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Skin Aging | Prevention & Treatment

Once a person is in their mid-twenties, it is likely that the first signs of aging start appearing on their skin.

Fine lines appear in the beginning along with wrinkles, a loss of volume and elasticity become evident over time. Let us talk about the different reasons why we start to show signs of skin aging. 

Characteristics of aging skin 

You learned that your skin is a very complex organ system with many important functions. You were probably shocked to discover that a person starts to age as early as in their mid-twenties. And you understand that both internal and external factors play a role in skin aging.

How to deal with aging skin

Now, let’s talk about the characteristics of aged skin. How exactly does it change and what makes your skin appear older over time.

Changes in pigment:

The pigment-containing cells within your skin are called melanocytes actually decreases with age. However, the remaining melanocytes increase in size. Over time, large pigmented spots freckles, age spots may appear in sun-exposed areas. While many believe age spots are harmless, age spots on the skin indicate possible oxidative damage occurring in the internal organs also, so they are indeed a cause for concern.

The pigment-producing melanocytes within the hair follicles in the skin are also aging with time. This leads to reduced hair growth and grey hair. The melanocytes become dysfunctional and die. It is theorized that age-related greying may actually be a protective mechanism that eliminates defective melanocyte stem cells before they turn cancerous.

Wrinkles:

Wrinkles too start appearing as we age and are a common concern. They happen due to degradation and decline in the content of the connective tissue fibers (collagen and elastin) within the skin’s dermal layer. (Collagen provides structure and strength to your skin. Elastin helps the skin stretch and makes it resilient and spring back into place. Unfortunately, they are both quite fragile.)

When wrinkles form, the fibers loosen up, and unravel, making the collagen look irregular and disorganized in older skin.  This reduces the skin’s strength, elasticity, and structural support function.

Intrinsic wrinkles are usually fine, shallow, and highlighted near expression lines. Extrinsic wrinkles are found in sun-exposed areas and are also caused by exposure to toxins. They appear as both fine and deep wrinkles. Extrinsic aging can be controlled to a great extent by limiting exposure to ultraviolet light and by not smoking.

Dryness:

Because of the fast decline in estrogen in women around menopause, less oil is produced from the glands. This can make it harder to keep the skin moist, resulting in being dry and itchi. 

Also, the water content of the skin is also affected, especially due to falling estrogen and thyroid hormones. With aging, the major water-holding component of the skin disappears in the outer epidermis layer and only remains in the dermal layer. Hydration is necessary for the skin to prevent dry, rough skin, help the healing process, and keep your skin moist, soft, and full of volume.

Thinning & sagging:

The gradual loss of skin elasticity in the skin’s dermal layer is what primarily leads to sagging. Facial bone mass decreases and the underlying subcutaneous fat layer also thins over time, causing sagging skin to appear even more prominent. Aging causes the epidermis to thin, too. Decreases in collagen & water content also contribute to the thinning effect. 

In addition to cosmetic changes, thinned skin is at increased risk of injury. Rubbing or pulling on the skin can cause skin tears. Thinner skin is also less able to sense touch.

Vascular issues:

Aging causes the blood vessels of the dermis to become much more fragile and break easily. This leads to bruising, bleeding under the skin. Aging skin repairs itself more slowly than younger skin and wound healing may be up to four times slower. This contributes to more skin infections.

How to prevent wrinkles

•    Apply a high resistance sunscreen sparingly before going out and re-apply every two hours while in the day.

•    Use hats and protective clothing. UV rays, visible and infrared light even working near sun-drenched windows without protection can age your skin.

•    Drink a lot of water: at least 2-3 liters every day. Drink more while traveling, during heavy activity and in hot, dry weather.

•    Maintain a cleansing routine. This will wash away excess oil, pollution, make-up and dead skin particles that build up on your skin’s surface throughout the day.

•    Moisturize – morning and night. The good moisturizer does more than merely keep your skin hydrated. Moisturizers protect and nourish your skin’s structure and functions. Always choose a good moisturizer that protects and nourishes your skin.

•    Choose skin products high in antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce solar damage when used.

•    Increase the intake of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. This will help moderate the deleterious impact of sunlight and time on our skin by preventing oxidative damage and inflammation.

•    Take 500-1000mg glucosamine daily to support collagen synthesis.

•    Stop smoking

•    Optimize your hormones. Low hormonal levels will impair your skin’s function and resilience. There are many things you can do to get your hormone levels up and keep them that way long term.

•    Get quality sleep. Tiredness shows on our skin: when we are more rested, the skin also starts to glow.

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