Skin aging 101.
WHEN DOES SKIN BEGIN TO AGE?
Skin aging occurs at different rates among different individuals since each person has a unique genetic makeup, exposed to varying amounts of external factors such as smoking, lifestyle changes, and excessive sun exposure.
Skin starts to age from the moment we are born, but it becomes progressively noticeable when the individual reaches his/her 20s. Pigmentary changes are more prominent in Asians or people with darker skin because they have more pigment (melanin) in the upper layer of their skin. The Asian or darker skin types also has greater capability of melanin synthesis, making it prone to tanning and PIH (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation). For Caucasians or people with lighter skin types, wrinkles are more predominant.
Other common changes on the skin besides pigmentation and wrinkles include sagging, loss of fullness, skin growth, dilated blood vessels "broken veins," skin fragility, loss of translucency, loss of elasticity, and sallow color.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN AGING?
Skin aging can be classified into two processes: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is influenced by the natural passage of time (chronological), skin phototype (genetics), and hormone production (endocrine). Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, is produced by factors outside the body such as weather, ultraviolet radiation, and lifestyle.
THE FOLLOWING EXTERNAL FACTORS CAUSE THE ACCELERATION OF SKIN AGING:
1. Chronic ultraviolet (UV) light/ Photoaging: These are the invisible rays that come from the sun. UV light produces an enzyme (metalloproteinase) that breaks down collagen, hastening the thinning and wrinkling of the skin and promoting pigment production. This is why cumulative sun exposure is the single major factor in aging skin.
2. Smoking: This produces free radicals (molecules that damage and destroy healthy tissue) and promotes production of proteins that break down collagen (connects skin tissue together and keeps them strong and firm) and elastin (helps keep skin tight and flexible). It also decreases moisture and vitamin A levels in the skin.
3. Years of facial expression on the skin: As an individual uses more of his/her facial muscles, this results into wrinkles that become permanent in time.
4. Low-humidity environment: This kind of environment makes the skin more prone to water loss resulting to dryness and wrinkling.
5. Excessive use of alcohol: The more you consume, the more it dehydrates the skin.
6. Poor nutrition: Lack of nutrients takes a toll on skin's health.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE SKIN AGING?
Luckily, there are many ways to delay and prolong the onset of skin aging. Here is a list of things to avoid and allow:
1. Sun. Sunlight is most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Try to avoid unnecessary sun exposure. No to UV tanning beds or salons as well.
3. Excessive frowning
1. Use sunscreen regularly. Use sunscreens with at least SPF 30 and UVA Protection Factor +++ as it protects against 97 percent of UV light. It is best to reapply the sunscreen every four hours.
2. Wear tightly-weaved or dark-colored clothing. Did you know that clothing provides SPF, too? Dark clothing provides at least SPF10.
3. Use a light moisturizer every day. Keep your skin hydrated throughout the day.
4. Eat a well-balanced diet. Remember that how you nourish your body reflects on your skin. A well-balanced diet provides enough nutrients for the correct functioning of the organs, including the skin.
5. Have adequate rest. Sleep plays an important role in skin repair and rejuvenation. Make sure you clock in enough hours of sleep per night.
6. Exercise regularly. Exercise has a long list of benefits for the mind and body. For the skin, exercise regulates blood circulation that nourishes the skin cells and keeps the skin healthy and glowing.
7. Combination therapies. The choice of therapy rests on the ability of the physician to examine the face of the patient and evaluate the risk and benefit ratio of each procedure and treatment.
a) Protection: Sunscreen
b) Medical: Topical and oral
c) Non-invasive: Laser, IPL, Radiofrequency, Ultrasound, Microdermabrasion
d) Minimally invasive: Resurfacing, Botox
e) Invasive: Rhytidectomy, Blepharoplasty, Brow Lift, Suction-assested Lipectomy
Now that we have learned how and why our skin changes over time, it is up to you to protect and take care of your skin. If you love your skin, it will definitely show. Stay young!