After we pass 25 our skin starts ageing, not only skin but the whole body. Horror! We are not even close to half of our life but we are already ageing. The process of ageing is very complex. But it is up to us whether we speed it up or slow it down. We vote for slowing it down, how about you?
What is ageing?
Ageing is a genetically caused process, where degenerative (decompositions) changes take over the regenerative (building) changes. Very simply imagine taking apart lego cubes faster than building them back. If we are consistent we will break down all the cubes. And the same goes for the skin if we don’t take care of it properly. Besides the genetics, hormones also play a role in ageing. First there are morphological changes, only after that we start seeing visible changes.
First let’s take a look at morphological changes
Changes happen in more skin layers. In epidermis there are some subtle changes, meanwhile dermis is going through more intense changes. Changes don’t happen overnight, and especially not all at once. When you are in your 30’es some changes are happening in your upper skin layers, and very little is happening in deeper skin layers.
Changes in epidermis
- Lower water content in stratum corneum – leads to drier skin
- Lower number of the cells, especially melanocytes and corneocytes (cells become bigger and have troubles replicating)
- Longer cycle of skin renewal, which is normally 28 days long (bigger keratinocytes are harder to remove, the result is rougher skin)
Changes in dermis
Of Course changes in your 30. are not so drastic as in your 50., but something is still happening.
- Thickness of dermis is constantly decreasing (1% per year)
- Skin elasticity is decreasing due to lower content of collagen and elastin
- Lower amount of glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid
- Lower number of sebaceous and sweat glands
Consequnce of thinner dermis, lower amount of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is occurence of small fine wrinkles. Especially between the eyes and between nose and mouth.
There is more than one type of ageing. Photoageing can be slowed down.
Photo Ageing is the type of ageing that is influenced by external factors, most commonly UV light. Smoking, wind, polluted air aid as well. Photoageing speeds up the chronological ageing. Run for your life, ok kidding.
Photoageing is connected with increased amount of radicals (ROS), that are formed in the body because of the increased production or inability to remove them. Radicals damage proteins, lipids and DNK.
This type of ageing makes more obvious changes
- Faster thinning of dermis and lowering the amount of collagen
- Damage in stratum corneum and changes in skin barrier
- Higher and faster enzyme activity – matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) starts to function. This enzymes affect the integrity of extracellular matrix. MMP decompose components of the matrix (collagen, elastin) and lower the skin firmness and elasticity. This enzymes are activated under the UV light.
The most obvious signs of photoaged skin are deep wrinkles, occurence of hyperpigmentation, changes in skin texture, extended capillaries and teleangiectazii. There is a possibility of cell proliferation and occurrence of tumors.
As we see photoageing affects the chronological ageing and this process can be slowed down.
Active cosmetics for slowing down the skin ageing
Slowing down the ageing can be done in more ways. The most common are:
-acceleration of moisture
-acceleration of peeling
-stimulating synthesis of collagen and elastin
-substituting hyaluronic acid
Here are one of the most important cosmetics active ingredients that we use for slowing down this process. Antioxidants are important as well.
Retinoids are natural or synthetic ingredients. They are derivates of all-trans retinoic acid or vitamin A. They are famous for their anti-ageing effects. Not only they regulate growth of epitel cells and their differenciation, but they also normalize the process of keratinization. Are the effects visible? Yes, the skin is smoother and wrinkles look smaller.
Tretionin (all-trans retinoic acid) is a golden standard. Clinical studies prove it’s effectiveness already at very low concentrations. Tretionin stimulates formation of collagen, reduces hyperpigmentation and reduces skin roughness. BUT, it is prohibited for use in cosmetic products. So, back to the beggining.
In cosmetics manufacturers use retinol that thickens epidermis. Studies show increasing amount of proteins and collagen in the skin. It is safe in concentrations up to 1%. To get the maximum effect on the skin it needs to convert to retinoic acid, but for this effect higher concentrations are needed.
There are also other forms of vitamin A like retinylpalmitate, retinylacetate, retinal and other much less effective forms.
Boost of moisture
We already discussed all about cosmetic humectants. As moisturizers we can also use hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA, PHA). Fun fact that many people don’t know about is that hydroxy acids don’t only possess a exfoliating effect, but also a moisturising one. In low concentrations they stimulate renewal of epidermis, influence the collagen synthesis and have a moisturising effect.
For moisturizing we can also use hyaluronic acid, that binds the mass of water, that is 1000x bigger than her own mass. Penetration in the skin depends on the molecular mass.
How about lightening pigmentation marks?
The golden standard for treatment of the sunspots is hydroquinone, that is forbidden in Europe. But we can always use the alternatives such as azelaic acid, kojic acid, arbutin and other ingredients that inhibit enzyme tyrosinase, that takes part in melanin synthesis.
The most important step you can take is to protect your skin with everyday use of sunscreen. Even if there are clouds and snow outside. UV rays are always there.