Nobody really looks forward to growing old, as time takes its toll by blessing us with wrinkles and crow’s feet. However, with the right lifestyle and products and a few precautions, you can reduce and delay the advancement of those lines.
There are two processes that lead to the skin changes associated with aging.
The first is intrinsic chronologic aging, which is largelygenetic. This includes the natural effects of gravity (i.e. skin sag), expression lines (etched over years of use), sleeplines, hormonal changes and genetic programming.
The second component of the aging process is extrinsic aging. This external injury is from environmental influences such as UV radiation, smoking, and wind and chemical exposure. Chronic UV light exposure is undoubtedly the most significant contribution to extrinsic aging. While sun exposure damages skin, the free radicals produced by the sun is what really ruins the skin.
Hence, it’s the cumulative effect of sun exposure-not birthdays different parts that damages skin most. But increasingly researchers are beginning to believe that oxidation, a natural chemical reaction, may play a crucial role in causing the body, including the skin, to age. Oxidation causes reactions that eventually result in the breakdown of elastin and collagen. Free radicals are also by-products of oxidation resulting from body functions like breathing and muscle activity. Stress as well as toxins in the environment, including pollution, car exhaust, pesticides and cigarette smoke, accelerate production of free radicals, adding to the damage.
As the skin ages, it undergoes the following changes:
- The epidermis gets thinner.
- The cyclegets slower.
- The function of colour cells reduces.
- The collagen and elastin fibres get weaker and looser.
- The dermis loses volume and gets thinner.
- Production of the oil and sweat glands slows down.
- Some hair follicles stop working, leaving us with less hair.
- Some blood vessels shut down, reducing the blood supply to the skin.