We do not live our daily lives in a sterile bubble. As such, many things can take a toll on our skin: the sun, the pollution outdoors, and unhealthy lifestyles and habits. People who smoke are exposed to more free radicals which strip the skin cells of the electrons they need to remain stable. Thus they appear older.
Daily air pollution also wreaks havoc on our skin with its army of free radicals that attack your skin cells. Frequent exposure to the sun leads to wrinkles and dark spots. Nevertheless, wrinkles are also associated with the normal aging process since our bodies produce less collagen and elastin with time. Diet, heredity, stress, and sleep also influences the way our skin will look like as the years pass by.
How our skin changes as we age
Our skin feels rougher as we grow older. It also becomes looser because as we age the elastin that keeps our skin firm and tight decreases compared to when they were younger. The loose skin is pulled by gravity, making it sag. This is why eyebags and “double chins” are common aging characteristics.
By the time people reach their 30s, the skin begins to dramatically lose its elasticity, giving rise to horizontal furrow lines in the forehead and vertical creases in the glabella, or the area between your eyebrows. Curved lines around the mouth, eyelids, upper cheeks and temples also begin to appear and persist. The skin’s epidermis, or outer surface, also thins with the natural decrease in collagen in our body, making it thinner and more prone to bruises and tears.
With the changes on our skin’s surface, the changes of the tissue beneath the skin become more apparent, making us appear even older than our numerical age. We may lose fat beneath our cheeks, chin, eyes, nose, and temples, contributing to the sagging of skin in these areas. This, in turn, accentuates the shape of our skull as you can see with senior citizens. The cartilage that supports the tip your nose also weakens with age causing it to droop, which can add a somewhat bony appearance. On the other hand, the ears may appear to dangle because of the growth of cartilage in those parts.
How the sun contributes to skin aging
We are exposed to the sun when we go to work or school everyday or when we go jogging, strolling in the park, or sunbathing at the beach. The sun emits powerful rays of ultraviolet (UV) light that not only harms your epidermis but penetrates into the deeper parts of your skin as well. Long-term exposure can cause UV light to damage the collagen and elastin structures in the deeper parts of your skin. When these dermal structures are weakened, both the inner and outer skin loses its firmness and causes the entire skin to stretch and sag, with no hope of these skin ever going back to their original positions.
Since the sun is with us for as long as we live, its effects on the skin are unavoidable. These effects will become more prominent as the years come and go. While the skin can repair itself, our body’s ability to heal decreases throughout the years.
Although skin aging and the sun is something we can’t avoid, we can do mitigating measures to protect our skin from too much sun. Making sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas as a habit, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding spending too much time under the sun can delay the aging effects that the sun causes on our skin.
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