Why Does Our Skin Age?

Everyone experiences aging, and though the process is different for everyone, one thing is fact: every part of your body ages.  The reason why people fixate on aging skin is because it happens to be the most visible part of your body.  When your skin starts to age, it makes you actually look older, even if you don’t necessarily feel older.  This is one of the reasons why anti-aging products have made such a huge splash in recent years.  There are several reasons why skin may age faster or slower for someone, and your lifestyle may have a big part in that aging process.  In this article, we will touch on some of the causes of skin aging, and what may prevent premature aging.

Why does our skin ageBiological Causes of Aging

The aging process in your skin begins as early as age 20.  In fact, according to Dartmouth University, the collagen levels in your skin deplete by one percent each year after you turn 20.  Since collagen is the main protein in your body’s soft tissue, which keeps your skin structurally sound, collagen depletion is a major factor in skin appearing aged.  Additionally, your skin begins to lose the ability to self-exfoliate during your twenties, meaning that it can’t shed the dead cells on the top layer (the epidermis).  These changes in your twenties are just the start of a cascade of damaging processes that cause your skin to become weaker and less firm over time.  This process of aging has earned the name “intrinsic aging,” because it stems from your body’s own natural progress of decline and cannot be controlled by external influence.

Environmental Factors of Aging

Unlike intrinsic aging, environmental damage to skin, called “extrinsic aging,” can be controlled.  This type of aging comes from things like UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight, pollution, and the introduction of carcinogens through activities like smoking.  These factors can cause extra freckles, irregular changes in the epidermis, and uncommonly large loss in collagen and elastin.  If you don’t take steps to protect yourself from extrinsic aging, you may find that you have premature lines, wrinkles, and uneven tone and texture.  You can even develop more serious conditions like skin cancer over time.  So, it’s important to make skin protection a priority if you want to save your health as well as your appearance.

Common Ways to Prevent Premature Skin Aging

While aging happens naturally and can’t be fully controlled, you can definitely have some say in how much damage happens to your skin due to environmental factors.  There are several easy ways to avoid premature extrinsic aging.  One of the easiest ways to prevent early wrinkles is to make a simple change to your regular routine: add sunscreen.  A comprehensive SPF of 30 or higher should be an everyday staple in your beauty regimen.  You can apply it over your regular moisturizer and under your makeup.  You may even find creams and serums specifically designed for anti-aging purposes to be beneficial.  Many of them promote healthy collagen production and may keep your skin functioning at a high level.  And, ideally, you shouldn’t smoke or take dangerous substances, which may significantly damage your skin as well as your general health.  Aging skin is inevitable, but you can prevent unnecessarily early changes by looking out for your skin as much as you can.