By Geraldine Georgeou
Not much can prevent time transforming skin from baby smooth to mature and crepey, but there are some evidence-based ways to preserve that youthful flow. Despite all our best efforts, our skin changes over time as we grow from smooth-skinned babies to acne-prone teenagers and eventually, wrinkled adults. But did you know there are things you can do to preserve your skin’s youthfulness? To understand this, it’s important to understand how the skin works.
Your Skin Health Is Layered
Your skin is like a cake with three different layers:
- Epidermis – the thin, waterproof outer layer that keeps your insides separated from the outside world. This is the visible layer of our skin, and includes pigment.
- Dermis – this thick layer beneath the epidermis houses sweat glands, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It relies on collagen and elastin to give your skin volume.
- Subcutaneous fat – this sits below the dermis and is made of collagen and fat, protecting your organs from trauma, chemicals, bacteria and infection. Shrinkage of fat as we age can make skin lose its plumpness.
What Affects Skin Ageing?
Both internal and external factors affect how our skin ages:
- Genetics – your genes set an internal clock which determines the speed at which your skin ages. This is a natural process of cells turnover slowing down, and sebum and collagen production declining. As collagen production slows, the subcutaneous fat layer of your skin shrinks and loses the ability to hold water, leading it to look less plump.
- Sun exposure – excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds also contribute to wrinkles and accelerate the ageing process.
- Smoking – smoking also accelerates the skin ageing process by creating free radicals which lead to oxidative stress.
- Menopause – hormonal changes in menopause mean lower oestrogen levels which also affect the skin’s capacity to hold water and retain its fullness.