In this tile, you will learn insights on skin aging by reviewing the process at the molecular level. You will also get to know the best strategies to avoid premature skin aging.
What is Skin Aging?
Skin is your first and strongest weapon against outside stressors. It also adds aesthetic value to your overall appearance. But, aging skin provides an unpleasant appearance and does not protect you efficiently. Wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity are some signs of aging skin.
Aging is normal: it begins right from the time you are born. As you get older, your organs also grow with you. The skin is no exception. Natural skin aging is intrinsic aging, and you shouldn’t worry about it .
But, extrinsic or premature aging, which is the result of a poor lifestyle, is worrisome. Some contributors to extrinsic aging include an unhealthy diet, unsuitable skincare products, sunlight exposure, smoking, and poor sleep .
As a result, your skin loses elasticity earlier. The skin barrier becomes weaker, letting germs, sunlight, and piles of dust particles into the skin. This puts both your appearance and health at stake.
The Beginning of Skin Aging
The loss of a barrier is the number one step in premature skin aging. And the number one reason among all extrinsic factors is exposure to UV rays. Research suggests that UV rays contribute to 80% of skin aging .
Exposure to UV rays increases the thickness of the outer layer of the skin, which breaks down the K-cells (keratinocytes) . In other words, UV rays reduce the number of bricks on the skin barrier wall, which collapses the wall allowing germs to enter the skin. This also leads to the loss of moisture, which can make the skin dehydrated and saggy.
Molecular Changes in Formation of Wrinkles
Understanding what goes on behind the scenes can help you delay skin aging and enjoy true glowing skin for a long time.
The outer layer of your skin supports the skin barrier, making it resistant to outside stressors. The outer layer needs nutrients and blood to remain healthy and help the skin barrier stay intact. It receives these nutrients from the middle layer by means of a few tissues. But, exposure to sunlight, tobacco, and industrial chemicals can cut their contact, leaving the outer layer devoid of sufficient nutrients .
The separation of the 2 layers makes the outer layer faulty and the skin barrier impotent in resisting foreign entities. Besides making your skin vulnerable to infections, separating the 2 layers leads to the formation of wrinkles on the skin, which is the number one sign of aging.
Impairment of DNA
Damage to the outer layer of your skin puts the rest of the content, including DNA, in danger. DNA is the hereditary material passed on from your parents to you. It consists of genes that guide your cells to perform their function. Within the skin, it instructs your skin cells to develop proteins essential for your skin functions, such as collagen and elastin .
But, the constant exposure to sunlight harms this super molecule of your skin. DNA absorbs the UV rays from the sun, which changes its structure. Any change in DNA structure results in the failure of skin cells to perform their function .
For instance, impaired DNA can disrupt the cells producing melanin. The absence of sufficient melanin can turn your skin futile in saving you from sunlight, allowing more UV rays to penetrate the cells. This destroys more DNA molecules, leading to skin cancer.
The next change in skin aging is inflammaging, a type of inflammation that occurs in the deeper layers of the skin, initiating the aging process. That’s why it is called inflammaging .
Inflammaging results in the buildup of free radicals that initiate the skin’s defense mechanism to protect the skin from the damage caused by these free radicals. However, continuous exposure to germs, dust, and other invaders due to a weakened skin barrier collapses your body’s defense system. This releases harmful molecules consisting of waste of the invaders into the surrounding skin cells, injuring the middle and inner skin layer .
Inflammaging reduces the activity of the oil glands. Under these circumstances, your skin will produce less oil, giving rise to dry, flaky and itchy skin. Using skin serums rich in coconut oil, olive oil, or shea butter can nourish the skin, bringing the oil content to normal levels.
How do the Changes Affect the Skin?
A disfigured DNA, inflammation, and ineffective skin barrier reduces moisture from the skin, making it wide open to germs and dust. The skin then becomes thinner with time and loses its firm structure.
The inner layer of skin hosts fat molecules that protect the skin from shocks. These fat molecules are predominantly present under cheeks, eyes, and temples. But, with the afflicted inner layer, these fat molecules are also reduced. This results in sunken eyes and a leaner look, with a skeletal appearance .
When the skin layers are harmed, the blood vessels supplying nutrients and oxygen to these layers become fragile. Even a touch of the nail can tear your skin. And it also takes more time for these wounds and bruises to heal .
If you recognize these signs, pay gratitude to your saviors instantly – the active ingredients. Vitamin C, E, and a few others can tremendously help your skin rejuvenate and stay younger.
Retinoids for Anti-aging
The most effective active ingredient for delaying skin aging is retinoid. Retinoid-rich anti-aging creams help to avoid the physical features of skin aging. The first one is the formation of wrinkles, and the second is the thinning of the skin .
Retinoid inhibits the formation of wrinkles by stopping 2 processes – inflammaging and collagen degradation. Retinoids can clear the excess oil from the skin, which is otherwise a threat to the skin pores and leads to inflammaging. By restricting collagen breakdown, retinoids help the skin avoid wrinkles and stay firm .
Retinoids help the skin from thinning by instructing your skin cells to form new collagen molecules. The formation of new collagen and no degradation of old collagen tremendously increases the collagen content of the skin and helps bring back the skin thickness. A thicker skin supports the skin barrier to resist the entrance of invaders.
Green Tea Extract for Anti-aging
Besides retinoids, green tea extracts are also effective anti-aging products, offering purely natural active ingredients to reduce the signs of skin aging. Tannins, amino acids, caffeine, vitamins, salts, and catechins are the natural active ingredients that green tea offers .
One aspect of skin aging is the formation of undesirable bonds of the skin proteins with other molecules of the skin. For example, the nicotine from tobacco smoking can result in the attachment of collagen to DNA. These types of attachments create irregular skin texture and fine lines.
Green tea helps delay skin aging by limiting the formation of these irregular bonds. This helps to keep the placement and structure of elastin and collagen secure, resulting in glowing and radiant skin .
Besides this, the catechins in green tea extracts are strong antioxidants. They help to reduce the unstable oxygen molecules from the skin to stop the skin infliction caused by sunlight exposure.
Blocking the Sun to Prevent Skin Aging
Ever heard prevention is better than cure? This is as true for skin aging as any other facet of life. Preventing your skin right from the start can help you have radiant skin for a longer time.
The first step to preventing skin damage is going sunproof. As sunlight is the highest contributor to skin aging, it is crucial in tackling the UV rays first. Your skin has melanin for this purpose. But, melanin alone is not enough, especially if you have light-colored skin. So, wear dark-colored clothes with long sleeves and get your hands on a wide-brimmed hat on hot sunny days. Perhaps most importantly, never forget to use sunscreen.
During peak hours in summer, SPF 100 can help you protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Research states that SPF 100 can block 99% of UV rays from reaching your skin.
Preventing Skin Aging with Hydration
Aging is one of the crucial things to understanding the science behind skincare. As aging turns your skin thin and fragile, you can lose the protective barrier, which lets the germs and dust invade the skin and cause havoc.
So, starting the skincare routine by protecting your skin barrier is a great idea. This requires using moisturizers rich in hyaluronic acid (HA) , which is an excellent humectant and keeps the skin barrier hydrated. Avoid soaps and cleansers consisting of heavy doses of perfumes. These can strip the water off your skin, making it dehydrated and weak.
When your barrier is healthy, it can help you restore the moisture, keep the germs off and reduce the signs of skin aging. The protected barrier also ensures that the skin proteins do not break down, which keeps the skin young with no wrinkles.