What Happens to Your Skin as You Get Older?
As your body ages, the appearance and characteristics of your skin change. Visible aging of your skin starts around age 25 as your natural regenerative processes begin to slow.
Your skin replaces old cells more slowly and there is a slower turnover of the surface skin as well as slower wound healing.
Around age 45, the skin begins to thin, due in part, to hormonal changes. This thinning makes your skin more fragile and vulnerable to damage by abrasion and more sensitive to irritating environmental factors and allergens.
The coils of collagen and elastin in your skin suffer cuts and cross linking damage and as a result, the skin loses much of its strength and elasticity. The moisture holding proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans decrease in abundance, making the skin become dryer and looser.
Your skin loses fat, so it looks less plump and smooth. The number of blood vessels in your skin decreases, and the skin loses its youthful color and glow.
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This can be seen as four basic changes:
Change 1 The rate of the skin cell replacement decreases, producing a thinner, more fragile skin. Skin is replaced every three weeks at age 20 but this slows to every nine weeks by age 50.
Damaged proteins accumulate in the skin. This damage can be the result of scars, sun damage, oxidative damage, and the cross-linking of skin proteins by sugars.
Around age 25, skin oil production starts to drop. This reduces acne but produces a dryer skin. This drop in oil production becomes more serious after age 45.
The biosynthesis and breakdown of collagen, elastin, and water-holding glycosaminoglycans exists in a dynamic balance in young healthy skin. However after age 25, the skin's production of collagen, elastin, and the water-holding GAGs slows down while the rate of breakdown of these factors speeds up, thus starting the beginning of wrinkle formation and loss of elasticity. This problem becomes progressively more serious with passing years.
While all these changes are taking place, gravity is also at work, pulling at your skin, causing it to sag.
Wrinkles around the eyes are a characteristic signs of skin damage. Your skin tends to heal more slowly and minor blemishes develop.
In addition, this aging process can be exacerbated by factors such as extremes of cold or heat, excessive sunlight exposure (UV radiation), psychological stress, and improper nutrition.
The effects of this photodamage can be seen by comparing the skin of people living in sunny locales to those in hady regions. Exposed skin shows mottled hyperpigmentation while the non exposed skin is usually clearer and paler.
Your Daily Routine Could Lead to Dry Skin
During aging the oil-producing (sebaceous) glands become less active, and your skin becomes drier.
The skin becomes more sensitive to the use of harsh soaps and disinfectants which more easily damage skin.
You have a natural oil covering your skin called sebum, which is produced by glands in the skin.
Frequent use of drying agents, such as soap, remove this oil and causes your skin to become dry, which can lead to cracking and flaking. Once your skin begins to crack, it becomes susceptible to inflammation and itching.
Everyday factors that may cause your skin to crack include harsh soaps or long hot baths and showers. In our modern culture, most people overdo skin cleansing to the point of damage.