As we age, there are natural changes in practically every organ system in our bodies. But none are more visible than the changes that occur in aging skin. While the natural aging process cannot be stopped, we can take steps to slow the effects and reverse some of the most obvious signs of skin aging.
What causes skin aging?
Age-related skin changes occur due to both genetic and environmental factors. Changes in the natural aging process are controlled by our genes. Other age-related changes in the skin are due to environmental factors like sun exposure and nutrition. Preventive measures, such as using sunscreen, can help slow environmental damage’s effects.
Common aging changes in skin and ways to reduce them
With age, the outer layer of skin called the epidermis becomes thinner. This change causes the skin to become less robust and more susceptible to damage.
Skincare products and cosmetic treatments that stimulate new collagen formation in the skin can help to address problems like aging skin. Retinol creams can help form collagen and address signs of aging by helping your skin renew itself more frequently.
The sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin become less active with age. This change is less severe in men’s skin and generally occurs after age 80. In women, the decrease in oil production occurs around menopause. Less oil makes it harder for the skin to stay moist, leading to dryness and itchiness.
Dry skin is also problematic because it undermines your skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier is very important when discussing skin health because it keeps bad things out of our skin and keeps all the good stuff inside.
Skincare ointments and hyaluronic acid creams can help combat age-related skin dryness.
Pigmentation and dark spots
The number of melanocytes (pigmented cells) in the skin decreases with age. In response, the remaining melanocytes enlarge. These natural changes result in increased age spots or liver spots (solar lentigines) appearing in sun-exposed areas.
Some of the ingredients in skincare products that may fade age spots include retinoids, azelaic acid, and hydroquinone. People with darker skin tones may benefit from ingredients such as vitamin C and kojic acid.
Cosmetic treatments like laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and microneedling may also help reduce the appearance of age spots.
Reduced strength and elasticity
Changes in the skin’s connective tissue lead to decreased strength and elasticity with age. These changes are called elastosis and can give the skin a leathery or worn appearance, as is commonly seen in people with excessive sun exposure, such as sailors and farmers.
Retinol and retinoids in skincare products may help to improve skin elasticity. Cosmetic procedures like chemical peels and laser treatments are also effective.
Fine lines and wrinkles
Over time, using facial muscles to smile, squint, frown, etc., can develop grooves below the skin’s surface. With age, the skin loses its flexibility and cannot spring back, forming fine lines and wrinkles.
Anti-aging skincare products that contain retinol, vitamin C, and vitamin B5 can help to reverse some of these aging changes. Laser skin resurfacing, Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, and dermabrasion are some cosmetic procedures that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Loss of collagen
Collagen is an essential protein that plays a key role in the structure and function of the skin. With age, the body makes significantly less collagen. This, in turn, is responsible for many common signs of aging, such as thin skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and reduced strength and flexibility.
Ingredients such as retinols, peptides, and growth factors that stimulate collagen formation in the skin can help slow down the process and reverse some signs of aging.
Slowed cell turnover
In young adults, skin cells are renewed every 28-42 days. The skin renewal cycle can be as long as 84 days in older individuals. This results in the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface, making aging skin look dull and tired.
Skincare products that contain chemical messengers, like growth factors or peptides, encourage more rapid cell turnover, which leads to more refreshed-looking skin.
Fragile blood vessels
With age, the blood vessels in the skin become more fragile. This can lead to bruising and bleeding, called senile purpura or actinic purpura.
Skincare products that contain vitamin K, epidermal growth factors, and bioflavonoids may help reduce the appearance of age-related bruising.
Is there a “best” anti-aging cream?
As you can probably tell, the “best” anti-aging cream (or skincare product) depends on what you try to correct. Furthermore, some individuals are sensitive to certain ingredients within popular skincare products. Finding a quality skincare product that you will use and that works well with your skin type is going to be the best solution for your skincare needs. If you do not know where to start, please reach out to our Skincare Specialist at our Skin for Life Boutique, and they will be glad to assist you!