The natural aging process is a continuous process that normally begins in our mid twenties and usually not visible until we hit our 40’s. There are two types of aging, the first being intrinsic which is due to hereditary and extrinsic which is caused by the environment, such as over exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
As we age collagen production slows and elastin, the substance that enables our skin to snap back into place, has less spring. Dead skin cells do not shed as quickly and the turnover of new cells decreases. Cellular renewal for a woman, starting from birth, all the way up into her early thirties, is every twenty eight days. Where as, a woman in her fifties and sixties, the cellular renewal rate is around every sixty days or more. With the decrease of skin shedding, the skin becomes dull and lifeless.
The natural signs of aging are fine lines, thin transparent skin, loss of underlying fat leading to hollow cheeks and eye sockets, bones shrink away from the skin due to bone mass loss, skin becomes dry, an inability to sweat sufficiently to cool the skin, graying hair which eventually turns white, hair loss and unwanted facial hair. Your genes control how quickly the normal aging process unfolds. While some women notice grey hairs in their twenties, others do not see grey hair until they are in their thirties and sometime forties.
There are a number of extrinsic factors or external factors which act together with the normal aging process to prematurely age our skin. Most premature aging is caused by over exposure to the sun. Other external factors that prematurely age our skin are
Repetitive facial expressions, gravity, sleeping positions, smoking, excessive drinking and drugs
Without protection from the suns harmful rays, just a few minutes of exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. These changes appear as freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough leathery skin, fine wrinkles and lines, loose skin and a blotchy complexion. All these are signs of photo aging. The amount of photo aging depends on the person’s skin color and their history of sun exposure. Photo aging occurs over a period of years. With repeated exposure skin loses its ability to repair itself causing the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
Performing facial exercises to maintain youthful skin can actually have the opposite effect leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Each time we use a facial muscle a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin, which is why we see lines form with each facial expression. As the skin ages and loses its elasticity it stops springing back to its free line state and these lines become permanently etched onto the face as fine lines and wrinkles.
Gravity constantly pulls on our bodies. Changes related to gravity become more pronounced as we age. In our fifties when skins elasticity declines dramatically the effects of gravity become more evident. It causes the tip of the nose to droop, the ears to elongate, the eyelids to fall, jowls to form and the upper lip to disappear while the lower lip becomes more pronounced.
Resting your face on the pillow every night in the same position leads to sleep lines. These sleep lines eventually become wrinkles which become etched in our face which no longer disappear. Women who usually sleep on their sides are most likely to see these lines appear on their chin and cheeks. Men tend to see these lines on their forehead since they usually sleep with their faces pressed into the pillow. People who sleep on their backs do not develop those wrinkles since their skin does not lie crumpled against the pillow.
Cigarette smoking causes biochemical changes in our bodies that accelerate aging. A person who smokes ten or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of ten years is statistically more likely to develop deeply wrinkled, leathery skin than a non smoker. People who smoke for a number of years tend to develop an unhealthy yellowish hue to their complexions. These signs can be greatly diminished and in some cases avoided by stopping smoking.
While you cannot stop or even slow down the intrinsic aging process, there are ways to slow down the signs of aging by eating a healthy diet , exercise, use a good sun block to protect your skin from the sun, quit smoking and eliminate facial exercise. To stop premature aging caused by the sun avoid deliberate tanning, stay out of the sun between ten in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, wear protective clothing such as a wide brimmed hat and long sleeves and make sure you apply sun block. Also make sure you use a good anti aging product.