As we age, our skin changes and aging happens. It becomes less flexible and less elastic. We get wrinkles and other signs of aging. There are two main reasons for this--the body's natural processes and exposure to the environment. Understanding why skin ages can point to some simple anti aging skin care techniques.
Starting in our 20s, the skin begins to slowly and steadily age. Dead skin cells are not replaced as quickly, collagen production slows and our skin loses elasticity. Signs of this type of aging include:
- fine wrinkles
- thinner skin
- a 'hollow' look due to loss of fat below the skin
- sagging skin, due to bone shrinkage
- dry, itchy skin
Our skin also suffers damage from being exposed. Most of the damage comes from the sun's UV rays. Other external sources of skin aging include repeated sleeping positions, facial expressions and smoking. Anti aging skin care should involve reducing exposure to sunlight and the use of face creams with UV protection.
People who sleep on their sides or stomachs may notice 'sleep lines.' These often appear on the sides of the face or the forehead as a result of sleeping each night in contact with the pillow. People who sleep on their backs will not get sleep lines.
Repetitive facial movements form grooves under the skin that eventually become wrinkles. Laugh lines, worry lines and other wrinkles can be caused this way.
The slow, steady pull on our body changes our appearance over time. Starting in our 50s, nose tips being to droop, ears become longer, eyelids fall, and jowls may form.
Smoking wreaks havoc on the skin, causing many of the outward signs of aging and can even turn a smoker's skin yellow. If a smoker quits, some of these signs may be reduced or even vanish. Quitting smoking is the single best anti aging skin care technique anyone can do.
Dermatologists use the term 'photoaging' to describe the effects of sunlight on unprotected skin. These effects include:
- skin cancer
- age spots
- spider veins
- rough skin
- Cover: Try to cover your body to reduce your exposure to sunlight. Wear a hat, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt if you will be outdoors long.
- Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen when you are outdoors, even if it is cloudy or in the wintertime.
- No Tanning: Do not sunbathe or use tanning booths.
Source: American Dermatological Association. Causes of Aging Skin. American Academy of Dermatology Education Program, 2005.