Our skin changes with age and, even with the best genes, ageing happens to all of us. The visible signs of skin ageing are caused by a mix of factors, some of which, such as genetics, we can’t control, but others which we can, such as how we take care of our skin. In fact, our study in collaboration with personal genetics company 23andMe with more than 155,000 people found that skin care habits played a bigger role than genetics when it comes to the signs of ageing. Yes you heard that right! This means there’s lots you can do to care for your skin and better stand the test of time. Read on to discover the most common signs of skin ageing, which factors speed up the skin ageing process, and the steps you can take to look younger for longer.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SKIN AGEING?
Although these may vary from person to person, here are some of the tell-tale signs of skin ageing:
Fine lines and wrinkles, particularly in areas that experience more movement, such as between the brows, across the forehead, and around the delicate eye area
Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation
Visible, enlarged pores
Uneven skin tone
Uneven skin texture
Loss of your skin’s natural glow
Loss of firmness.
WHAT IS THE SKIN AGEING PROCESS?
The intrinsic ageing process (also called chronological ageing) is as inevitable as the passing of time and, even with the best skin care, some of the signs of skin ageing will appear over time.
The first signs of skin ageing are the result of deeper changes that seem invisible at first. You may start to notice the surface-level effects though, for example, dark circles under the eyes, fine lines and wrinkles, or the loss of skin radiance and smoothness.
As we age further, our skin’s ability to renew itself slows and key building blocks such as elastin and collagen become damaged and aren’t produced at the same rate as before. As a result, your skin loses elasticity, and fine lines and wrinkles begin to deepen. In addition, your skin may appear duller. Dark spots and uneven pigmentation are a further sign of ageing, which is why they’re often called ‘age spots’.
With time, the skin’s barrier function also weakens, making it more sensitive to external stressors, such as heat or pollution. Skin may become dryer. Reduced blood circulation can cause paler skin and the loss of that rosy complexion.
As the clock keeps ticking, the muscles within the face lose elasticity too, causing a loss in volume. As we reach our 40s, fatty tissue from around the eyes and cheeks moves downwards towards the neck and jaw area causing sagging and a change in the shape of the face.
FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE SIGNS OF SKIN AGEING
Some of these factors that contribute to the visible signs of ageing include:
Sun exposure. Olay’s latest research reveals that external factors, including UV exposure, are more important than genetics when it comes to skin ageing1. It’s estimated that 80% of the visible signs of skin ageing, such as the majority of wrinkles, are caused by exposure to UV rays2. Despite common misconceptions, there’s no such thing as a healthy tan, bronzed skin is a sign that the sun’s ultraviolet rays have damaged the skin. However, it’s never too late to start looking after your skin by ensuring you wear a daily face cream with at least SPF30 all year round. Olay Regenerist Whip Light Moisturiser With SPF30 is perfect for this. It hydrates, renews and firms your skin, while helping to protect it from damaging UVA/UVB rays.
Pollution. Dirty air can exacerbate the skin ageing process and cause premature wrinkles and age spots. Keeping your skin’s protective barrier strong is an effective first line of defence against pollution. Olay Regenerist Night Face Cream works at night to hydrate and firm your skin, while helping reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains Niacinamide to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier.
Smoking. By accelerating your skin’s ageing, smoking may cause wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing. Wrinkles are usually deeper and more pronounced in smokers, and the smoke itself can contribute to skin dullness. For your skin’s appearance and naturally for your overall health, it’s best to stop smoking.
Facial expressions. Smiling, frowning and squinting can cause lines and wrinkles to appear. While we would never recommend smiling less to prevent those ‘laugh lines’, you may choose to wear glasses or sunglasses to prevent squinting, or try to do more of the things that bring you joy so that you frown less.
Weight changes. If you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, your skin has to stretch or retract in response. When weight fluctuates a lot, your skin’s elastic structure can become damaged, and it may not spring back as it may have done when you were younger. As we age, our skin naturally loses its youthful, elastic structure, and stretched skin from weight change can contribute significantly to the visible signs of skin ageing.
Not taking care of your skin. Not washing off your make-up in the evening, or not giving it enough hydration with a great moisturiser can also result in visible signs of ageing. Taking care of your skin today will have its reward tomorrow.
WHEN TO START USING ANTI-AGEING SKIN CARE
While ageing is an unavoidable part of life, you can absolutely take steps to look after your skin and slow down the appearance of visible signs of skin ageing. It’s never too early or too late to start! In fact, the earlier you start to take care of your skin, the better. As you age, skin cell turnover slows and the skin’s natural production of collagen (which provides firmness and strength) and elastin (which helps your skin stretch and ‘bounce back’) decline.
While there’s a lot you can do to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for example, it’s more effective to prevent the appearance of the signs of skin ageing for as long as possible.
Check out our ultimate guide to an effective anti-ageing skin care routine to discover how you can prevent and reduce the visible signs of skin ageing, starting today.
THE BOTTOM LINE WHEN IT COMES TO SIGNS OF SKIN AGEING
Now that you know that fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and a loss of firmness can all be signs of skin ageing, and that investing in a great anti-ageing skin care routine plays a more significant role in preserving your youthful glow than genetics, it’s time to take steps. Protect your skin from UV rays or pollution and living an overall healthier lifestyle to help keep your younger-looking skin.
AAD 2017, Poster #5530: Genetic and Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Youthful Facial Appearance. R Osborne, J Tiesman, F Neuser, M Tamura, W Safi, MH McIntyre, SS Shringarpure, IB Hallgrímsdóttir
“Photo-ageing / Photodamage as a Public Health Concern” American Academy of Dermatology Consensus Conference, March 3-4, 1988
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