Everyone ages, it’s a totally natural and inevitable process. Changes in the skin is just one of the visible evidences of the ageing process.
However, what many people don't realise is that there are factors, internal and external, that trigger skin ageing. Some cannot be controlled like genetics, but others can be managed.
Wait, does that mean we can reverse ageing? Can we reverse a 53 year old’s skin to look like their 23 year old skin? Science says probably not. On the other hand, can you develop habits, routines and make choices that can reduce the hastiness of ageing? Absolutely, 100%.
In this article, we will explore how the skin actually ages and what habits you can develop to prevent it from happening too quickly.
So, why does our skin change with age?
Our skin has 3 main layers, epidermis, dermis and hypodermis or the subcutaneous layer. These layers have different functions to keep the skin as an organ working. When the skin as an organ is healthy and functioning well - it shows on the outside. As glowing, plump, smooth, clear skin.
As we age, naturally, the following processes start to occur in our skin layers and functions
- Our epidermis and dermis become thinner
- The production of natural oils reduces
- The underlying fatty tissue reduces
- Nerve endings in the skin decrease in quantity
- Sweat glands and blood vessels diminish
- Melanocytes also decrease
All of these changes happening on the inside can look like this on the outside:
- Skin loses elasticity, leading to wrinkles
- Skin becomes drier
- Skin bruises more easily, leading to spots or patches
- Skin takes longer to heal, leading to stubborn marks
- Sensation starts to reduce
- Skin has lesser protection against the sun’s rays
Which skin ageing factors can be controlled?
Sun Exposure: Sun damage is the main cause of skin changes. Many of the signs of ageing we connect to just ‘age’ are actually connected directly to sun exposure. UV radiation from sunlight causes collagen strands to break down leading to sagging, or wrinkles. Pigmentation and dark spots become more stubborn with extended exposure to the sun. Combine this with slowing functionality of the skin as we age and you can see clearly who the villain is here.
Harsh Products: Anything you use on your skin needs to be supportive, gentle and non detrimental to the skin in the long term. We often use harsh products that give us instant results, but at a cost. Harsh ingredients can damage your skin barrier functions, they can strip your skin, in the long term these types of skincare products can leave your skin damaged. The unfortunate part is many people won’t even realise that the products would have left long term damage on their skin until it’s too late.
Diet: The skin is a regenerative organ, it has the capability to repair and regenerate itself but for that it needs the proper nutrients. Foods rich in Vit C,A,E, B should be prioritised for good skin function. Spinach, nuts, tomatoes, berries, carrots are excellent sources. We would be amiss, if we didn’t mention the holy grail for good skin, water. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water everyday to watch your skin flourish.
Lifestyle Choices: Smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise, bad hygiene can further contribute to early signs of ageing. It was found that a middle aged smoker will have as many wrinkles as a non smoker in their 60’s and above.
Here’s are some habits you can start today to support youthful skin for a long time
- Protect yourself from the sun: Use SPF, Wear Hats, Use Sunglasses
- Check your products: Avoid ingredients that are irritants, Avoid shortcut skincare, Read ingredient labels to avoid the harsh stuff. Organic skincare is something which you can opt for as it is harmless for the skin
- Skin Friendly Diet: Eat your greens, Drink plenty of water, Get your vitamins in
- Skin Friendly Lifestyle: Don’t smoke, reduce alcohol consumption, exercise and keep your pillow cases, bedsheets and other surroundings clean