Factors and Characteristics of Skin Aging
Not only the natural aging process due to age, skin aging can occur due to various factors and reasons. Aging is a process that can be driven by intrinsic and extrinsic factors progressively causing loss of structure and function of the skin. Although age cannot be stopped, skin aging can be "slowed down" and treated in various ways, start from daily habits to cosmetic treatments.
Through this article, we will explore more about factors and characteristics of skin aging!
Intrinsic aging of the skin is an aging process that cannot be avoided since it involves natural processes such as genetic factors and hormonal changes. For example, individual pigmentation differs from individual to individual, some people with high levels of pigmentation are more "protected" from the condition of photoaging, aging caused by sunlight.
Naturally, our bodies will change as time passes and age. For instance, reduced collagen and moisture content significantly affects the thinning of one's skin structure. This condition causes the skin to be drier, less elastic, susceptible to infection, and gives rise to fine lines such as smile lines and frown lines.
In addition to factors that occur due to natural processes, aging can also be exacerbated by extrinsic factors that are consciously or unconsciously carried out by ourselves; this is because extrinsic factors are related to lifestyle such as diet, sleep, environmental pollution, sunlight, repetitive movements such as facial expressions, and overall health.
Some people may still deny that external factors can cause and exacerbate skin aging. As quoted in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, extrinsic factors have a significant impact on skin aging, such as:
The skin is affected by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. An increase in skin temperature can double the evaporation of water which can remove moisture. Meanwhile, low temperatures will make the skin stiff and dry. Based on this problem, we clearly need to pay attention to the moisture of our skin. Thus, the best thing we can do is to keep our skin moisturized.
However, until today, the two most significant factors that greatly impacted the skin were constantly done by many people, they are smoking and overexposure to UV.
Impact of smoking on the skin
Smoking causes skin damage since smoking reduces capillary blood flow to the skin, which creates oxygen and nutrient deficiencies in the skin tissue; the journal states that smoking can cause telangiectasia (red spots) on the skin. Furthermore, smoking causes a reduction in collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, which leads the skin to become loose and less elastic. In addition, smoking plays a major role in the formation of wrinkles on the skin and has been shown to be a major factor for premature aging due to the constriction of blood vessels by nicotine.
UV exposure (Photoaging)
The dangerous effect of exposure to sunlight has been mentioned by many journals. If intrinsic factor changes occur in all skin with age, including thinning of the skin structure, immune response, and production of sweat and sebum. Sun exposure causes significant skin damage either immediately or in the future.
Some studies stated that the effect of sunlight on the skin is enormous. Sun exposure is estimated to account for up to 90% of visible skin aging, especially in those who are exposed without protection such as sunscreen, clothing, hats or glasses. Sunlight is composed of three different types of radiation: UVC, UVB and UVA. UVC is mostly blocked by the ozone layer, thus it doesn't really have an impact on the skin. The next is UVB, which can penetrate the epidermis. UVB rays are responsible for the appearance of erythema (redness of the skin). Meanwhile, UVA has radiation levels a thousand times higher which causes sunburn and causes skin damage over time. In addition, UVA is also a major player in photoaging, major damage to the skin since it contributes to reducing and lowering collagen, elastin, as well as other skin components.
In order to avoid the bad effects of the sun, we must use a protection like applying sunscreen on body parts that are not covered by cloth or other protections. Also, skin expert recommend to reapply sunscreen after 3 hours.
Characteristics of Skin Aging
Not only fine lines on the skin, the characteristics of aging skin can be seen through:
The skin becomes rougher
The skin becomes loose and saggy due to loss of elastin tissue
The skin becomes more transparent, which is caused by thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of skin)
The skin becomes more fragile
The skin bruises more easily, due to the thinner walls of the blood vessels
Loss of fat under the skin in the cheeks, temples, chin, nose, and eye area can result in a sagging appearance and sunken eyes
Bone loss, mostly around the mouth and chin, can be obvious causing wrinkling of the skin around the mouth
Loss of cartilage in the nose causes the tip of the nose to droop and exposes the bony structures in the nose
When to see a doctor?
Don't wait for sagging skin to get worse, consult to a doctor if you start to see and feel changes in your skin or facial features. FYI, it doesn't always show wrinkles, sometimes skin aging can be marked by rough skin texture, dark shadows or bags under the eyes to drier skin.
If you see a dermatologist for anti-aging treatment as soon as possible, it will be very easy for you to improve your wrinkles or do maintenance in the future.
Read more: Sun Exposure to the Skin: Photoaging, Dullness, and Premature Aging