How ageing affects your skin

Healthy skin ageing

Your skin protects you from the harshness of everyday life. Any exposed skin is subject to harsh weather conditions and the sun’s UV rays. And your bad habits and lifestyle can have a negative effect on how skin ages. Everyone wants beautiful skin so it all depends on how you treat it.

Skin ageing depends on many things such as your lifestyle, the genetics you inherit, lifestyle and your personal habits. Things like smoking, alcohol and junk food damage skin cells and skin ageing and wrinkles.

When you want skin that looks young and fresh, you need to look after it throughout your life.

Skin is a living organism

Your skin is a living organism made up of several layers. The outside of your skin is called the epidermis. It contains cells that produce pigment to give your skin its colour. This outer layer of skin continually renews itself with new cells rising to the surface as they mature. The old skin cells shed leaving a new layer of skin.

The next layer is the dermis and has the lymph and blood vessels, the oil and sweat glands, and the nerves. The hair follicles from the epidermis extend into this layer. The dermis also has dense fibres called collagen that give your skin its strength. There is also a network of elastic fibres called elastin so the skin is pliable and soft.

Under the dermis is a layer of fat to give your skin its structure.

Indications of ageing skin

As we get older our skin ages naturally, and the following signs of ageing skin become obvious:

  • Wrinkles. As we age our skin develops wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, in particular. Reduced collagen, elastin and thinning of the skin are more prone to this in these areas of your face. This is because there is more facial movement in these areas such as smiling and squinting the eyes.
  • Thinning skin. Your skin thins as the rate of cell production slows in the epidermis of the skin. This makes your skin more likely to become wrinkled and looser.
  • Dry skin. Skin becomes more prone to dryness as it ages as there are fewer sweat and oil glands. This can make it itchy, rough and dry.
  • Sagging skin. Skin sags because it loses its elasticity and produces less collagen as you age. Bags under the eyes and sagging around the jaw are indications of natural ageing.
  • Broken blood vessels. When your skin thin it is more likely to bruise and for the blood vessels to break because of the thinning of the walls of the blood vessels.
  • Age spots. Pigment cells can increase in ageing skin and form clusters called age spots. Because the backs of your hands are continually exposed to the sun, this is a common place for age spots to form.
  • Fragility. Your skin become more fragile as the area where the dermis and epidermis layers meet flatten out with age.
  • Transparency. Skin becomes transparent with age as the epidermis thins.

How to reduce premature skin ageing

Many things play a major role in premature skin ageing. There are precautions you can take every day as well as lifestyle changes to prevent skin ageing prematurely. Here are some tips to follow to preserve your skin:

  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, stop. The chemicals in cigarettes ages your skin quickly, and cause a dull complexion and wrinkles.
  • Eat well. Research shows that eating a healthy diet with fresh vegetables and fruit included can help prevent your skin ageing. Cut out the junk food, and high levels of refined carbohydrates and sugars to avoid ageing your skin prematurely.
  • Sun protection. Whenever you go out into the sun protect exposed skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This will protect your skin from the harsh damage the sun does when exposed.
  • Ditch the alcohol. If you enjoy an alcoholic drink it is not doing your skin any favours and makes you look older. Either stop drinking alcohol altogether or cut it down to preserve your skin.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. When you scrub your skin, it can cause irritations which accelerates its ageing. Be gentle when cleansing to preserve the health of your skin.
  • Moisturise. Moisturise your face daily to hydrate the skin to give you a more youthful appearance and to protect it every day.
  • Use good quality skincare products. Using poor quality skincare products can damage your skin and make it appear older. Good quality skincare products will restore and protect your skin from premature ageing.
  • Exercise regularly. Research shows that regular exercise can make you look younger. Regular exercise boosts your immune system and improves circulation to give your skin a heathy glow.

If you have concerns about the rate your skin is ageing or about looking older, apply these tips to your daily life to protect your skin from ageing.

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