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How does the ageing process affect peoples' skin

7th October 2012  : 

Unfortunately, it is a well known fact that you are going to both get and start to look older with such things as forehead lines, sagging skin and wrinkles starting to appear.

Although you cannot stop showing your age you may be able to slow down the appearance of looking older by, for example, using anti-wrinkle treatments.

Skin is made up of a number of layers with the main three being:

1. The outer layer (epidermis) is made up of protein, pigment and skin cells.

2. The middle layer (dermis) contains your oil glands, hair follicles, nerves and blood vessels. This layer of skin provides the epidermis with nutrients.

3. The inner layer (subcutaneous) is made up of fat, some hair follicles, sweat glands and blood vessels.

Each of these layers also has, what is called, connective tissue with elastin fibers that provide your skin with strength and flexibility and collagen fibers to provide support.

Changes to your skin are not only attributable to your age but also are affected by genetics, environment, nutrition, water intake and other factors such as exposure to the sun. For example, a seaman working on a boat on the high seas will see their skin age quicker, giving an appearance of being weather-beaten, due to the environment they are in with their skin being subject to high levels of sun and salt water.

As you get older the epidermis layer will thin and the number of cells containing pigments (melanocytes) will reduce but the melanocytes that remain will get larger. As a result the aging skin will appear to be thinner, clear and paler. You may develop liver spots and large pigmented spots especially if you reside in an area exposed to the sun.

Your skins elasticity and strength will reduce as you encounter changes to your connective tissue. This is called elastosis and is often seen in people who work outdoors in areas exposed to the sun.

The dermis blood vessels will start to get fragile that can lead to bleeding under your skin (senile purpura) and bruising.

Your sebaceous glands will not be able to produce as much oil as you age resulting in dry skin.

You will notice a thinning of the subcutaneous fat layer that reduces its usual padding and insulation resulting in an increased risk of you injuring your skin.

By using certain skin care treatments you can at least grow old gracefully!

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