Why Your Skin Ages

The skin ages because the cell renewal process slows down. This occurs due to the body's natural aging process, but also due to other factors. Get to know them!
Why Your Skin Ages

Written by Aylin Stefany Rodriguez Vinasco, 23 June, 2021

Last update: 23 June, 2021

You may have wondered why skin ages. The answer is a twofold one: the natural process and the influence of internal and external factors. Among the first signs of aging, we find wrinkles, accentuation of fine lines, thinning of the skin, and the appearance of spots.

Why the skin ages

Genetics are related to aging skin
Like all tissues, the skin tends to age due to the interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

In biological terms, the skin ages because cell renewal slows down with age. According to research, the first symptoms of this slowdown begin to appear between the ages of 25 and 30.

When the skin begins to age, there’s a low production of collagen and proteins such as elastin and hyaluronic acid. So, among the signs of aging, we also have the loss of skin elasticity and luminosity.

However, in this process, as natural as it may be, there are internal and external factors that can accelerate it. Because it affects all the layers of the skin: epidermis, dermis and hypodermis, it can’t be reversed.

Even so, when aging is caused by external factors related to an inadequate diet or lifestyle, for example, we can slow it down.

Factors that age the skin

There are many factors that can cause the skin to age. Among them, we find the biological, hormonal, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Here, we’ll tell you more about each of them.

Biological

Among the biological factors are a high number of genetic ones. According to studies, this has a 25% incidence on skin aging. This is unchangeable, at least so far. In fact, it has been shown that, at a genetic level, a person’s race has a lot to do with it.

Among the published findings, we see that there’s a direct relationship between the genes that cause aging and the diseases that follow a course similar to aging. Those involved in the body’s oxidative stress, DNA repair, and inflammation are involved here.

The research cited also explains that each person’s immune system has a lot to do with it.

Hormonal

Most of the body’s hormones have an effect on the skin, the sebaceous gland, the eccrine, and the apocrine sweat glands. In fact, taking into account that some hormones are synthesized in the skin, experts consider this to be one more endocrine organ.

This is the main reason why the improper functioning of the endocrine system can alter the skin and cause aging. A study in this regard indicates that people with isolated deficiency and resistance to growth hormone can experience premature aging.

Environmental

One of the environmental factors with the greatest impact on skin aging is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, both A (UVA) and B (UVB). When the skin ages in this way, it’s known as photoaging and, as supported by studies, the modifications it causes to the structure of the skin are irreversible.

This research also indicates that the degree of incidence due to these factors also depends on genetic factors, the skin phototype, and the capacity of the DNA mechanisms to repair the skin.

Now, among these environmental factors, we also find the impact of tobacco. Studies indicate that the signs of skin aging such as facial wrinkles appear towards middle age, that is, between 35 to 40 years of age. Experts explain that tobacco causes the skin to lose its elasticity.

Finally, pollution can also trigger premature skin aging. This is mostly due to the fact that pollution usually worsens the effects of sun exposure.

Lifestyle factors

A good diet doesn't age the skin
A healthy diet is related to a good state of skin health.

Another reason why the skin ages is related to the lifestyle of each person. Harmful habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and exposing the skin without sun protection lead to premature aging, not only of the skin, but of the entire body. In addition, food has a great influence in this.

Therefore, it’s important to eat a healthy diet that includes several different vitamins. We’re talking mainly about vitamin A (which promotes general skin health), vitamin C (which activates the skin’s defenses and intervenes in the collagen synthesis process), and vitamin E (which protects cell tissue and helps improve blood circulation). This is supported by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

On the other hand, accelerated weight loss also affects the skin and contributes to its aging. This occurs because the fat from the skin is lost, and the concentration of collagen and hyaluronic acid is decreased. The result here is that the skin loses volume and consistency, thus causing wrinkles.

How to avoid skin aging

As we said, some factors that make the skin age can’t be controlled, such as genetic factors and some environmental ones. However, we can prevent photoaging and the impact of lifestyle habits that contribute to it by:

  • Using sunscreen: Studies indicate that the use of sunscreen helps prevent UV rays from damaging the skin. In the same vein, it’s recommended that you don’t expose yourself to the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and that you wear sunglasses.
  • Following a healthy diet: The food we eat every day greatly influences skin condition. Those that contain plenty of B complex vitamins, vitamin C, and carotenes, such as peppers should form an important part of our diets. Vitamin E is important (nuts have plenty), as well as omega 3 fatty acids (take oily fish). And, finally, chocolate contains flavonoids and antioxidants.
  • Quitting tobacco and alcohol: Tobacco causes inadequate blood circulation of skin cells and alcohol dehydrates it. For this reason, it’s recommended that you stop these types of harmful habits.
  • Use specialized creams: Moisturizers and anti-wrinkle creams help take care of the skin and prevent it from aging. The former helps to counteract the loss of water and the latter, depending on its components, prevents the formation of wrinkles and can improve the appearance of existing ones.
  • Avoid stress: Stress is one of the factors that most ages the skin and the body. In addition, it destabilizes cortisol, which can cause the skin to lose elasticity and become dehydrated.

Why does your skin age? Now you know!

The skin ages for many reasons. As a result of reading this article, you shouldn’t now just think that it’s something that exclusively depends on the passing of time. If you lead a healthy lifestyle and your skin seems aged, and has other ailments, then you should consult a health professional to evaluate any genetic and hormonal aspects that may be affecting you.

It’s also worth insisting on the importance of controlling sun exposure and the use of sunscreen. As studies assure us, the more you expose yourself to the sun, the faster the skin ages. And this isn’t all – the sun causes skin burns and other serious conditions such as skin cancer, caused by the damage it produces in our cells.

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