As we age, the structure and function of our skin changes both from intrinsic and extrinsic causes. These changes lead to dissatisfaction with wrinkles, dryness, sagginess, enlarged pores, and discolorations.
Here is what is happening intrinsically with aging. In children, the epidermis is thinner. The cells are also well organized, since cell turnover (natural exfoliation) is functioning at an optimum level. Children also enjoy a nice plump and thick dermis and hypodermis, giving them smooth, supple skin. As we age, this all changes. The epidermis becomes thicker with decreased cell turnover, and our dermis and hypodermis become thinner and less supported with loss of collagen, elastin and fat.
- The dermis becomes structurally disorganized due to less collagen and elastin production. Think of it like a worn-out elastic waistband. And thus, the skin becomes more fragile and saggy.
- Less blood flow to the epidermis, and decreased cell turnover due to less cytokine activity weakens our immune system’s ability to fight against invading agents.
- There is less oil and sweat production, which leads to the “drying” of skin.
- Increased risk of easy bruising (senile Purpura) due to fragility of blood vessels because of collagen loss.
- A decrease in subcutaneous and deeper fat pads in the face cause sinking and sagging of the skin.
Extrinsically, our skin becomes affected from sun exposure and other environmental stressors like pollution. These factors contribute to the collagen breakdown, sagging skin along with textural changes and discolorations. Some examples are as follows:
- An effect called elastosis from excessive sun exposure creates a thickened, leathery appearance to the skin, as well as a “chicken bump” look especially under the eyes, and on the neck.
- Sun lovers beware! Excessive exposure of face and neck to the sun creates a chronic deep redness and broken capillaries.
- An increase in melanocyte activity leads to more hyperpigmentation or brown spots, also known as “age spots” and “liver spots.” This is all due to accumulated, consistent sun damage. If you lived in a box your whole life and never saw the sun, these spots would not exist. So, they are not really caused by age or your liver at all! This is why people who live in sunnier climates have more brown spotting than those who live further from the equator.
So, how do you reverse and prevent some of the aging changes? Great skincare is the first and most important daily step. Great skincare should be all about restoring skin function to as close as possible to what it was in childhood. Quality skincare products that support the skin should be a part of any skincare regime. Everyone’s skin, no matter your skin type, needs support in all the following categories:
Exfoliation: Your skin’s natural exfoliation process slows dramatically with age and shows up as dull, dry skin and clogged pores. Use alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid to help. Vitamin A Retinaldehyde also aids in the increase of natural exfoliation. Never use abrasives on the skin unless performed by a professional for exfoliation. Add our Refreshing Wash, Rejuvenating Swipes and our Vital A Serum to gently remove dead skin cells to reveal smooth and radiant skin.
Collagen Restoration: Wrinkles tend to be a motivator for many to start taking care of their skin. If you want to prevent and reverse wrinkles, then restoring and maintaining a healthy collagen layer is a must. Powerhouse ingredients that help to stimulate collagen production are Vitamin A Retinaldehyde, Vitamin C, Peptides and growth factors. Again, our Vital C, Vital A and Bio Peptide Serums work double duty with not only protecting your skin but also aiding in collagen restoration.
Protection: Wear SPF containing zinc oxide daily to face, neck, chest and hands. These areas tend to age the most rapidly with sun exposure. My favorite sun screens are EltaMD SPF 41 and ColoreScience. Protect from free radical damage from pollution and sun exposure with the potent antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin A and prickly pear extract. These can be found in our Vital C Serum, our C Radiance Moisturizer, our Vital A and Bio Peptide Serum. I blend these serums together both morning and night (Vital A only at night) to protect and nourish my skin deeply.