Skin ageing is an extremely complex process that is influenced by multiple factors. In this blog we discuss the most important factors, the signs of skin ageing and associated biological changes of the skin.
Causes of skin ageing
Skin ageing is a natural process that occurs in every individual. The speed of skin ageing and the occurrence of skin ageing symptoms is determined by both internal and external factors.
When we speak about “intrinsic ageing” we refer to your genetic profile. Some individuals have a genetically lower risk of skin ageing. We simply define “good genes” as genes that do not showmutations or ‘defects’. “Good genes” can exert their normal function within biological processes that determine skin parameters such as elasticity, hydration, barrier function, antioxidant capacity… When genes contain defects or mutations, their function is disturbed. In most cases, this leads to an increased risk of accelerated skin ageing.
The skin ageing process, which is induced by environmental factors, is named “extrinsic skin ageing”. The rate of extrinsic skin ageing depends on your individual exposure to environmental and harmful factors such as sun exposure (photo-ageing), smoking, air pollution, radicals… Ultra-violet light (sun exposure) is one of the most harmful factors. Another major external factor involved in skin ageing is the formation of free radicals (oxidative stress). All these external factors affect the structures of the skin and accelerate the natural skin ageing process.
So, even individuals with “good genes” can show early signs of skin ageing if they have a high exposure to harmful external factors. On the other hand, individuals with a high genetic risk for skin ageing can limit early skin ageing by avoiding exposure to harmful environmental factors.
The signs of skin ageing and the underlying biological manifestations
The skin is built up of different layers. The upper layer is called “epidermis” and mainly consists of keratinocytes. The epidermis forms a protective barrier for the underlaying layers, acts as a sensory organ and regulates the temperature & moisture balance. Under the epidermis we can find the second layer or “dermis”. This layer contains connective tissue, blood vessels, oil and sweat glands, nerves, hair follicles and other structures. The dermis also contains fibers (elastin, collagen and reticulin) that ensure the firmness and elasticity of the skin. The bottom layer or “hypodermis” is mainly made up of adipocytes (fat cells) and serves as an energy reservoir and thermal insulation. When we age, all these layers undergo changes and are involved in the signs of skin ageing.
Skin ageing can be visible in different ways and signs may differ between people. Common signs of facial skin ageing are:
Fine lines and wrinkles
Wrinkles are indentations in the skin surface and may be visible as fine lines or deep wrinkles, depending on their depth. As we age, our skin contains less collagen and elastin fibers become looser. The decreased production and increased breakdown of collagen is a part of the natural ageing process but can be enhanced by high exposure to the sun (UV-light) and formation of free radicals. As a result the skin becomes less elastic, brittle and wrinkles are formed. Moreover, fine lines and wrinkles will be more visible if your skin is dehydrated.
As you age, brown or dark spots may appear on the skin. These spots are called “age spots”, “liver spots” or “Lentigines”. The pigment spots are caused by overactive pigment cells (melanocytes) in the epidermis. Pigment cells naturally produce melanin (pigment) when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light and give the skin its natural pigment. Long-term exposure to UV-light may cause local an overproduction of pigment cells and accumulation of pigment within the skin cells, resulting in the formation of “age spots”
Age induced dry skin
Natural changes in the skin related to normal ageing may increase the likelihood of a dry skin. Under the influence of hormonal factors – reduced production of estrogen when ageing – fewer lipids are produced by the human body. These skin lipids that play a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s protective barrier, which holds moisture and protects the body against external factors. There are two types of skin lipids: sebaceous lipids and epidermal lipids. Sebaceous lipids are secreted by the sebaceous glands and protect the skin from the outside while epidermal lipids are located between the skin cells brick-mortar model and protect the skin from the inside. Due to the reduction of lipids, the protective skin barrier becomes weaker and the water loss increases.
As we explained above, our skin contains less collagen and elastin fibers become looser with ageing. This causes wrinkles and decreases the firmness and elasticity of the skin. Consequently, the skin becomes more saggy under influence of gravity. In addition, there is a redistribution of facial fat which may lead to facial volume loss and contributes to sagging skin.
Dull skin tone
The upper skin layer renews itself every 28 days. New skin cells are produced and move upwards to the surface of the skin. At the surface they become dead skin cells (corneocytes) and shed off. As skin ages, the renewal process takes more time, causing a built-up of dead skin cells and a skin that becomes thinner than before. Resulting in a more dull skin tone and a rough feeling of the skin.
"Invest in your skin. It is going to represent you for a very long time."
Nomige distinguishes itself from many other skincare brands because it not only takes into account your lifestyle factors (external factors) or skin type, but also your genetic skin profile (internal factors). By examining your DNA, we can gain more insights into your skin ageing process. In the lab we analyse several genes involved in collagen homeostasis, antioxidant protection, barrier function and skin hydration. Based on your DNA profile, we know what risks you are carrying and we develop products whose ingredients can counteract these risks.
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