Aging changes in the skin are a group of common conditions and developments that occur as people grow older. Skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging. Evidence of increasing age include wrinkles and sagging skin. Whitening or graying of the hair is another obvious sign of aging. So what are the processes at work and how can you slow these processes?
Aging of the Skin
Aging and your Skin
Your skin does many things and provides several very important functions. For example, the skin is a barrier between your internal environment and the external environment, it helps regulate your body temperature, helps with fluid and electrolyte balance, and provides receptors for sensations such as touch, pain, and pressure (UMM). In addition, your skin is also involved in the elimination of waste and in doing so takes considerable load off your Kidneys.
Although skin is constantly aging, pronounced effects do not occur until a person reaches their late forties. Around that time, collagen fibers decrease in number, stiffen, break apart, and form into a shapeless, matted tangle (Totora, 1993).
Your skin is further impacted, because the elastic fibers of your skin lose some of their elasticity, thicken into clumps, and fry. As a result, the skin forms crevices and furrows known as fine lines and wrinkles.
The skin's fibroblasts, which produce both collagen and elastic fibers, decrease in number and macrophages become less efficient phagocytes. With increased age, the hair and nails grow more slowly. Langerhans cells dwindle in number, thus decreasing the immune responsiveness of older skin.
The aging of your skin is also increased as a result of a decrease in the size of sebaceous (oil) glands, which leads to dry and broken skin that is more susceptible to infection. Production of sweat diminishes, which probably contributes to the increased incidence of heat stroke in the elderly.
There is also a decrease in the number of functioning melanocytes, resulting in gray hair and atypical skin pigmentation. An increase in the size of some melanocytes produces pigmented blotching also known as liver spots. Blood vessels in the dermis become thicker walled and less permeable, and subcutaneous fat is lost, leading to 'floppy' skin.
In general, aged skin is thinner than young skin, especially the dermis and migration of cells from the basal layer to the epidermal surface slows considerably. Aged skin also heals poorly and becomes more susceptible to pathological conditions such as skin cancer, itching, pressure sores, and shingles (Tortora, 1993).
The above are some of the major factors causing aging of the skin and are a natural, normal process. However, there are additional factors which may accelerate the aging of your skin.
Nearly everyone has experienced the effect of acute overexposure to sunlight - a sunburn. Even if sunburn does not occur, the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight cause photodamage of DNA in epidermal cells and extracellular matrix materials, such as collagen and elastic fibers, in the dermis. Over the long term, chronic UV exposure accelerates the aging of skin (photoaging) and is an important factor in development of nearly all skin cancers. Protecting your skin from UV rays is a wise approach.
So what can you do to prevent premature aging of the skin? How can you slow the processes or help the skin to maintain its vitality?
Preventing the signs of aging of your skin should start long before the first signs of skin aging appear. From the time you reach your 20's you should be following a daily skin care regime and use natural skin care products as opposed to products that contain artificial and synthetic chemicals some of which have been shown to have possible adverse health effects over the long term.
In addition, you should feed your skin from the in-side-out. That is by eating healthy, non-processed foods you will provide the necessary nutrients for your skin to be able to maintain its health and vitality. Similarly, adequate intake of waste is vital to keep your skin hydrated.
Protection from overexposure to UV light is another preventative measure that is easily implemented by using sunscreen lotion, covering up using a hat with a wide rim, and wearing protective clothing when venturing out into the sun.
Last, but by no means least. Exercise will help you to boost your blood circulation, provide a 'flushing' effect of your skin by means of perspiration and as long as you make sure you have sufficient fluids before, during and after exercising, this will help your skin in many positive ways.
Products you should consider to help affect aging skin
Here are some basic principles to observe when choosing your skin care products:
These type of ingredients will help you to take care of your maturing skin and prevent premature signs of aging.
In addition, you should not use individual products from different companies to make up your skin care system. Choose a natural skin care system that is integrated and balanced to achieve a specific outcome.
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