groove will form under the skin when a facial expression is made. Over time, a wrinkle is formed there.
How to prevent aging skin at an early age?
To prevent skin from aging at an early age, one can do many things. First and foremost, stay out of the sun during peak hours of the day when the sun’s UV rays are the most intense. Wear a quality sunscreen and apply it at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect the skin, and consider wearing light long sleeved shirts. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after water exposure. Avoid tanning in tanning beds, as this will accelerate the aging process on the skin.
Aging skin treatment
Should you have aging skin already, there are treatments that one can have done. Dermabrasion, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion can all help the skin appear to be younger. Surgery can be done on the face, such as a facelift or eyebrow lift. Retinoid creams can be purchased over the counter, or a stronger solution can be prescribed by your dermatologist. Laser skin resurfacing can improve the wrinkles on the skin and also help tighten loose skin.