There are quite a few things which cause our skin to change. Some factors can be influenced while there are certain things that we cannot do anything about. One of the latter ones is the natural ageing process of the skin. But, with the right resources, we can reduce the visibility of such changes on our skin. It is natural for your skin to lose some of its youthfulness with years. Your skin tends to lose its elasticity, become thinner and drier. But, you can combat or prevent the premature ageing of your skin. For that, it is important to know what are the exact changes brought to the skin by ageing.
The skin changes that come with age:
Being the most voluminous organ of our body, the skin suffers from both extrinsic as well as intrinsic ageing damage. Ageing of organs starts from the time when one is born. The skin is no exception. So, as we age, natural changes occur in our skin, which include the following :
- Skin turns rougher.
- Skin loses its elasticity. The loss of elastin (elastic tissue) makes the skin go slack and hang loosely. This causes jowls and double chins.
- The thinning of the epidermis makes the skin look more transparent.
- Skin turns more fragile caused by the flattening of the area which unites the epidermis and dermis.
- Skin gets easily bruised due to thinner walls of blood vessels.
- Skin develops lesions like benign tumors.
- Loss of fat below the skin of cheeks, chin, nose, eyes etc. leads to sunken eyes.
- Reduced production of natural oils makes the skin drier.
- Fine lines appear on the forehead, on the temple, upper cheeks, around eyes and mouth.
- Grooves form beneath the skin’s surface which go on to become wrinkles.
- Age spots and small growths known as skin tags are also common.
Causes of skin ageing:
Your skin is at the mercy of various forces as you age. These factors include sun, sleep, harsh weather, diet, heredity, as well as bad habits. There are also other factors like pollution or stress which contribute to the ageing of the skin. Some of the most common causes are:
- Sun: Exposure to sunlight is the sole biggest culprit in ageing your skin. This effect is known as photo-aging. The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage the elastin in the skin. The breakdown of such fibers makes the skin sag and lose its stretching capability. It can also lead to skin cancer in severe cases.
- Smoking: Smokers tend to have more wrinkles and earlier , when compared to non-smokers. This is because smoking can cause free radicals. These free radicals are overactive, unstable and damage cells, causing premature ageing.
- Facial movement: Your facial movement could give birth to fine lines and wrinkles on your face. If you are squinting too much, it causes wrinkles near your eyes as well as lines on the forehead.
- Gravity: As the skin continues to lose its elasticity, gravity causes the drooping of eyelids and eyebrows.
- Sleep: Sleep position also affects your skin. Sleep creases are caused due to the position of your head on the pillow while sleeping. These are commonly visible on the side of the forehead, near the temples, middle of the cheeks etc.
Effective ways to slow down the skin ageing process:
Skin ageing is a natural process and you cannot stop or prevent it no matter how hard you try. But you can definitely slow it down. If you are in your late twenties or early thirties, you need to start now. What you do for and against your skin today will decide its future tomorrow. The signs of skin ageing may be subtle for you today, but it is very important to start to address this problem. This is because sometimes a little goes a long way. So, let us see what you can do to keep your skin looking young for a long time.
- Wear sunscreen: Rain or shine, indoors or outdoors, you need to wear sunscreen every single day. It should be an unavoidable part of your daily routine. Make sure to choose a sunscreen which is broad-spectrum and has an SPF of 30 and higher. It needs to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. So, be generous while applying your sunscreen. Do not forget the necks, legs and arms.
- Avoid tanning: Irrespective of whether it is indoors or outdoors, tanning is one of the biggest mistakes you can do to your skin. Too much ultraviolet radiation causes damage to elastin, collagen and results in skin discoloration.
- Do not smoke: Smoking spells bad news for every part of your body, including your skin. It leads to faster breakdown of collagen, constricts blood vessels and causes wrinkles and dull complexion.
- Drink less alcohol: Alcohol is evil for the skin. Drinking too much of it dehydrates your skin and dilates the blood vessels. It could also lead to a skin disorders like rosacea that causes redness with tiny pimples.
- Avoid the same facial expressions: During a facial expression, we contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract these muscles years after years, these lines tend to be permanent.
- Exercise enough: Exercising for the greater part of a week helps to improve the body’s circulatory system. It gives a boost to the immune system and lends the skin a more youthful look.
- Balanced diet: Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables helps to keep our body and skin supple and sound. A well-balanced diet with less sugar and carbohydrate content helps to prevent premature skin ageing.
- Cleanse gently: It is very important to clean your skin using a gentle hand. Scrubbing it hard will irritate it and accelerate skin ageing. Wash it gently to get rid of the pollution, dirt, makeup and sweat.
- Moisturize daily: Using a moisturizer daily helps to keep your skin hydrated and lock in the moisture. This keeps your skin looking youthful.
Following these measures will definitely help you to slow down the ageing process of your skin. Even people who have already started developing these signs could benefit by making the required lifestyle changes. And if you are someone who has a lot of sun damage, acne scars or dark spots, you can contact a dermatologist for the appropriate skin treatment.