The Cause and Effect of Skin Aging

October 17, 2014

With all of the wonderful inventions of the modern world, there is not yet one that truly stops us from aging. While we wait for the Fountain of Youth to be discovered, we must accept that we are merely mortals and aging is a natural part of life.

At Natura Veda, we focus on the “natural” part of aging gracefully through anti-aging skincare products and techniques. Knowing why we age and how we age, the cause and effect of skin aging, is essential in working to slow and reduce visible signs of aging.

Aging occurs two ways: Intrinsically based on genetics, and Extrinsically from environmental factors.

Intrinsic Aging

We inherit many traits from our parents and how we will age is one of them. Intrinsic aging refers to the natural aging process. The age and extent to which the outward signs of aging unfold is part of our genetic code. As skin ages, we produce less collagen – the protein that makes up connective tissue in the dermis and strengthens skin – and elastin to help firm and shape our skin. The process of skin cell regeneration also slows, leaving us with more tired, dead skin cells on the surface and less fresh new skin cells to replace them.

The visible results of skin aging vary per person. Fine lines and wrinkles are the result of less collagen and elastin to keep skin tight and give it the ability to stretch or “snap” back in place like elastic. Thin and transparent skin occurs as we generate less skin cells and as the hypodermis or fatty third layer of the skin begins to erode. Loss of this fatty layer, which helps give skin shape, also creates a hollow appearance around the eye sockets and in the cheek bones. Bones often separate from skin as we age, resulting in sagging. Aging may also cause skin to become dry and itchy.

Extrinsic Aging

Our environment and lifestyle also dictate how, and how quickly, our skin will age extrinsically. Many unhealthy habits lead to premature skin aging. The number one culprit, however, is sun exposure. Any amount of tanning of the skin is a reaction to ultraviolet rays from the sun. These harmful rays damage the support structure of skin, making sun exposure the leading cause of wrinkles. The face is particularly susceptible to structural damage and should be protected from the sun at all times.

Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking and an unhealthy diet, also contribute to extrinsic aging. We all know smoking is bad for us but it’s also very bad for skin. It is another top cause of premature signs of aging including wrinkles, discoloration and a coarse texture. We also know that our diet is the body’s power switch. When we eat rich and diverse nutrients and remain hydrated, we fuel our bodies with the best ingredients to thrive. The same is true for our skin, the body’s largest organ. Balanced diets that contain a range of vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, help combat free radicals (like those from the sun’s rays) that damage cells through oxidative stress. Also, extreme weight loss and weight gain from yo-yo dieting can cause skin sagging and elasticity confusion in skin.

Three additional surprising sources of wrinkles are our gravity, facial expressions and sleep habits. Gravity is a force-field we cannot zap away and over time, it does a number on our skin. Specifically, gravity causes sagging and drooping of facial skin, especially on the eyelids, tip of the nose, lip line and frame and ears. And when gravity isn’t pulling us down, our own expressions may be. Over a lifetime, the muscle contractions responsible for facial expressions – frowns, smiles, squinting – create fine lines around the eyes, eyebrows, mouth and forehead. And putting pressure on our faces from night-after-night of sleeping also leads to unwanted creases.

Because extrinsic signs of aging are often the result of personal lifestyle choices, we can take steps to reduce their effects. These include protecting our skin from sun exposure; not smoking; eating a healthy, well-balanced diet; staying hydrated; maintaining a healthy weight; wearing sunglasses and regular glasses as needed to prevent unnecessary squinting; and sleeping on our backs.

Changing the number age on your skin isn’t possible, but changing the appearance age of your skin with all-natural skincare is. It’s never too late to start looking younger. Natura Veda offers products that address common concerns of premature aging and reduce the visible effects of intrinsic and extrinsic aging. And we do it with the best phyto-nutrients, all-natural oils and wholesome ingredients to bring you the “natural” way to anti-aging gracefully.

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