Getting older is a part of life. But you do not need to look it – especially not before your time. That is why understanding what causes skin aging and what creates the signs of premature aging can really help you get rid of those lines and defy the effects of time.
When we say aging is a normal part of life, we mean that the factors that drive aging naturally happen with time. It is important to know that up to 80% of all types of aging are accelerated by sun exposure and related free radical damage.
Main causes of skin aging
- Photo-aging (sun exposure)
- Related DNA damage
- Dormant (stagnant) skin cells
- Chronic inflammation
- Overproduction of enzymes that damage collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid
What happens in aging skin?
Poor texture, fine lines, and wrinkles. Not to mention sagging skin and a thick and uneven complexion. We all know the signs of skin aging. And, in a nutshell, your cells simply slowdown in performing the tasks they usually did when you were younger.
With photoaging specifically, the skin is changed or damaged by sunlight, rapidly breaking down dermal components, which causes wrinkles and/or discolouration. Sun exposure increases that rate of aging drastically.
Types of skin aging
There are two types of skin aging, i.e. Intrinsic aging which is dependent on your genes and Extrinsic aging which is caused by external factors, such as smoking, pollution, wind, heat, and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Inherited aging that is genetically regulated and passed down from parents.
Results in changes in cell production, rate of turnover and cell activity in the skin.
In addition, the levels of Growth Factors, which are naturally present in our skin, decline with age thus causing the repair process to slow down even more.
Photo-aging is the process by which skin is altered or damaged because of exposure to ultraviolet radiation and other sources.
Collagen and elastin production are stunted and enzymes in the dermis are raised by sun exposure, causing the skin to lose its ability to repair itself effectively. The long-term effects of this process on the skin including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven colouring, and textural changes as well as the skin becoming thinner and becoming less resistant to wrinkling.
Healing in more mature skin, is further hampered by the effects of chronic inflammation, also called Inflamm-aging, on the skin.
The best way to get the most advanced aging skin products and treatments is to speak to your skin therapist who can do a thorough skin assessment before advising you on what is best suited to your individual skin needs.
No adult one wants to look their age – let alone looking older than you are! But that is often what happens. Fine lines in your 20s, rough skin texture and a slight darkening of the skin in some areas. These are all early signs of premature aging that will accelerate aging later in life.
“Prevention is better than cure”, so if you know what causes premature aging, you will be better equipped to prevent it.
Causes of premature aging.
Full-blown aging has a few distinct causes – all accelerated by sun exposure. While the results do not show up fully in premature aging skin, the signs are still there:
- Photo-aging (sun exposure)
- Related DNA damage
- Dormant (stagnant) skin cells
- Chronic inflammation
- Overproduction of collagen-destroying enzymes
Early signs of skin aging
While the deep furrows and visible sagging of aging skin will not show up for another few years, you can still see the early onset of aging and premature aging. Fine lines that form in your 20s and 30s, along with a loss of glow in the skin, poor complexion, and uneven texture. Another tell-tale sign that aging has started is dark circles and early onset hyperpigmentation – indicating a little too much aging sun exposure. Luckily, it is never too late, and you can start your journey to revitalising and age prevention.
Dry and Sensitive Skin
Scientific studies have shown that a disruption in the epidermal barrier – the skin barrier or moisture barrier – is what causes a cascade of events that ultimately lead to skin dryness and sensitivity. A condition is known as Atopic Dermatitis. The severity of the condition varies from person-to-person, but it can be aggravated by allergens, clothing, cosmetics, food/drink, jewellery, soap/detergents, stress, sweat and temperature changes.
What happens when my skin barrier is impaired?
Your skin barrier is made up of the outermost layer of skin cells (corneocytes) suspended in a waxy layer of lipids (forming the skin’s lipid bilayer). It has two functions: It protects the skin against dust, radiation, pollutants, bacteria, and all other impurities that will have access to your skin, and secondly, it locks in your skin’s natural moisture.
Over washing or damage from your environment strips away these essential lipids, leaving gaps between the corneocytes. Your skin’s moisture escapes through these “gaps” causing your dry skin, and it also allows impurities to enter your skin causing sensitivity.
Your skin will continue fighting back by employing inflammation, impurity fighting, and healing properties, however with no barrier to protect it, the battle becomes constant and the result is red, inflamed, tender, sensitive, and dry skin. You could even experience dry skin with constant breakouts.
