Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we some we can influence, others we can do nothing about . The skin has three important layers: the outer epidermis, the middle dermis and the inner subcutaneous fat layer. The epidermis is a thin layer that contains the pigment that colours your skin. The thicker dermis layer contains hair follicles, oil glands and blood vessels. The inner, fatty layer serves as a protective barrier to your organs.
As you age, the epidermis gradually thins and pigment levels decrease. This results in thinner, paler skin. You may also notice sunspots from UV exposure, known as lentigo.
The dermis contains connective tissue made up of collagen and elastin that provides strength and flexibility to your skin. The lack of elasticity as you age, known as elastosis, makes skin loose.
The dermis is also home to blood vessels, which become frail as you age. The weakened blood vessel walls are more prone to bruising and bleeding. Additionally, sweat glands in the dermis lose functionality and make it more difficult for the skin to produce sweat to cool you down.
The sebaceous glands, also called oil glands, are responsible for keeping the skin moist and hydrated. Over time, oil gland production decreases and makes you more prone to dry, itchy skin.
At the bottom layer, the thicker subcutaneous fat slowly thins out as you get older, resulting in less protection against temperature and trauma. This explains why many older adults are constantly cold and experience skin injuries.
From a molecular perspective , the human body is full of telomeres, or sections of DNA protein structures at the end of chromosomes. The telomeres are thought to act as protective caps, ( akin to the protective plastic tips on the end of shoelaces) damage to telomeres has been linked to ageing . Telomeres help preserve the genetic information that keeps you looking young and healthy . Some of the telomere is lost when each cell divides, although an enzyme called telomerase helps replenish this. Over time, the telomeres naturally shorten with age and expose your DNA to damage and eventually die off.
Telomere dysfunction in ageing and age-related diseases | Nature Cell Biology
The environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of ageing is “extrinsic ageing .” By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of ageing has on our skin.
The sun and UV exposure plays a major role in prematurely ageing our skin. Other things that we do also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would.
Things that help slow the ageing process.
Protect your skin from the sun every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or simply being out and sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with sun-protective clothing — such as a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, and trousers , a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection — and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing. For more effective protection, look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.
Apply self-tan rather than trying to get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.
Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.
Wear good sunglasses to help reduce lines caused by squinting.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a some studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables due to their antioxidant properties may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin ageing. . Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate ageing .
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- Try to avoid alcohol. Alcohol has a negative impact on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.
Exercise regularly throughout the week. Findings from studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, can give the skin a more-youthful appearance.
Cleanse your skin gently. Over scrubbing or over exfoliating your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin ageing Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.
Wash your face twice a day and after perspiring Perspiration can irritate the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
Apply a facial moisturiser every day.Moisturiser traps water in our skin, protects against moisture loss.
Avoid using skin care products that irritate or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can damage the skin barrier.