What is Aging Skin?

What is Aging Skin? This seems like a straightforward question. In its simplest form, What is Aging Skin? – Well, skin that has aged. Even though chronological aging alone causes the skin to age, more than just the years contribute to aging skin.

Before exploring the actual causes of aging skin, let’s look at the different layers of skin. This will allow us to better understand the process of skin aging.

Skin 101

Skin covers the entire body and is the only organ of the human body that does so. Since the skin covers the whole body, it is one of the most accessible organs to view aging. Skin weighs on average 8 – 11 pounds.

The skin consists of three main parts: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat.

  • Epidermis
    • The Outermost Layer of Skin
    • Provides a Barrier from Infections
    • Making New Skin Cells
      • Older Skin Cells from the Bottom of the Epidermis Travel to the Top and Flake Off
      • This Process Takes On The Average of Two to Three Weeks
    • Regulates the Amount of Water Released
    • Skin Color
      • Melanocytes Make Melanin That Gives Skin its Color
What is Aging Skin? - Skin Layers
  • Dermis
    • Makes Sweat
      • Released Through the Pores
    • Nerve Endings
      • Pain and Touch Receptors
    • Hair Roots
    • Making Oil
    • Brings Blood to the Skin
    • Held Together With Collagen
  • Subcutaneous Fat
    • Attaches the Dermis to Bones and Muscles
    • Involved in Body Temperature
    • Storing Fat
    • Padding to Protect Bones and Muscles

What Leads to Aging Skin

Two leading factors that contribute to aging skin are the aging process of the human body. The other is attributed to external or environmental factors.

Natural Aging Process (Intrinsic)

Some skin aging is caused by the natural process of aging. Over time, the skin loses some of its attributes, which leads to what we call aging skin.

As we age, collagen and elastin lose their elasticity. What happens then is we see the dreaded rough patches, sagging, lines, and wrinkles begin to appear.

Aging Skin in the 20s

  • Loss of Collagen Begins
  • Skin’s Natural Exfoliation Process (where the skin flakes off) Decreases
    • Results in Dead Skin Cells Accumulating

Aging Skin in the 30s

  • Fat Cells Start to Shrink
  • Skin Becomes Thinner

Aging Skin in the 40s

  • Cessation of Collagen Production
  • See an Increase in Wrinkles and Lines

Aging Skin in the 50s

  • Oil glands Decrease in Size
    • Results in Dryer Skin
  • Decrease in Estrogen with Menopause
    • Skin Becomes Dryer
    • Less Toned
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Environmental Factors (Extrensic)

The other causes of aging skin are external or extrinsic factors. In contrast to intrinsic factors, you can control many of the environmental factors that accelerate the aging process of the skin.

Most experts say paying attention to balanced nutrition is the best way to make sure you’re eating a healthy skin diet. 

External Factors include:

  • Alcohol
    • Alcohol is a diuretic that leads to dehydration throughout the body, and that includes the skin. Dehydration causes the skin to become dry.
    • Alcohol drives blood to the tissues of the skin, causing inflammation.
    • Heavy drinking can cause wrinkly skin, puffiness, redness, and a dry complexion.
  • Diet
    • High-fat diets lead to inflammation.
    • Eating too much sugar and refined carbs can interfere with collagen’s ability to repair itself.
    • According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that a diet high in processed or refined sugars or other carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging.
  • Inflammation
    • Can cause damage that stresses your skin cells and accelerates the aging process.
    • Inflammation can lead to a breakdown of the normal skin architecture leading to:
      • Hyperpigmentation
      • Loss of Collagen
      • Loss in Hyaluronic Acid
      • Thinning Skin
      • Water Loss
  • Smoking
    • Nicotine found in tobacco restricts the flow of blood to the skin. This restriction causes the skin to become oxygen and nutrient-deprived, leading to a pruning effect.
    • Besides the damaging effects of nicotine, there are other chemicals in tobacco that are detrimental to the skin. Some of these chemicals trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin. This results in wrinkles and sagging skin.
    • There is also an increase in what is referred to as the smoker pucker’s lip lines. The pucker motion used by smokers to inhale over time leads to wrinkles/lines around the lips.
  • Sun
    • Sunlight is one of the most damaging causes of aging skin.
    • The sun emits three types of rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
      • The two we need to worry about are UVA and UVB rays, as they contribute to skin aging and also skin cancer.

Help Prevent Aging Skin

Alcohol

After alcohol consumption stops, your body begins to repair itself. The first step is hydration. Begin drinking water to help rid the body of the toxins consumed through alcohol. This benefits the skin, and it becomes plumper.

Diet

Being that research shows that eating foods high in fat and sugar accelerates skin aging eat such foods in moderation. Eating food rich in Vitamins A, C, and E can help fight wrinkles. Vitamins A, C, and E are found in many fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in certain foods help fight inflammation. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish like salmon, tuna, and sardine.

Smoking

If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke and quit, you won’t contribute further to the damage done by tobacco. As the blood flow improves, your skin will begin to receive more oxygen and nutrients.

Sun

One of the most significant environmental causes of aging skin is the sun. To have protection from the sun, it is essential to use sunscreen. Sunscreen offers protection from UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to have sunscreen on when outside, even when it is cloudy.

Final Words

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What is Aging Skin? Yes, aging skin is a normal process that naturally occurs in many ways, but also just as important are the environmental factors that contribute to aging skin. Unlike many of the intrinsic reasons for aging skin, we can control many environmental factors.

Comment below with your experience with aging skin.

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