What Happens To Our Skin As We Age?
What makes skin beautiful?
Most people, including myself, think the beautiful skin is defined with an even tone, taut texture and a smooth complexion free of blemishes and wrinkles. Ironically, this also happens to be all the characteristics of youthful skin too.
While the appearance of the surface of our skin is the area that gets all the attention it is what is happening deep inside the tissue of the skin that really impacts the health, appearance, and quality of your skin. Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and elastin are all important components of the healthy youthful skin. While each serves a unique purpose collagen one of the most abundant proteins in our body gives skin its strength, Hyaluronic Acid is the body’s natural lubricant and is found in our skin, joints, eyes, and connective tissues; while elastin is also a protein like collagen however instead of adding strength it makes skin elastic and able to bounce back—together these 3 naturally occurring elements make skin strong, hydrated, resilient and youthful looking.
As we age our ability to produce collagen, HA, and elastin decreases leaving our skin susceptible to wrinkles, scarring, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, sallowness, volume loss and a bunch of other skin imperfections.
When it comes to skin health collagen is one of the most important components making up 30 percent of our total body protein and 75 percent of the protein in our skin. Collagen not only promotes beautiful skin and tissue growth; it also makes our nails strong and our hair shiny too. Collagen also makes your hair and nails strong and shiny. Our bodies naturally produce all the collagen we need when we are young that’s why your skin healed so fast when you were a kid and your skin remained plump, nourished and toned. However, as we age our bodies produce less collagen which leads to a longer healing process, skin imperfections, and wrinkles.
Sadly, our ability to naturally produce collagen begins to decrease in our mid-20s and speeds up as we age. At 30 the constant depletion of collagen begins to become evident and you may begin to notice the following signs:
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Loss of volume
- Changes in the color, texture, and tone of the skin
By the time the average woman has reached 50 she has lost half of the collagen in her skin. This is why women of this age often complain about sallow areas, thinning, sagging and moisture loss. Collagen depletion is increased during menopause and continues at roughly 2 percent annually after. Dermatologists recommend taking a collagen supplement or using collagen infused skin care products to counter the loss of natural collagen in the skin. It is never too early to start bolstering your natural collagen supply with extra collagen, many women in their early and mid-20s begin using preventative medical aesthetic services to offset the natural loss and ensure their collagen levels remain high.
Similar to collagen, elastin is also an important protein essential for healthy, radiant and resilient skin. Elastin, like its name suggests, is the protein that is responsible for your skin bouncing back after it has been poked or pinched, elastin is found and produced in the fibroblast connective tissue.
Just like collagen the amount of elastin in the skin peaks during young adulthood and then slowly depletes as you age. Unfortunately, older fibroblast cells do not produce as much or as high-quality elastin as they once did cause the breakdown of the skin matrix. This weakening of the skin structure leads to sinking, sagging and wrinkling of the older skin. The weakening and degradation of elastin can also be sped up by frequent and prolonged sun exposure causing the skin to appear tough, leathery and sun damaged.
To test the quality of the elastin in your skin pinch the skin on the back of your hand and count how long it takes to go back to normal. If it is immediate then the elastin in your skin is healthy and plentiful. If it takes a couple seconds the elastin is getting weak and breaking down. If it takes 10 seconds or longer the elastin is very degraded and unable to do its job.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Just like collagen keeps the skin strong, and elastin which makes the skin resilient, Hyaluronic Acid (HA) keeps skin moisturized and hydrated. HA is found in the connective tissue of the body, and is responsible for hydrating our eyes, joints, ears, and heart valves. Hyaluronic Acid is crucial in helping collagen stay nourished and hydrated. Between each collagen fiber is a mixture of water and HA that ensures the tissue stays plump and doesn’t dry out.
Just like collagen and elastin as we age our ability to produce HA decreases creating a deficit in the body which leads to the degradation of collagen and the depletion of elastin. To put it in perspective, say a baby is born with 100% HA, by the time that same baby reaches 60 years of age the HA level will have decreased to only 25%. This loss of 75% of HA leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and the overall decline in skin health and appearance. HA loss also causes wounds to heal slower, this delayed healing response also affects the quality of collagen and elastin that is produced deep within the skin.
Slowing Down the Signs of Aging at Any Age
In your 20s- The best way to combat natural collagen, elastin and HA depletion is to take a proactive stance in your early 20s. Using facial moisturizers and serums packed with HA, collagen and elastin supplements will help to ease the signs of aging and keep skin youthful. This is also a great age to start doing treatments that induce collagen production microdermabrasion is a mild treatment that can slough off dead skin and promote moderate collagen production. Microneedling is a more robust treatment that can promote collagen and elastin growth while also repairing acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
In your 30s- This is the decade that your skin will start to make a dramatic shift. Collagen and elastin production has already started to decrease and the results begin to become apparent. For wrinkles and fine lines HA derived Dermal Fillers can restore plumpness and fullness to hollow or sunken areas. In terms of whole face treatments Vampire Facelifts are an excellent way to restore lost collagen and elastin while also nourishing skin. Vampire Facelifts pair microneedling with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy a facial treatment using your own blood to enhance your healing response.
In your 40s– Early onset menopause and other life factors begin to affect our skin. Trying a variety of treatments like Vampire Facelift and Dermal Fillers can give you the youthful look you desire without invasive surgery.
In your 50s+– For patients in their 50s and 60s the best ski repair treatment that also increase collagen and elastin production is Nano-fractional Skin Resurfacing. Using dual technologies the skin is pierced and Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields ae sent deep into the skin tissue triggering an enhanced collagen response. Skin resurfacing can also improve tone and texture and gently tighten loose skin on the jowls and neck.
Taking a proactive approach to maintain collagen, elastin and HA is the best way to ensure your skin stays youthful. Aside from trying the above treatments and services remember to drink plenty of water, get proper sleep and eat a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.
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