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  • Writer's pictureJill Stetson

Age-Defying Skincare: Why Does Skin Age?

Updated: Jun 3

Why does skin age? And how can you best care for your skin through the ages?

We begin aging from the moment we enter this world. It's an inevitable part of life. However, as we grow older, it's essential to maintain a positive self-image both internally and externally. While Baby Boomers lead the charge, younger generations also have piqued interest in combating the visible signs of aging that express on our faces. Remember, it's not all about vanity but about nurturing self-esteem and practicing good self-care.

But how do you navigate the abundance of options available? There's so much to consider! Boy, what a change from when I grew up (read my story). Since becoming an esthetician 13 years ago, I've studied the industry, advocating for a sensible approach to skincare. It all starts with grasping the following fundamental facts.

Skin Ages Due to:

  • 40% Genetics

  • 30% Lifestyle

  • 30% Skin Care (or lack thereof)

Aging brings forth various changes to our skin, affecting its appearance, texture, and functionality.

There are two categories of aging to consider:

1. Intrinsic Aging - what is happening inside you:

  • Genetics

  • Hormones

  • Metabolism

2. Extrinsic Aging - choices you make that influence your aging process:

  • UV radiation

  • Lifestyle choices

  • Environmental factors

  • Facial expressions

  • Skincare habits

  • Collagen and elastic fiber changes

  • Hydration and moisture levels

  • Cellular changes

A healthy lifestyle, proper skincare, and sun protection can minimize the effects of aging.

So where do you begin? Genetics.

Start by taking a look at your parents. You likely inherited facial skin and features from them, both favorable and unfavorable. Identifying your genetic predispositions will empower you to accentuate the good and improve the not-so-good.

Next, evaluate your lifestyle.

Consider factors that can hinder or help how your skin ages:

  • Sun Exposure

  • Smoking

  • Stress

  • Exercise

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Diet

  • Sleep

  • Pollution

  • Menopause 

You know the big one on this list - sun exposure! Sun exposure, in particular, warrants attention as it can lead to dark spots and hasten collagen and elastin loss. Research indicates that dark spots more visibly age you than wrinkles. 

In the normal aging process, here is what happens to your collagen and elastin:

  • Starting at 18, you lose 1% each year. 

  • By the time you’re in your mid-30s, the loss doubles to 2%,

  • By the time you’re in your 50s, the loss again doubles to 4% each year.

  • Then, you reach a “tipping point”, when visible damage is obvious (especially if you have not cared for your skin).

This loss typically progresses with age but is accelerated by external factors. Sun exposure will accelerate the rate of loss well beyond the percentages outlined above. And that’s just the effect of the sun! Add in other negative lifestyle influences like smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, too much wine, not enough sleep, pollution, and then the inevitable arrival of menopause. You get it! It all adds up to the perfect storm on your skin. But all is not bleak!

It's essential to cultivate healthy lifestyle habits, even if you can't adopt them all. Start with a few:

  • Wear sunscreen with blue light protection (Circadia has a new one - how can we put that on the website). 

  • Reduce processed foods and sugar from your diet. 

  • Try to exercise a couple of times a week. Exercise will help you sleep better. 

  • If possible, don’t smoke. 

Good lifestyle choices will compound. For example, exercise can lead to better sleep (this is when your skin repairs itself), and better sleep helps control food carvings. Over time, good habits make a lasting difference.

Here are some of the common ways in which the skin changes with age:

  • Wrinkles and fine lines

  • Loss of Elasticity

  • Thinning of skin

  • Dryness and dehydration

  • Uneven skin tone and dark spots

  • Decreased blood circulation

  • Slower cell turnover

  • Decreased oil production 

  • Loss of facial fat

  • Reduced collagen production

  • Impact of gravity

Let's talk about caring for your skin.

Let me start by saying - it is never too late. And if you start earlier, it’s much better. Remember, caring for your skin makes up 30% of how your skin will age.

While nobody wants a 100-step regimen, effective products and consistency are key. You can establish a skincare routine tailored to your needs that takes less than 5 minutes in the morning and night.

A sensible plan for your skin is establishing a regimen based on understanding and assessing how your skin is aging, how you have cared for your skin, and your lifestyle choices.  Then add the right ingredients to guide your skin through the aging process and understand the right treatments for your skin. There is so much available in this industry that it can be daunting to know what to do. Using an esthetician can guide you through this process and we specialize in this with Ask the Esthetician at SkinTrust.

Stay tuned!

In upcoming months, I will share skin care tips for each decade, so you can care for your skin through the ages.

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