The natural aging process is inevitable, no matter how meticulous you are with your skincare routine. The skin undergoes wear and tear over time. But the main culprits for premature aging are environmental factors and poor lifestyle choices. That means you can avoid aging, and it is never too late to start taking good care of your skin.
With age, the body’s internal processes decline, making it harder to recharge the cells. Then, the signs of aging like wrinkles, hair loss, and liver spots start to show. These symptoms can be disturbing if they develop earlier than expected. Are you aware of the internal factors that bring about these unwelcome changes?
Here, we shall look at four physiological factors which when lost or diminished, cause aging.
Collagen is a fibrous meshwork of protein underlying the skin. It abounds throughout the body, especially in the joints, hair, muscles, tendons, and bones. Together with elastin, collagen gives the skin a firm and flexible shape. The structure of the skin changes when collagen weakens or becomes less elastic.
Consequently, the skin becomes prone to tears. If you lose collagen, your skin not only sags but also gets thinner. You lose fat, and the plump smoothness turns into a rough texture. When the skin stretches and fails to snap back, you’ll notice what is commonly regarded as chicken fat or a drooping jowl below the chin. Genetics and gravity may exacerbate the impact.
The body naturally manufactures collagen, but the production diminishes over time. Most women realize the importance of collagen in the face when they reach menopause because the reality of aging hits hard at this stage.
Luckily, there are collagen supplements that can help reverse signs of aging. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, copper, and zinc also helps in restoring collagen. Such diets include shellfish, citrus fruits, nuts, whole grains, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and greens.
2. Hormones of Youth
Hormones of youth are hormones responsible for a youthful appearance. Take a read:
HGC or Human Growth Hormone
HGH is a product of the pituitary gland. It functions as a stimulus for bone growth, muscle development, and cellular metabolism. It is no wonder HGH is considered a fountain of youth, thanks to its far-reaching effects that may influence your sleep quality.
At a young age, the production of human growth hormone is at its peak. In your third decade of life, however, HGH levels start to dwindle. As a result, you might experience:
I. Loss of muscle mass and body fat
II. Slow metabolism
III. Lack of focus
IV. Irregular sleep patterns
V. Low energy level
VI. Sagging skin
In men, testosterone is responsible for masculine characteristics like deep voice, strong muscles, and beard. But older men experience a drop in this androgenic hormone. Diminishing testosterone levels are associated with weight gain, wrinkles, thinning hair, and loss of muscle. Many men resort to testosterone replacement therapy to combat adverse physical and reproductive effects.
Estrogen, which is more abundant in women than men, produces hyaluronic acid that gives you a younger look. Ovaries manufacture this hormone during a female’s reproductive age. The production ceases after menopause, and the adrenal glands take over to release estrogen, though in smaller amounts.
Low estrogen levels may contribute to fine lines on the face, wrinkled forehead, and dry skin. Because it also negatively affects collagen, the skin further loses elasticity and sags. Like testosterone in males, estrogen affects energy levels, metabolism, muscle mass, and libido.
The hypodermis is the fat layer beneath the dermis. The innermost and thickest skin layer offers structural support and protects the body against shock and cold. Hypodermis also holds nerves, macrophages cells, and blood vessels.
If you lose this layer, you will likely develop wrinkles, and your tolerance to cold will reduce drastically. The fat cells or adipose tissue in hypodermis contribute to skin firmness, while the macrophages aid in fighting infections.
The thickness of the hypodermis differs from one part of the body to the other. For instance, men have a thicker layer in their shoulders and abdomen while women have the thickest hypodermis in the buttocks, thighs, and hips. A drastic loss of fatty tissue, therefore, makes you look older. For one, your skin will lose a firm structure, and the skin in some parts of the body, like thighs, will sag.
Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells that play a critical role in safeguarding the skin from harmful UV rays. About 10% of the basal layer in the epidermis contains melanocytes, but the percentage may be higher in skins that are frequently exposed to UV light. They produce melanosomes that occur in the hair follicles and the epidermis. Melanosome synthesizes melanin, the natural skin pigment.
If you lose melanocytes, your skin will be more exposed to UV radiation. Excessive exposure to sunlight will cause the formation of liver spots. These are flat dark spots that are not in any way related to the liver. They are signs of aging skin, mainly due to sun exposure. People in their 40s and older age are more likely to develop liver spots than the younger generation. The blemishes are not limited to the face; they also appear on the forearms, shoulders, and the hands’ dorsal (back) side.
To remove or lighten these age spots, your doctor may recommend various treatments such as chemical peel, microdermabrasion, and bleaching creams. Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive technique that gently sands the skin to rub off uneven skin layers. It takes a series of microdermabrasion treatments to get satisfactory results.
Chemical peels remove the upper skin layer to reveal a smoother one but may result in scarring. Lastly, bleaching creams gradually fade the hyperpigmented spots when applied over a few months.
As you can see, aging is caused by several factors. Avoid external factors like too much sun exposure that causes accumulative damage to the skin. More importantly, adopt healthy practices to keep your youth hormones, hypodermis, melanocytes, and collagen intact.