Skin as We Age: What to Expect and How to Slow the Clock
It’s no secret that as we get older, our skin ages with us. It becomes thinner, loses elasticity, and no longer looks as smooth as it once did. Veins become more visible and our cheekbones might become more defined—not to mention the scratches, cuts, or bumps that take longer to heal.
The shape of our face, the number of lines or wrinkles, and the luminosity of our skin all contribute to how old we look—and are influenced by internal and external factors.
How We Age
When we age, the epidermis becomes thinner and more transparent and starts developing growths, including small brown dots and overgrown oil glands. Our dermis loses collagen and elastin, and the blood vessels in the dermis become thinner, which leads to easy bruising.
Our collagen decreases as we age partly due to the reduced function of the cells that make collagen, and an increase in collagen-breaking enzymes. Decreases in collagen and elastin result in frown lines and the development of crow’s feet, and the edges of our brows begin to droop and our lips thin out. But intrinsic factors aren’t the only reason our skin ages—lifestyle, environment, and habits can also play a role.
Our skin’s chronological age and apparent age is related to extrinsic aging, caused by environmental factors such as UV exposure, air pollution, and smoking.
When we age, our skin bruises and tears easier and takes longer to heal. Ongoing exposure also leads to a breakdown in elastin in the dermis, resulting in saggy, stretchy skin.
An insufficient oxygen supply to the skin from tobacco smoke also causes:
- blocked blood vessels
- reduced immunity to skin cancer
- reduced collagen levels
- wrinkles and a loss of volume in the face
- dryness and coarseness to the skin
- dull complexion
Research suggests there is a correlation between air pollution and extrinsic skin aging, with those who have been exposed to soot and particles from traffic having 20% more pigment spots on the forehead and cheeks.
Not All Skin is Equal
You might have noticed that different ethnicities may age differently. That’s because different skin types have varying amounts of collagen, elastin, pigment cells, and fats. It’s not just you, it’s science.
The more melanin you have, the more protection you have against photoaging—skin damage from too much sun exposure. Increased melanin serves as a built-in sunscreen, with an average rate of 5.7% UV-B transmission into darker skin tones, compared to 2.4% in lighter ones.
But just because your racial background lessens your risk of wrinkles, doesn’t mean your skin doesn’t age—it just means the visible aging happens later than lighter skin tends to. There are different types of skin, with melanin that makes the skin darker, and pheomelanin which gives the skin its red or pink shades. People of color have more melanin, while those with lighter skin have more pheomelanin.
Additionally, darker skin types have a thickened outer layer of cells that make connective tissue and collagen (larger and more numerous fibroblasts). Though their skin won’t wrinkle as fast, they may have a higher chance of keloid scarring (overgrowth of scar tissue).
What Can You Do?
One approach is to celebrate your age and appearance for what they are—a visual representation of the joys and challenges you have faced in life. However, not everyone is comfortable with their signs of aging.
There are surgeries you can have which remove excess tissue and lifts sagging skin into the lower part of the face as a way to slow the hands of time—but surgery can be expensive, and multiple surgeries may be required to achieve the desired results.
Here are some simple ways you can give yourself a more youthful appearance:
- Protect yourself from the sun. Much of the damage to our skin is caused by the UV-A part of the light spectrum. Putting on sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat can protect you from UV-A and UV-B light.
- Moisturize your skin. Soothe dry skin with moisturizers that contain water. Or buy exfoliant creams that get rid of dead cells that don’t come off as easily as they did when you were younger.
- Ask about prescription creams. Creams that contain retinoids and compounds related to vitamin A induce collagen production in the dermis.
How GoalsRX Can Help
It’s time you THRIVE and live your best life with GoalsRX. Our consumables will help refine the look of your skin at a cellular level—because life doesn’t stop when you get older!
When you start your Thrive journey with GoalsRX, we’ll give you a custom blend of physician-approved supplements that help you look and feel your best. Our injectables aid in cellular repair, decrease inflammation, repair damaged DNA, and provide mitochondria support.