Beauty 101

What You Need To Know About Ageing Skin And How To Prevent It

Rachel Gibbons Beauty Expert
What You Need To Know About Ageing Skin And How To Prevent It
If life is all about adventure, your skin is the proof of that. Your years of storytelling could be seen on your face through fine lines. How your skin ages depends on such factors like your lifestyle, diet, heredity and personal habits.

“As we age, skin visibly changes in several ways, and a lot of it has to do things beyond your control,” says dermatologist Dr Alok Vij, MD. As we age, he says, our skin becomes:
  • Rough, dry and itchy
  • Slack. The loss of the elastic tissue (elastin and collagen) in the skin with age causes your skin to become slack and hang loosely.
  • Transparent. This is caused by thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin) and dermis (deeper layer of the skin).
  • Fragile. Increased skin fragility is caused by flattening of the area where the epidermis and dermis (layer of skin under the epidermis) come together.
  • More easily bruised. This is caused by thinner blood vessel walls.
  • More prone to developing skin lesions, such as non-cancerous (benign) tumours.

What below-the-skin changes cause the ageing seen in the face?

But skin across your body isn’t the only place it changes. Ageing skin can also change the appearance of your face. Don’t be alarmed, though, Dr. Vij says, because it’s a natural part of ageing.

Some factors include:
  • Loss of fat below the skin (or what dermatologists call the subcutaneous layer) in your cheeks, temples, chin, nose and eye area. This may result in loosening skin, sunken eyes and a “skeletal” appearance.
  • Bone loss may become evident after age 50 and cause slack skin and puckering of the skin around your mouth.
  • Cartilage loss in the nose causes drooping of the nasal tip and makes the bony structures in the nose easier to see.

How does the sun cause ageing of the skin (photoaging)?

We’ve all heard how overexposure to sun can enhance aging in our skin, but how, exactly, does it happen? “Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages certain fibers in the skin called elastin,” Dr. Vij notes.

He continues, “The breakdown of elastin fibres causes the skin to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to snap back after stretching.” The skin also bruises and tears more easily and takes longer to heal. So while sun damage may not show when you’re young, it will later in life.

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. “It’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun,” Dr. Vij says. “You can delay changes associated with ageing by staying out of the sun. When you do go out, using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher can protect your skin.”

In addition, reapplying sunscreen every two hours or sooner if you get wet or sweat heavily will make an even bigger difference.

How do you prevent ageing skin?

Now, it is inevitable for your skin to age over the years; and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Here are some ways you could slow the ageing process:

1. Wear sunscreen every day.

Rain or shine, in every season, wearing sunscreen should be an automatic part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 and says "broad-spectrum" on the label. That means it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should also offer some water resistance. The UVA rays cause the sun’s ageing effects. Most people don't put on enough, so be liberal when you apply it, and reapply it every one to three hours, depending on the amount of sweating, swimming, or direct sun exposure you get. Don’t forget your neck, hands, and arms.

Some of Threebs’ favourite sunscreens and SPFs would include Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 40 PA+++, AXIS-Y Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA++++ and INKEY LIST Daily Sunscreen SPF30.

2. Wear sunglasses.

They will protect your eyes from the sun and also the delicate skin surrounding them. Plus, you won’t be creating more wrinkles by squinting all the time.

3. Wear hats, visors, and sun-protective clothing.

Wear them along with sunscreen. Hats with a broad brim are a good choice. You could even rock a parasol to keep the sun off your skin.

4. Don’t smoke.

Smoking is bad news for every part of you. In your skin, it speeds up the breakdown of collagen and constricts blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Smokers are more likely to wrinkle early. In time, their nails and fingertips will turn yellow.

The prospect of wrinkles could be the last bit of motivation you need. You may need to try several times to quit for good, but it's more than worth it.

5. Avoid too much alcohol.

Having a drink with a friend or savouring a glass of wine with dinner is fine, Day says. But drinking too much alcohol dehydrates your skin and dilates your blood vessels. If you drink too much, you could develop broken blood vessels and rosacea, a skin disorder marked by redness and tiny pimples.

6. Use retinoids or retinols.

Retinoids are prescription face medications, such as Retin-A, Renova, and Tazorac, that can help skin look younger. Retinols are a weaker form sold without a prescription.

Women who aren’t planning to become pregnant can start using retinoids at any age, even their early twenties. It is recommended that women begin using a retinol (an over-the-counter, weaker form of a retinoid called tretinoin) in their twenties as an anti-aging strategy.

If you don't have a lot of sun damage by your twenties or thirties, you can wait.How necessary it is and how much difference a retinoid is going to make will depend on your baseline skin.

7. Consider antioxidants and peptides.

For women in their twenties, the most basic skin care routine is washing with a gentle cleanser and using a moisturiser at night, with a retinoid if needed.

Serums that contain peptides and antioxidants --such as grape seed extract, resveratrol, green tea, and vitamins A, C, and E.

If you use skin products with antioxidants, try applying them in the morning before using a sunscreen moisturiser. Both products may work in tandem to protect skin from damage.

Ageing skin tells a story of your life that no words could ever comprehend. Famous makeup artist, Bobbi Brown mentions that she, too, is not that keen on Botox because women are ‘supposed to have lines as they get older”.

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