Aging is part of life. And so are the wrinkles that come with age. Unfortunately, there’s little we can do to prevent wrinkles. But there are many things we can do to help reduce their appearance. And understanding what causes them in the first place, is the most important.
How skin ages
There are two distinct types of aging. Aging caused by the genetic program we inherit is called intrinsic aging, and extrinsic aging is caused by environmental factors such as exposure to the sun.
Intrinsic aging, also known as natural or chronological aging, refers to the physiological changes that the body and all its organs—of which the skin is the largest—undergo with the passage of time. What is commonly referred to as skin aging typically begins in our mid-20s when the rate of skin cell renewal decreases slightly. The layers of skin become thinner and gradually lose their ability to maintain moisture, which diminishes their protective role. Supportive layers are also altered by aging. A natural reduction in the amount of collagen and elastin (the substance that enables the skin to snap back into place) in the dermis means the skin loses its youthful resilience, leading to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Although the process is initiated in our 20s, the first visible signs of skin aging usually don’t appear until a few
The most common signs of intrinsic aging are:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Thinning, transparent skin
- Deterioration of the skin’s surface layers and underlying support tissues, leading to loss of firmness (hollowed cheeks, eye sockets, sagging skin on hands and neck)
- Increasingly dry, itchy skin
- Inability to sweat sufficiently to cool the skin
- Graying hair that eventually turns to white
- Hair loss
- Unwanted hair
- Nail plate thins, half moons disappear and ridges develop
Since our genes control intrinsic aging, how the process unfolds varies greatly from one individual to the next. Some notice their first grey hairs in their 20s, while others don’t begin to grey until their 40s. But sooner or later, our skin invariably shows its age.
A number of extrinsic or environmental factors also affect the normal aging process to prematurely age our skin. Repetitive facial expressions, gravity, sleeping positions, smoking and sun exposure all gradually eat away at the different components that give skin its healthy texture and glow. Of all the extrinsic factors, sun and cigarette smoking are by far the most damaging to the skin.
Just a few minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun each day over many years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. Freckles, fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched, rough and leathery skin, blotchy complexion, actinic keratoses (thick wart-like, rough, reddish patches of skin), and skin cancer can all be traced to sun exposure.
How the sun affects the skin depends on two factors: a person’s skin colour and their history of long-term or intense sun exposure. People with fair skin who have a history of sun exposure develop more signs of skin aging than those with dark skin. In darker skin, the signs of aging are usually limited to fine wrinkles and a mottled complexion. With repeated exposure to the sun, skin loses the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. Numerous studies have shown that repeated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis (production) of new collagen, which in turn makes the skin lose tone. Sun-weakened skin ceases to bounce back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays.
Cigarette smoking causes biochemical changes in our bodies that are known to accelerate skin aging and the formation of wrinkles. Studies show that a person who smokes ten or more cigarettes a day for a period of ten years is statistically more likely to develop deep wrinkles and leathery skin than a non-smoker. Smokers also develop an unsightly yellowish hue in their complexion. These signs can be greatly diminished by stopping smoking. Even people who have smoked for many years show less facial wrinkling and improved skin tone once they quit smoking.
What to do?
Although you can’t slow down intrinsic or chronological aging, you can do something about extrinsic aging. For starters, try to limit your exposure to environmental factors that promote premature skin aging. Protect your skin from the sun, quit smoking and be conscious of your facial expressions.
The use of skin care products containing glycolic acid can also help reduce the visible signs of skin aging. This active ingredient has been scientifically proven to eliminate dead skin cells that give skin a dull appearance. By accelerating cell regeneration, glycolic acid gives the skin a lighter, more even tone and radiant, youthful glow. It’s also an effective moisturizer that, after prolonged use, helps increase the production of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, which increase the skin’s thickness. It’s a virtual fountain of youth for aging or sun-damaged skin.
The following Reversa products contain glycolic acid. Reversa’s UV line also includes broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sun filters for added protection from the sun’s skin-damaging rays.
- Reversa UV Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15
- Reversa UV Anti-Wrinkle Fluid SPF 15
- Reversa UV Anti-Wrinkle Eye Contour Cream SPF 15
- Reversa UV Anti-Spot Lightening Cream SPF 15
- Reversa Anti-Spot Night Care
- Reversa Corrective Night Cream
- Reversa Skin Smoothing Cream
- Reversa Skin Smoothing Body Lotion
- Reversa Solution for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
To find out more about Reversa’s rejuvenating skin care line, click here.