Whether you’re a man or a woman, wrinkles aren’t probably your choice of adornment. And whether you live an active life or a quiet one, effects of time show up on your face sooner or later. As you will find out in this post, it is never too late to start caring for your skin. Although it’s best if you start early on in life.
As we grow older some signs of ageing start to appear on our skin. These signs are predominantly visible on the face. This is due to our faces remaining uncovered throughout our life, and also because skin on the face is more sensitive.
Some of the signs of skin ageing are:
- Skin Lesions: Skin lesions such as benign tumors are found in larger numbers on old people’s skin than on younger people’s. A large variety of growths appear as we grow old, but most of them are harmless. Lesions grow more often on people who tend to burn and tan poorly.
- Wrinkles and Lines: Due to the natural breakdown of our skin’s elastic structure in a process called elastosis, wrinkles appear on our skin.
- Dark spots: Hyperpigmentation occurs when an excess of melanin is produced in the skin. This occurs due to long term sun exposure, but it’s difficult to tell apart from melanoma unless you’re a dermatologist. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.
- Sagging Skin: Due to loss of the elastic tissue in the skin called elastin, the skin sags with age. Gravity plays a large part in sagging skin after its loss of elasticity.
- Dull Skin: As we grow old, the growth of new skin cells in our skin slows down. This causes damage in the skin to accumulate, giving it a dull look.
- Dry Skin: As our skin grows older, the outermost layer of skin (the epidermis) grows thinner and the skin produces lesser amounts of oil. This causes the skin to get drier with age.
- Open Pores: Open pores disrupt the smooth texture of the skin and stand out, especially after long term sun exposure. Open pores lead to accumulation of pollutants and dead skin cells, creating blackheads. Blackheads not only make the pores stand out, but also widen them further.
These are common signs of skin ageing don’t appear overnight. Various signs appear at various times in our life, and these signs are affected by our DNA, environmental factors and what skin care we do. However, in general these are the major stages of skin ageing:
- Your 20’s: Signs start appearing at the sides of your eyes in the form of crow’s feet. The upper eyelids start drooping, making the eyes look smaller. The upper lip begins to sink and dark circles form more easily under the eyes.
- Your 30’s: The skin starts losing volume and elasticity as collagen production in the dermis slows down. Fine lines begin to appear on your forehead, near your eyes, nose and on the sides of your lips. The upper lip also becomes thinner and the skin becomes paler.
- Your 40’s: Lips lose volume, and the fine lines turn into wrinkles. Folds in the skin become deeper and the skin continues to lose elasticity and volume.
Clearly, signs of ageing begin from your 20’s. In fact, your skin is ageing inside before its effects are even visible on the outside. To keep a younger appearance, skin must be treated internally. But what causes ageing? Experts agree that only half of your skin’s ageing progress depends on your genes. The other half is the environmental effect.
Genes determine when our skin begins to actively age. Skin cells, like all cells, have a fixed lifespan determined by our DNA. In our skin, they are created from stem cells. Every couple of weeks, a dead layer of the skin is replaced by a new layer. This renewal is what makes the skin look vibrant and energized. It takes place in full force until we reach the peak of our youth, when this process begins to slow down, causing signs of ageing to appear. As the cell renewal slows down, damage in the skin starts accumulating, giving it a dull appearance. The epidermis also begins to get thinner while the dermis’ support structure made of elastin and collagen starts degrading. This is due to a decrease in the production of collagen with age. These are all consequences of old age that can be slightly controlled with proper skin care and products, but are predominantly dependent on our DNA.
Environmental effects however play a major role in skin ageing. Proper care against these causes of ageing can help you look a few years younger:
- Sun Damage: The UV rays from the sun damage the elastic fibres called elastin in the skin. The skin starts to bruise and tear more easily along with taking more time to heal. Long term exposure also causes hyperpigmentation and some skin lesions. Sun exposure is also the cause of many forms of skin cancers. It is by and by the greatest culprit behind skin ageing.
- Facial Movement: Due to repeated facial movement such as comical expressions or even something as simple as smiling, finer lines become etched onto our skin in the form of wrinkles. In our 30’s, “laugh lines” form near our mouth and “frown lines” between our brows.
- Higher BMI (Body Mass Index): A higher BMI leads to drooping eyelids and sagging skin. It makes the face look more drawn, and the jawline less defined.
- Dehydration: Loss of water from the skin through transpiration, or a lack in supply of water to the skin causes dehydration of the skin. The skin looks drier and more dull.
- Pollution: The skin comes in contact with millions of pollution particles in a single day. Lots of these stick to the skin or even enter the skin pores. Pollution and dead skin cells accumulate over time and make the skin look dull and darker.
There are many more environmental effects to keep in mind, and it only gets more difficult. Here is a short and quick list of things you can do from your teen years to control and repair the damage done to your skin over time:
- Cleanse your worries away: A cleanser is a skin care product that removes all that is not supposed to be there, including pollutants, dead skin cells and dirt. It helps the skin renew better and skin looks vitalized. A cleanser gives the best benefit when used at night and before you apply any other skin care products.
- Wash face, gently, gently: Don’t over wash or over exfoliate your face. This will cause stretching of the skin in the long run along with wearing down of the lipid layer (\which is the moisture barrier of the skin. Moreover, use lukewarm water to wash your face with foam based products.
- Sunscreen: Use at least an SPF30 sunscreen daily whether you go out into the sun or not. Or easier, use a day cream that already contains sunscreen as an ingredient. Re-apply it every few hours. Starting this practice early on will remove years from your face.
- Exercise: Exercising helps the higher BMI problem as well as improving blood flow. Better blood flow lets more oxygenated blood to your skin, helping the renewal process of the skin as well as making it look revitalized. Do remember to use a light cleanser after exercising.
- Say no to natural beauty: With all the pollution we’ve introduced in the atmosphere, natural beauty was going to fail sooner or later. Have your own skin care routine that involves cleansing, toning, etc. You can have different routines for the day and night, with the day routine focussed more on protection than repair.
- Keep Hydrated: Dehydrated skin looks dull and tired. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day and wear an emollient if your skin’s moisture barrier is not enough or is damaged.
- Beauty Sleep: Most of your body’s repair process takes place at night. And this involves your skin too. Don’t miss out on precious hours of sleep as they could spell the difference between haggard and refreshing.
- Unclogging the pores: Simply massage your cheeks with any readily available exfoliating scrub or cream once a week to unclog pores and remove dead skin.
Skin ageing is nothing to be worried about. If you start basic skin care early, you can easily look two to four years younger than other people of your age. Dermatologists do recommend regular full body check-ups, especially if you notice any new skin growths. Now you can consult a dermatologist for a general skin care check up through Remedico.