Skin ageing is a complex biological process.
It is caused by various intrinsic and extrinsic factors, that lead to loss of the structural integrity of our ski.n
- Sallow skin
- Crow’s feet
- Sagging skin
These are just a few of the things that occur, as an inevitable part of the ageing process, some of these factors are out of our control, but some we truly can control.
Ageing of the skin is not solely dependent on ‘age’, for example, your skin age can differ considerably to your actual age and this is due to several factors which contribute to skin ageing. These factors fall into two categories:
Understanding intrinsic & extrinsic ageing
Intrinsic ageing: This is the genetic process our skin goes through as we age, it is the natural ageing or chronologic ageing process the skin goes through.
Extrinsic ageing: These are the factors, that to some degree we can control. It is associated with the movement of the muscle, nicotine, exposure to solar radiation, lifestyle, stress, alcohol caffeine, lack of sleep, and other health conditions
This is the natural continual ageing process when our cellular and biological processes start to slow down. It is the process that we have little control over, an inevitable process that occurs naturally and is affected by the degenerative effects of hormone shifts, free radicals, and the body’s inability to repair skin damage perfectly.
- Fibroblasts decrease in the dermis. The tough, fibrous, elastic matrix begins to weaken, causing nearby hydrating molecules to decrease in volume, so there is less water around to keep our collagen and elastin fibres flexible and moist. This drought has a knock-on effect, preventing fresh new cells from developing. This is why as we age skin becomes dehydrated; my article the clear skin difference looks at this in more detail
- Collagen depletes and our elastin fibres become less supple, basically, our internal scaffolding starts to become shaky and starts to lose its bounce. Think of all the times you smile, frown and yawn, when you do this lines begin to form
- Fat shrinkage occurs beneath the face, contributing to deep furrows and wrinkles that we associate with ageing
- We produce less oil as we age, which normally keeps our skin soft and supple. This is due to the reduction of the activity in the sebaceous and sudoriferous glands
- Hormones change causing the skin to become drier, which is why you need to take linoleic acid
- Cellular turnover slows down causing a build-up of dead cells on the surface of the skin, this is why I recommend my customers regularly use only gentle exfoliating products, as part of their skincare regime
- Skin becomes paler because the supply of blood vessels starts to diminish as we age. These blood vessels are necessary for transporting nutrients and moisture to the skin and removing cellular waste
As if these anti age factors weren’t enough for our skin to cope with, there are also extrinsic factors that can alter our skins structures.
Lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking and stress, and external factors from the environment including UVA rays, pollutants, heat and radiation, all adversely affect our skin, augmenting the inherent degradation of our skin’s quality.
- Sleep deprivation
- Damaging UV rays
- Poor nutritional intake
- Central heating and Air conditioning
As an educator, one of the first things I discuss with my students is how damaging environmental factors can be especially the sun.
All of which has the potential to increase oxidation levels in the body, that can further be compounded by dehydration, inflammation and infection.
The naked truth
Intrinsic ageing, though genetically determined is not constant across different individuals, however, the potential components that lead to extrinsic ageing, including nutrition, smoking, solar rays and so forth are endless, this is why we see such a wide range of visible signs of aged skin, even within genetically similar people of the same age.
Within the industry, future research is focused on gaining a better understanding of both intrinsic and extrinsic influences on the ageing of the skin.
Here at the naked chemist, we seek to lessen the effects of intrinsic ageing while at the same time aim for the avoidance of the extrinsic components – with a commitment to accept those factors that cannot be changed, and to treat the factors that can, whilst educating both our staff and clients with the evidence‐based ‘wisdom’ to know the difference.