We experience the impact of aging in many different ways. With each passing year, it seems as if our bodies wear down a little bit. It grows increasingly difficult to recover from injuries and ward off illness. We lose our youthful energy and exuberance. It can grow more difficult to focus for long periods, and to quickly recall details and specifics. But the most outwardly apparent signs of age appear on our skin. And these also happen to be the first meaningful aging indicators to arise, which is rather upsetting. No one wants to look older than they feel. Sadly, because of the nature of our skin’s aging process, this does tend to be the case. And our evolving environment only magnifies and accelerates the effects of aging on the skin.
The Effects of Aging on the Skin
The passing of time manifests upon our skin in various manners, with some being more evident than others. As we try to expand our understanding of this dynamic (and how to slow or reverse it), let’s run through some of the most common skin aging signs and why they happen:
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
These are the most common visible aging indicators, so it’s no surprise that the core function of many anti-aging products deals specifically with addressing them. Wrinkles, fine lines, creases and crow’s feet are all indentations or depressions in the skin’s outer surface, arising from structural deterioration. They tend to appear earliest around the eyes and the lips, but also frequently develop on the neck, chest, forehead and elsewhere.
Wrinkles occur due to the breakdown of dermis, which is the skin’s inner layer. While this matrix loses its integrity, with collagen and elastin levels declining as a natural part of the aging process, our ability to resiliently snap back erodes. Areas that tend to move and fold often — like the mouth and eyes — quickly wear down. The best long-term strategy for avoiding wrinkles involves taking steps to slow down collagen dissipation, by either using a booster product or bolstering your sun protection.
Sagging and Hanging
When we’re young, our skin maintains a taut and firm aesthetic. But this diminishes as we get older, to the point where many areas begin to loosely sag from the skin. This is particularly prevalent on the neck and arms. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to reverse once it happens. Your best bet is to continually infuse your epidermis with moisturizers and hydration enhancing serums. Typically this outcome results from dryness, which removes the “plumpness” from our skin. The earlier you begin taking steps to counteract this activity, the better your odds of delaying it indefinitely.
Age Spots and Discoloration
Also known as liver spots, these regions of brown or gray pigment come about entirely because of exposure to the sun. For this reason, their technical title is “solar lentigines.” They emerge due to many years of ultraviolet light absorption, which is nearly unavoidable when living on a planet where the sun rises and shines each day. Over time, this exposure can cause melatonin (the coloring property in our skin) to become clumped together or spike in production and concentration.
It is on the rare side for these discolorations to appear before the age of 50 or 60. If you want to avoid them, then we recommend consistent sunscreen usage and always — ALWAYS — avoiding tanning beds.
Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Even when we’re young, puffy and dark bags beneath our eyes can appear. It’s the natural result of a sleepless night. But as we get older, this issue becomes more pervasive. Many different causes can contribute to it, but dark circles stem from a loss of fat and/or bone, a reduction in collagen or congestion of blood vessels.
How best to keep these obnoxious aging signs at bay? Get plenty of sleep and use topical retinoids on the area. If you want to reduce the puffy appearance in short order, try placing something cool like an ice cube or ice pack on the area for about 15 minutes.
Armed with the knowledge of how best to identify and trace the roots of various aging indicators, you will now be better equipped to prevent them from negatively affecting your life.