As we get older our skin’s anatomy and physiology change and we should take steps to adjust our skin care regime. Skin care is important at every age from our 20s to our 40s and beyond. The key is to understand your skin and how natural skin care works to help us achieve our goals.
We all must invest time and care with our skin if we want it to stay younger looking. An important notes I must share is that even the most expensive skin care products can turn back time that why is it important to start out right and adjust as you age. There are steps that we can all take to make our skin look healthy and vibrant and stay wrinkle free for longer.
Understanding the basic functions of our skin is an important step in looking after it properly. You may not know it but our skin is actually our body’s largest organ and comprises three major layers. Lets talk about each layer of skin. We will start with the Epidermis:
This layer has five sub-layers; the outer layers consists of mainly dead skin cells which are continuously shed and replaced by cells beneath. The epidermis is also responsible for ‘water proofing’ your skin, protecting your skin from potential invasion of microbes and generate new skin cells which move from the deep layer of the epidermis to the outer layer, where they are eventually shed.
The Dermis: Is the middle layer of the skin and is composed of connective tissue containing collagen and elastin. The dermis is thick in the palms and soles and very thin in the eyelids. It contains blood vessels, nerves, glands and hair follicles.
The Subcutaneous Layer: This layer consists of areolar and adipose tissue. Fibers from the dermis extend down into the subcutaneous layer and anchor the skin to it. The subcutaneous layer, in turn, attaches to the underlying tissues and organs.
There are many factors that affect of fast our skin ages. Some of these factors we can control and some we cannot. Factors we cannot change are genetic factors but there are a lot of factors we can change like exposure to sunlight, smoking, and diet. In general, paler skin tends to wrinkle faster than darker skins, which are protected by increased amounts of pigment and lipids.
Another factor we can help but not change is our age. We know a little about our skin but what changes as we age is how are skin functions with age. Our skin functions very differently at 20 compared to when we are 60. So it makes sense we should treat our skin differently as we age. So lets talk a little about how we should treat our skin over the years.
Our 20’s: Our 20’s typically show us the best in our skin. Most say goodbye to acne and welcome a more radiant, youthful glow and the epidermis is well toned. Even though our skin looks good in our 20’s it is not a good idea to be complacent in our skin care regimen. In our 20’s skin cell renewal drops by up to 28%, dead skin cells are not as easily shed and external factors are starting to have a greater impact, leaving your skin slightly duller.
It is very important to protect our skin from the sun. Up to 80% of all aging can be directly related to the amount of sun exposure we allow. Some things we can do to help decrease our exposure to the sunlight is to avoid the mid-day sun, or cover up your skin if you need to be out in the sun. Use a good sunscreen to keep UVA rays from penetrating our skin to damage collagen fibers and elastin coils in our skin.
another key thing we can do is avoid smoking or quite smoking. Smoking inhibits oxygen from getting to the outer layer of your skin and has a premature aging effect. It can also cause fine lines around the mouth.
Our 30’s: By the time we get to our 30’s our skin cell turnover has slowed even more. Environmental damage form pollution, smoke and sunlight are starting to take their toll on the dermis, causing collagen fibers to loosen so that the skin starts to loose it tone and develop fine lines and wrinkles. You may notice those laugh lines don’t bounce back as fast as they once did.
Hopefully, by this point you have developed a daily skin care regime that involves exfoliating (2-3 times per week), cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection. It is also important to make sure your diet is well balanced and includes fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and other lean proteins which are high in antioxidants such as Vitamin A, B, C and E. Antioxidants fight free radicals in your body and help the skin repair itself by producing the enzymes that stabilize collagen production, and keep skin moist and healthy. You can help this process by including a moisturizer that includes antioxidants in the ingredients.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation because it can deprive your skin of vital nutrients and may cause your facial blood vessels to become dilated leading to permanent, red spider like veins on your cheeks and in men if often appears across the nose.
SLEEP AND HYDRATION are the keywords we should remember in our 30’s.
Our 40’s: In your 40s, collagen fibers decrease in number, stiffen, break apart, and form into a shapeless, matted tangle. Elastic fibers lose some of their elasticity, thicken into clumps, and fray. The result is the skin forms crevices and furrows known as lines and wrinkles. In addition, loss of fat in the subcutaneous layer leaves your skin more fragile, whereas the dermis will continue to lose its elasticity. A rich nourishing night cr¨me, should become a vital part of your skin care regime.
During this time the outer layer of the epidermis starts to grow even thicker, as dead skin cells hang around for longer. If you are not already using an exfoliant regularly, now is a good time to get into the habit of exfoliating your skin regularly using a facial scrub 2-3 times a week. You could also use a cream containing Rose oil, Jojoba oil or similar, as these contain natural AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) and to help remove dead skin cells.
As deeper wrinkles start to form, you may wish to use a complete skin care system, which systematically helps you to nourish and moisturize your skin on all levels. Choose natural skin care products for your daily skin care regime, as you do not want to introduce unnecessary toxins into your system by using products full of unpronounceable chemicals.
Age 50 and above: As we reach our 50s and beyond, the hair and nails grow more slowly. Langerhans cells (involved in the immune response, dwindle in number, thus decreasing the immune responsiveness of older skin. Decreased size of sebaceous (oil) glands leads to dry and broken skin that is more susceptible to infection.
After the menopause, decreased estrogen levels mean that skin will lose its plumpness and tone, and it may be left dry, itchy and more sensitive to allergens.
At this stage in your life it is important to take that extra care of your skin’s health. Mature skin is more fragile, prone to injury and infection and bruises easily. As if this was not bad enough, it also takes longer to heal. Taking care of your skin will reduce the aging effect; keep it healthier as well as more resistant to injury and infections.
It is inevitable that we all age; skin will lose elasticity and slowly the signs of aging will become apparent with brown spots, and fine lines and wrinkles. However, it is important to note that how you treat your skin in your twenties will forever be apparent later in life. Beginning a preventive maintenance skin care program in your twenties will help maintain a youthful glow well into your 40’s, 50’s and beyond.