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What Happens to Skin as You Age By Nazia Afsoon
in Aging | Published 2009-10-22 10:07:27 | 452 Reads | Unrated
What Happens to Skin as You Age Learn about the factors that can make us look older than we are.
Aging Skin Through the Years
Your skin will naturally change as you age, a process that usually begins in your mid-twenties as the production of firming collagen in your skin declines. And elastin, which gives your skin its elasticity, loses some of its ability to bounce back into place. Older skin tends to have fewer sweat and oil glands to help keep it moist, as well as less of the fat that causes skin to look plump and smooth.
Over time, these changes can lead to noticeable signs of aging skin, including:
- Thinner, fr
- Dry, flaky skin
Environmental Skin Damage
While you cannot control your genetics, you can control your exposure to many of the environmental factors that can age your skin. By making certain lifestyle changes, you can prevent or delay many of the signs of aging skin.
Environmental factors that cause your skin to age prematurely include:
- Sun exposure. Sun damage is thought of as the biggest contributor to premature aging skin. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light can break down the collagen in your skin, inhibit the production of new collagen, and weaken your skin's elastin. Over time, this damage can cause your skin to become discolored, rough, leathery, dry, and wrinkled.
- Cigarette smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to have wrinkled, leathery complexions compared to people who don’t smoke. Smoking may lead to the breakdown of skin's elastin and collagen. Lighting up can also dry out your skin and cause your complexion to take on a yellowish hue. Squinting from all the smoke can even create fine lines around your eyes.
- Gravity. Gravity is one of the environmental factors that you cannot control. Over time, exposure to the earth's gravity causes age-related skin changes to become more pronounced. This can lead to the appearance of droopy, saggy skin folds.
- Repetitive facial movements. Making the same facial expressions or movements for years can lead to the development of grooves in your skin. Along with age-related changes in your skin's elastin, these repeated facial expressions — sometimes called laugh lines though frown lines are in this group, too — can lead to permanent furrows.
- Pillow time. Like repetitive facial expressions, sleeping in certain positions for many years can "smoosh" your face and cause deep wrinkles to develop. This is especially a problem in people who sleep on their sides or face down. Sleeping on your back reduces your risk of developing these sleep-related wrinkles.
- Stress. Being under stress can cause your skin to become dry. Skin that is rough, dry, and scaly, looks older and less healthy than it might really be.
The most important thing you can do to prevent signs of aging skin is to avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen every day. There are also some anti-aging products and cosmetic procedures that can eliminate or reduce some of these signs, so talk with your dermatologist about your treatment options for aging skin.
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