Fixing your skin barrier for soothing dry skin relief
Surprisingly, most dry-skin treatments only focus on replacing lost moisture, which is why they do not work in the long run. Rehydrating the skin is only one half of the job – you need to also repair the skin barrier, otherwise, you will just need to keep applying moisture and the skin does not return to its normal healthy state.
When your skin develops dark spots of blotchy and uneven in colour, we call it hyperpigmentation. “Hyper” stands for too much. And “pigmentation” for your skin colour. It is basically an excess of your skin’s natural pigment, melanin, forming deposits in the skin. There are three types of hyperpigmentation that differ in cause, and it affects everyone, every skin type and colour.
What causes this hyperpigmentation?
There are 3 types of hyperpigmentation, based on what the main trigger is:
- – Sun-induced hyperpigmentation is caused by excessive sun exposure – melanin is your body’s natural sunscreen, so overexposure to the sun will cause accumulated DNA damage which may result in increased pigmentation production.
- – Hormonal hyperpigmentation is linked to fluctuations in hormones – common to pregnant women (melasma or chloasma) and women taking contraceptives.
- – Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is common after an inflamed wound heals – most common with acne.
The secret to treating hyperpigmentation properly is to understand the physiological processes around how pigment forms and use products that act to inhibit the steps in pigmentation formation, even before the DNA is triggered to activate melanin production.
Pimples, breakouts, blackheads, and acne. If there was ever a skin condition, we could all live without, it would be problematic skin. About 85% of people develop acne vulgaris in their lifetimes. It is usually during puberty and teen years, but there’s also adult-onset acne which can affect your self-esteem and confidence.
What causes pimples?
The odd pimple and breakout can become a chronic skin condition that affects up to 85% of people at various stages of life, although it’s most prominent during puberty and often continues into adulthood.
This condition affects the skin cells that line the hair follicles to such an extent that they cease to shed properly. Exacerbated when the body produces too much of the natural oil sebum, the follicles and surrounding skin become susceptible to infection by bacteria found naturally on the skin. All these elements combine to create the painful and inflamed infections we call pimples.
What happens in problematic skin?
There are four main factors that contribute to acne and the formation of pimples:
- Improper shedding of dead skin cells block follicles.
- The overproduction of oil in the skin (sebum), under the influence of hormones.
- The blocked follicle can become inflamed and see an increase in the growth of bacteria.
- This causes inflammation in the follicle, which can rupture the follicle wall and extend the inflammation into lower layers of the skin, causing an acne scar.
Fortunately, you need do not to get despondent as there are various technologically advanced pimple and problem skin products and treatments available, aimed at getting your confidence levels right back to where they belong!!
Ah, the sun. So vital to life, but so very – unbelievably – damaging over time. Sun damage in all its many forms is at the heart of almost every other skin concern in the world. From pigmentation to DNA damage and aging, not to mention dread diseases like cancer. Proper sun protection is likely the biggest and most important gift you can give your skin – and yourself – in life.
What is so bad about sun damage?
First, we must define sun damage. If you are thinking sunburn is the worst that can happen, you are very mistaken. The sun’s frequencies have been proven to cause everything from cell mutation and DNA damage (the stuff that ages you and causes cancer) to sapping hydration, destroying collagen and elastin. Not to mention the fine lines that will become deep wrinkles and furrows over time. To make things worse, there’s significant evidence that even SPF 50 is no longer enough.
Why normal SPF is not enough?
Not many people know new studies show that SPF 50 is only effective against 53% of the total damage of the sun’s light. That is only half the damage stopped. It is why we still see advanced photo-aging despite sunscreen use. It is vital that we seek better, full-spectrum sun protection and sun damage correction.
How to get full-spectrum sun protection?
While SPF only covers you for some UVA and some UVB rays. Infrared and visible light – and UVC also damage your skin in different ways. Therefore, an advanced combination of antioxidants, ingredients and specialised treatments is vital for protection from the full effects of the full spectrum of sunlight while also correcting the DNA damage created by sun exposure.
The best way to get the most advanced sun damage and protection treatments is to speak to your professional skincare therapists who are trained to do a thorough skin assessment and recommend a product that is best suited for your individual skin needs.