As time passes our skin succumbs to a perfectly natural ageing process. The effects of pollution, stress, fatigue and toxins leave their mark and the skin loses its suppleness and elasticity. Nothing reflects our age more than the state of our skin.
The key to growing old gracefully is through good living and awareness of your environment. While many of the changes that come with skin can’t be avoided, some can definitely be minimized. First, it helps to have a basic understanding what happens to the skin as it goes through the aging process.
The skin ages in two key ways: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is genetically predetermined—you can’t avoid it. Eventually, skin gets thinner, drier and less elastic. This happens because we produce less collagen over time. This drop in collagen production also causes skin to sag and is unable to bounce back with weight loss or gain.
The reason skin gets dryer and thinner over time is because the dermis (deep layers of the skin) loses its ability to hold or attract water. On top of this, age causes a marked decrease in the sweat glands and the oil producing sebaceous glands. Oils, water and sweat are the elements of moist, plump skin.
Although the extent of these changes varies from person to person, skin ageing usually first becomes apparent in our 30s.
Extrinsic aging is directly related to exposure to toxins and environmental elements. As you know, the sun is one of the biggest culprits behind extrinsic aging. It basically intensifies the intrinsic aging process, causing us to look older that our true age. Sun-related aging, called “photo aging” causes fine lines, wrinkles, age spots (due to pigment changes), enlarged pores, broken capillaries and rough, uneven skin tone and texture.
Our lifestyle is another factor in extrinsic aging. For example, cigarette smoking not only speeds up the breakdown of collagen and elastin, it causes the formation of skin-killing free radicals (A chemically active atom). Further, it makes it harder for the skin to repair itself. Poor eating habits will also have an effect. A colorful, well-balanced diet is rich in the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories vital for a healthy complexion.
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