As you age, your skin gets thinner and dryer. Collagen and elastin fibers that make the skin firm and elastic disconnect. When we refer to aging skin , many of us think of people in their 50’s, 60’s etc. However, the skin actually begins the aging process as early as the late teens. In fact, damaging factors that effect premature aging can begin in the childhood years. Of course the process in which the skin ages also depends on intrinsic (inherent) factors. Intrinsic aging refers to aging that occurs because of hereditary, genetic factors, and the general nature of our physiology. We inherit genetic characteristics from our parents that partially determining how our skin behaves throughout our lifetime. Beyond predetermined genetics sun exposure abuse, smoking, pollution, alcohol, and other extrinsic factors play a role.
But at what point will these physiological changes appear in our lives?
The Twenties – 20 to 30, expression lines begin to show because of the loss of collagen, which diminishes about 1% per year beginning in the mid-twenties. The skin in the upper eyelid begins to lose elasticity, known as brow- tosis. Eye – bags can also be accentuated in those who suffer from sinus allergies.
The Thirties – In the thirties gravity begins to take its toll. Drooping of the skin begins as a result of skin stretching and loss of collagen. Sun damage makes these symptoms much worse and accelerated.
The Forties – In the forties, elastosis is much more apparent. Lines deepen in the nasolabial folds, and the skin begins to sag at the jaw line, resulting in what is referred to as jowls. Forehead wrinkles develop, although these may occur prematurely, especially in sun – damaged skin.
The Fifties – At this age the face begins to go through other morphological changes. Morphological are changes in shape and form. In the fifties, cartilage in the ears and nose expands due to gravity, making the nose and ears appear larger in older people. Wrinkles and elastosis are also more apparent during the fifties.
After age 50 – Due to loss of subcutaneous fat (adipose), the skin appears thinner in older people. This is particularly true in people over 70.
Menopause – Woman experiencing menopause often report “sudden aging.” It’s as if one day they look in the mirror and overnight they have aged. At menopause, a woman begins to produce less and less estrogen. Estrogen is partly responsible for the skin’s ability to produce collagen. Therefore, the skin’s ability to repair and replace collagen diminishes. This results in more wrinkles and elastosis. Sebum production decreases, causing dehydration on the skin’s surface. During menopause excessive sun – damage over the years also begins to manifest. What is blamed on menopause is actually cumulative sun damage effects, accelerated by menopause. Hormonal shifts may also lead to adult acne.
Unfortunately, the signs of aging is inevitable. I think we would all agree that the alternative is not a desirable one. With smart lifestyle choices, following a proper skin care regimen, and taking advantage of the many treatments available today, we are able to slow the process.