What Happens to Our Skin as It Ages?

The amazing journey of life is marked with a variety of ups and downs and milestones. Our bodies undergo some very impressive changes as we grow and change with aging. Not only do our internal organs and muscles go through changes, but so does our skin.

Our overall appearance as well as our skin starts to show visible changes in texture and tone as early as in our twenties. Aging is a natural process. There are two main factors that contribute to skin aging: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic skin aging refers to structural changes that naturally occur in the skin from our genetics. This type of aging varies per individual based on ethnicity, our facial expressions, and the force of gravity on our body. For the most part, we cannot control aging that stems from our genetic predisposition.

Extrinsic aging of the skin, on the other hand, refers to changes influenced from lifestyle and environmental factors. Extrinsic aging factors include the amount of hydration we achieve, diet, smoking, sun exposure over time, and the skin care products and procedures that we utilize. Examples of extrinsic skin aging include: fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration, and a reduction in skin texture and tone.

Since skin aging generally occurs gradually over time, let’s review some of the changes that we can see from our twenties through our fifties.

Our Twenties

  • Skin cell turnover begins to slow resulting in discoloration and reduced elasticity
  • Sun damage may begin to be evident if there is an increase in sun exposure
  • Collagen production remains steady

This is a good time to establish a regular skin care routine with retinoids, sunscreens, and antioxidants.

Our Thirties

  • Appearance of fine lines and wrinkles begin
  • Skin starts to become more dry and less elastic
  • Collagen production begins to decrease
  • Forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, undereye bags, as well as smile lines may begin to appear
  • Adult female acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea may appear

Sunscreens, retinoids, moisturizers, and antioxidants should be used routinely.

Our Forties

  • Skin laxity increases
  • Increased lines to the lower face and neck appear
  • Increased sagginess occurs due to less skin elasticity and volume
  • Skin tone may show more unevenness, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and melasma
  • Continued increase in fine lines

Sunscreens, topical retinoids, as well as eye and neck creams are recommended for treatment and maintenance. Injectable neurotoxins and dermal fillers as well as in-office procedures can help maintain a more youthful appearance.

Our Fifties

  • Increased fat reduction beneath the skin results in less elasticity
  • Increased skin dryness due to hormonal changes
  • Increased skin sagging of the neck, jawline, and cheeks
  • Increased fine lines and wrinkles as well as crow’s feet and upper lip lines.
  • Skin becomes thinner, paler, and susceptible to increased hyperpigmentation

The aging journey that begins in our twenties is an unstoppable movement. But the good news is that now more than ever there are many options to begin an anti-aging regimen at any age for treatment and prevention. Some of the best treatment recommendations include:

No matter where you are in your skin journey, if you are looking for recommendations on how to level up your skin care game, The Derm NP can help! Our nurse practitioner has over eighteen years of exclusive dermatology experience and can help to guide you towards your goals.

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