Why Does Skin Age?
Have you recently noticed a face in the mirror that’s showing it’s first signs of fine wrinkles and sagging skin staring back at you? While you may understand the concept of natural skin aging, you might be wondering what exactly it is that causes skin to age.
If this is the case, then this article is definitely for you. Understanding what causes your skin to age and sag will help you better cope with the problem. Keep reading as we discuss the main causes for skin aging.
Top Reasons Your Skin Looses Elasticity and Ages
Essentially, skin aging is caused by a combination of sunlight exposure and the natural aging process. Exposing our skin to the sun and other elements eventually causes permanent damage to the epidermis, or outer layer.
Additionally, the dermis, that provides your skin with collagens and proteins to maintain the elasticity. Over time production of these proteins stops. Let’s look at this in a little more detail.
1. Dermal Cells Stop Producing Proteins
Your skin’s dermis layer is made up of an intricate composition of extracellular matrix proteins. Often referred to as ECM, this collection of proteins is made up of collagens and elastin that provide the skin with its elasticity.
Additionally, the dermis also contains fibroblast cells which lodges between these proteins and connects them to each other. Over time, these cells become weak and are no longer able to hold the proteins together.
As this happens, the fibroblast cells loose their initial shape and lead to the breakdown of the ECM network. Without the necessary connective tissue, you skin loses its strength. This is what leads to your skin loosing its elasticity, further resulting in loss of skin tone.
2. UV Damage to Epidermal Cells
Loosing elasticity in your EMC matrix is part of the body’s aging process. However, there’s another culprit that aggravates this process. Experts believe that continued exposure to UV rays is the single biggest cause of skin aging in younger people.
Many medical experts believe that the fibroblast cells react to UV exposure by releasing additional chemicals into the dermis. When this happens, it speeds up the process of the cells loosing their shape and elasticity. What you see on the outer skin layer is deep wrinkles, the tell-tall sign of UV-induced skin aging.
Common Effects of Extended UV Exposure
In addition to the loss of elasticity and development of deeper wrinkles, there are several effects that continued UV exposure can have on your skin. Some of these include:
- Noncancerous skin growths
- Pigment changes that cause dark spots
- Skin cancers such as melanoma
3. Aging and Reduction of The Fat Tissue
The fat layer under the skin is called the hypodermis and this layer is also responsible for keeping your skin elastic. However, as your body ages, the hypodermis naturally shrinks, which causes the skin to sag.
A specialized fat depot deep in the dermis releases chemicals when exposed to UV light. In addition to UV exposure speeding up the process of cells losing their shape in the dermis, the fat layer in the hypodermis also responds to sun exposure. As this happens, these fat cells die and become scar tissue. This further shortens the elasticity in your skin.
Effects of Age on Skin
When your skin starts aging, there are several factors that start happening to your skin. These include:
- Epidermis thins: The epidermis starts thinning, making your skin appear paler and even translucent in some instances. This instantly makes your skin appear older.
- Dark spots appear: Pigment-containing cells, also called melanocytes, increase in size and cause dark spots to develop – these are medically called lentigos but are generally referred to as “liver spots.”
- Increased bruising: The blood vessels in the dermis become weak and fragile. When this happens, the skin bruises easier. In some instances, there can also be bleeding under the skin which is primarily known as senile purpura. This is often the cause of “unexplained” bruises on older people.
- Oil secretion slows down: As you age, the sebaceous glands produce less oil. This dries out your skin and causes itchiness. This is one of the main reasons why medical experts recommend a good moisturizer as part of your beauty routine.
- Less insulation: As the subcutaneous fat layer thins, your skin will have less insulation and padding. This in turn increases the risk of injury to the area. It also becomes difficult for your body to maintain a regular body temperature.
4. Long-term Smoking
Another culprit of causing your skin to age faster is smoking. For the most part this has to do with the high amount of chemicals in tobacco smoke. These harmful toxins trigger the destruction and degradation of collagen and elastin.
Whether you smoke or spend a lot of time around secondhand smoke, your collagen will start degrading. If you’re often around secondhand smoke, it’s a good idea to invest in a moisturizer that contains collagen. Also, up your water intake to keep your skin hydrated from the inside.
5. Repeated Facial Expressions
Fine wrinkles may not always solely be caused by aging. In fact, repeating a series of general facial expressions throughout your life will lead to the forming of fine lines and eventually wrinkles. Each time your face performs one of these expressions, a groove forms beneath the skin’s surface.
As your skin ages over time, the cells in the area of the expression weaken and are no longer able to jump back into place. These grooves eventually become etched on your skin. These expressions include smiling, squinting or continuously frowning. Some of these wrinkles are often referred to as laugh lines or crow feet.
Dehydration is another top cause of aging skin. Generally, dehydrated skin occurs when your body looses more water than it absorbs. Sweating too much or not drinking enough water can cause your skin to be dry, itchy and dull. It can also lead to premature aging when fine wrinkles appear before they should because the essential functions such as cell turnover can’t be performed.
Unlike many of the other causes of aging skin, dehydration can be reversed by rehydrating the body and moisturizing the skin. This is provided that the skin hasn’t been neglected for extended periods. If that’s the case, the fine lines will deepen and become permanent.
Understanding what causes the formation of those fine lines staring at you in the mirror will help you apply the right treatments. While you can’t change the natural aging process, you can minimize your skins exposure to the harmful factors in your environment. Taking care of your skin when you’re outside, limiting exposure to smoke and keeping your skin hydrated will go a long way to slowing down the appearance of those pesky fine lines!
There’s more good news. The certified practitioners at Shine Dental can provide you with superior wrinkle-free treatments. All treatments are clinically tested to produce the best results to keep the signs of wrinkles at bay. It’s as simple as calling the office or visiting their website for more information. Easing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles has never been easier!