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Ageing Skin

One of the most visible signs of ageing is changes in the skin – fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, age spots and much more.

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Ageing Skin

It’s no secret that as we age, our bodies change and everything starts to look and feel a little different than it used to. One of the most visible signs of ageing is changes in the skin – fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, age spots and much more.

Our skin is at the mercy of many forces as we age: sun, harsh weather, and bad habits. But we can take steps to help our skin stay supple and fresh-looking.

How your skin ages will depend on a variety of factors: your lifestyle, diet, heredity, and other personal habits. For instance, smoking can produce free radicals, once-healthy oxygen molecules that are now overactive and unstable. Free radicals damage cells, leading to, among other things, premature wrinkles.

There are other reasons, too. Primary factors contributing to wrinkled, spotted skin include normal aging, exposure to the sun (photoaging) and pollution, and loss of subcutaneous support (fatty tissue between your skin and muscle). Other factors that contribute to aging of the skin include stress, gravity, daily facial movement, obesity, and even sleep position.

What kind of skin changes comes with age?

As we grow older, changes like these naturally occur:

  • Skin becomes rougher
  • Skin develops lesions such as benign tumors
  • Skin becomes slack. The loss of the elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin with age causes the skin to hang loosely
  • Skin becomes more transparent. This is caused by thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin)

  • Skin becomes more fragile. This is caused by a flattening of the area where the epidermis and dermis (layer of skin under the epidermis) come together
  • Skin becomes more easily bruised. This is due to thinner blood vessel walls

Changes below the skin also become evident as we age. They include:

  • Loss of fat below the skin in the cheeks, temples, chin, nose, and eye area may result in a leaner look, loosening skin, sunken eyes, and a “skeletal” appearance
  • Bone loss, mostly around the mouth and chin, may become evident after age 60 and cause puckering of the skin around the mouth

  • Cartilage loss in the nose causes drooping of the nasal tip and accentuation of the bony structures in the nose

The skin performs several key functions that are increasingly impaired in ageing

Why does our skin age?

There are many layers to the skin, but it is generally broken down into three main parts:

  • Epidermis – this is the outer layer of skin containing skin cells, pigments and proteins. Acts as a barrier to prevent infection from external factors
  • Dermis – the middle layer containing blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, oil glands and an arrangement of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including collagen and elastin. Cushions the skin from stress and strain, and provides nutrients to the epidermis

  • Hypodermis – the innermost layer of skin containing sweat glands, hair follicles, blood vessels and fat. Acts as an insulator to regular body temperature

Now, as we age the skin begins to lose its elasticity, due to a break down in the connective tissue – this is what makes the skin thinner, more prone to sagging and less likely to heal itself from injuries. We also become more prone to bruising and bleeding under the skin as the blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile.

The sweat glands in the hypodermis layer also start to produce less oil as we get older – which might seem like a relief to all those oily skin sufferers, but it actually can result in dryness and itchiness as it’s difficult to keep the skin moist.

Less insulation and padding in the hypodermis layer increases our risk of injury and decreases our ability to maintain body temperature, as there is not as much cushioning to protect from external factors.

All of these things combined, along with other factors that come with ageing result in thin, fragile skin which bring on the dreaded skin changes such as wrinkling and sagging. Generally, other changes such as growths including warts, skin tags and blemishes are more common as we get older.

Skin in your 40’s

As we near menopause, the dermis and epidermis become thinner, resulting in fragile, thin skin which has a tendency to look dull and grey. It’s around now that we really begin to see the effects of sun damage and deep lines and wrinkles are more visible than ever.

Slowed fibroblast activity and a loss of subcutaneous fat results in forehead wrinkles, deeper mouth creases and sagging in the neck. Our mid 40’s sees the chin beginning to sag, deeper crows feet and a baggier appearance in the lower lids. Due to damaged protein accumulating in the skin, scars and sun damage become more prominent.

What should you do?

Lotions and potions will do little to reverse the visible signs of ageing at this stage, so if that’s something you are striving for, it’s time to take a serious look into in-clinic treatments to help rejuvenate the skin and create a more youthful, refreshed appearance.

Skin in your 50’s+

By the time we reach our 50’s, all evidence of sun damage, skin care and the natural ageing process are completely visible. We start to see deeper wrinkles and pigmentation is more evident.

Skin starts to become very dry as sebum production begins to slow down due to a decrease in oestrogen. We now have less muscle and fat under the skin and the lowest level of elastin and collagen, meaning our skin has lost much of its tightness from 30 years ago.

Some people may begin to see spider veins, age spots and skin tags develop, and we may experience dilated superficial blood vessels in our 60’s+.

What should you do?

First and foremost, always wear an SPF on your skin every day to minimise further sun damage in addition to any present from earlier in life. It’s important to focus on trying to diminish fine lines and wrinkles with the use of Vitamin A and Retinol in your skincare routine which help to encourage dead skin cell turnover.

There are a few brilliant in-clinic treatments that can help to tighten the skin and reduce the visible signs of ageing by making lines and wrinkles less prominent.

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If you are not sure what treatments are for you then search your current symptoms to find the right treatment for you.

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