What is Ageing skin?
As we get older, our skin naturally changes in appearance and condition as part of the ageing process. The skin may become thinner, drier, looser, and develop wrinkles and lines, pigmentation changes and growths.
These changes to the skin are particularly pronounced on the face and hands.
What are the symptoms of Ageing skin?
As skin ages it becomes thinner and loses elasticity. Less elasticity in the skin can cause it to fold and sag, creating wrinkles and lines around the face, and bags to appear under the eyes.
A reduction in collagen results in less volume and plumpness to the skin.
Pigmentation becomes more irregular with age-spots (brown in colour) and redness and threadveins (telangiectasia) become more visible.
The barrier function of the skin is less effective increasing the risk of skin disease and conditions.
Finally the skin can become dull and sallow and less bright.
What causes Ageing Skin?
Intrinsic ageing of the skin is inevitable as our cells receive a reduced supply of nutrients and oxygen.
The rate at which we produce epidermal cells slows which affects the structure and function of the skin. This means that the skin thins, and flattens and becomes less resistant to injury.
The skin’s water content reduces meaning that skin is less able to retain water, and therefore becomes dry. Sebum production also reduces leading to drier skin.
The number of melanocytes reduce which can cause pigmentation issues.
The body produces less collagen and elastin leading to looser skin and bags. The volume of subcutaneous fat diminishes, especially on face hands and feet.
A large part of ageing of the skin is due to damage caused by solar radiation, otherwise known as ‘photoageing’. The dermis is damaged by UVB & UVA rays, whilst infrared radiation penetrates to the deeper dermis and subcutaneous tissue, where it may also contribute to sun damage.
Smoking can also have a detrimental impact on the skin causing it to age faster. This is due to several factors; nicotine narrows the blood vessels which reduces the level of oxygen and nutrients that reach the cells. Heat from burning cigarettes also contributes to wrinkle development.
Who is at risk of Ageing Skin?
Whilst everyone’s skin will show signs of ageing as you get older, certain factors may cause your skin to age prematurely.
Those who have had chronic sun or UV exposure are more likely to see premature ageing of the skin. This can include people who work outdoors.
Tobacco smokers or those chronically exposed to other environmental pollutants are also likely to see premature, or more pronounced ageing of the skin.
Occasionally premature ageing can be hereditary.
In women, loss of oestrogen during the menopause contributes towards skin ageing usually beginning in late 40s to mid 50s.
Excessive alcohol consumption and a lack of a balanced diet can result in dull, less bright skin, and redness or red lines. Finally dramatic weight loss and dieting can cause an increased volume loss in the face which can give the appearance of premature ageing.
How do you treat Ageing Skin?
Prevention is better than cure, so lifestyle changes can prevent premature ageing of the skin including daily use of a sunblock (SPF50+ and greater), not smoking, avoiding excess alcohol consumption and eating a balanced diet.
Skincare consultations provide a personalised skincare regime based on medical-grade products including vitamin-C, topical tretinoin, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid can help the skin rebuild its barrier function, improve the appearance of the skin, and reduce the rate of ageing of the skin. Long-term use of retinoid creams, Vitamin-C and products containing alpha-hydroxyl acids have been proven to reduce fine lines on the face.
Chemical Peels can help the skin become tighter and smoother through removing surface skin cells and stimulating skin renewal.
Dermal fillers can fill deeper lines and wrinkles on the face. The results are almost immediate and can last for up to 12 months.
Anti-wrinkle injections can improve the appearance of permanent dynamic lines such as frown lines. By limiting the muscles responsible for frown lines, crows feet and forehead lines the muscles relax and the area becomes smoother with less defined lines. Results are normally seen within two weeks and can last for up to 4 months.
Laser treatment can reduce fine lines and tighten the skin through removing the top layer of the skin and revealing fresher underlying skin. Specific laser treatments can also address pigmentation issues and redness of the skin.
Sterex ACP can be used to remove lumps and bumps on the face including milia and skintags
What can I do to prevent further Ageing Skin?
Ageing of the skin is inevitable. However, protecting your skin from environmental factors such as sun exposure through using a daily sunblock on your face (SPF50+), giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can delay visible signs of skin ageing.
Always protect your skin from solar UV by staying out of the midday sun, wearing sun protective clothing, and wearing a daily SFP50+ on your face and exposed skin.
Do not smoke and minimise alcohol consumption. Eat a healthy diet packed with fruit and vegetables that provide natural antioxidants, and take regular exercise.
From what age does your skin begin to age?
Our skin starts to visibly age from our mid-20s onwards. Genetics and lifestyle factors drive differences between individuals.
How long do treatments for ageing skin last for?
A course of chemical peels may need to be repeated once a year for optimal results.
Dermal fillers can last up to 12 months on some individuals.
Anti-wrinkle injections are best repeated every 4-6 months.
These images are kindly provided by DemNetNZ.org for non-commercial use, for the purpose of education and information. The images have not been modified and DermNetNZ do not endorse The London Skin and Hair Clinic or London Real Skin. You can find a copy of the license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/nz/.