When it comes to skin aging, there’s not much we can do to completely stop the process. Signs of aging like wrinkles and spots are the results of the accumulation of defects in cells and intracellular structures.
Experts have found that skin aging typically starts around age 25. In our mid 20s, our bodies gradually start to stop producing as much collagen as before which causes our skin to lose elasticity.
While you can’t turn back the clock, early prevention is key. You can slow down skin aging and keep your skin healthier for longer.
How can you slow down skin aging?
Experts recommend incorporating anti-aging products in your skincare routine as early as your 20s and 30s. You can begin with the basics, such as a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Sunscreen is your skin’s best friend, and should be applied early and often.
Retinol serums, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C serums can gradually be added to your routine to help slow down skin aging and reduce blemishes.
If you’ve passed the point of being able to prevent skin aging, you can consider laser renewal treatments, Botox, and skin tightening and resurfacing procedures.
What causes skin aging?
Genes play a huge role in the aging process. The degree of skin aging, especially that which is caused by sun exposure, is significantly affected by a person’s Fitzpatrick phototype and ethnicity. The Fitzpatrick skin type scale classifies skin based on its reaction to sun exposure.
Fair-skinned people of Northern European descent (Fitzpatrick phototypes I to III) are more susceptible to photoaging (sun damage) than people of color (Fitzpatrick phototypes IV to VI, which include people of African, African American, Asian, and Latino or Hispanic descent). This happens because the melanin in the skin protects against sun-induced aging.
What are the two types of skin aging?
There are two types of skin aging:
- Intrinsic skin aging: This results from the passage of time and is mainly due to the action of reactive oxygen. Intrinsically aged skin is unblemished, smooth, pale, dry, and less elastic with fine wrinkles.
- Extrinsic skin aging: This occurs due to external factors. Extrinsically aged skin is characterized by coarse and deep wrinkling, rough texture, telangiectasia (spider veins), irregular or mottled pigmentation, a sallow or yellow complexion, and a loss of elasticity. The severity of extrinsic aging depends on the skin type (fairer skin is affected more than darker skin). External factors may include:
What are different stages of skin aging?
Childhood (age 6 to puberty)
- During this period, the skin is especially soft and smooth and renews very quickly. However, the skin of a newborn is extremely sensitive.
- For this reason, parents should be very careful when outdoors with their children and protect them from sun exposure.
Adolescence (usually starts at age 12-14)
- Skin becomes noticeably rougher, more porous, and especially fatty due to changing hormones. For many teenagers, acne becomes an issue.
- Many teenagers abuse their skin by tanning, popping zits, getting tattoos, trying DIY beauty remedies, exhausting themselves with little or no sleep, and eating junk food.
- However, despite all this, the skin accepts everything with no huge visible effects.
Youth (age 20-25)
- Experimenting with cosmetics and new products can cause problematic skin or too much exfoliation.
- It’s important to take extra care to allow skin to recover after trying different skincare products.
Adulthood (age 25)
- At this age, people may start noticing changes in their skin, which may appear dull and less elastic.
- Production of collagen and elastin slows down, thin wrinkles appear under the eyes, and skin defects accumulate, such as pigmentation spots, stretch marks on the body, scars from acne.
- Unfortunately, many women start to take care of their skin only when the aging process becomes very visible.
Middle age (age 35-50)
- Changes in the skin become more and more visible because the quantity of hyaluronic acid decreases and skin becomes thinner.
- Subcutaneous fat deposition also changes (cheekbone area gets thinner and chin area becomes thicker), blood vessels dilate, defective collagen and elastin accumulate, and pigmentation spots and wrinkles appear.
- Static wrinkles appear because of the changes inside of the skin, whereas dynamic wrinkles appear because of the constant movement of particular muscles.
Old age (age 50-70)
- Because women go through menopause and hormonal changes around this stage in life, new wrinkles appear and the dermis and epidermis become dramatically thinner.
- However, after age 60, the skin becomes more stable, although cosmetics can’t make it become youthful again.
- People who took care of their skin when they were young will have fewer wrinkles and pigmentation spots, and overall skin will appear younger and fresher.
- People who allowed their skin to be exposed to strong sun in their youth will notice deeper wrinkles and pigmentation spots at this age.
Extreme old age (after age 70)
- Skin looks parchment thin, has low elasticity, and deep wrinkles.
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Ayer J. Skin ageing. DermNet New Zealand. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/ageing-skin/
National Institutes on Aging. Skin Care and Aging. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging
DUJS Online. Why Does Your Skin Age? https://sites.dartmouth.edu/dujs/2013/01/28/why-does-your-skin-age/
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