Many women don’t work on preventing skin aging—that is until they see the telltale signs of premature aging. InStyle’s survey of over 1,800 racially diverse Americans revealed that anti-aging skincare isn’t a top priority for women in their twenties. Still, there is a drastic shift once they reach their thirties. Middle-aged women are more concerned about eliminating fine lines and wrinkles and, in their fifties, they become more worried about aging skin. At this point, they are also working on getting rid of age spots and reversing their loss of skin elasticity.
When it comes to aging skin, however, prevention is much better than cure. If you want to combat the signs of mature skin, you have to start now. Slow down your skin’s aging process by learning more about the signs, causes, and solutions for mature skin.
What are the signs of aging skin?
Understandably, most women become concerned about aging skin in their middle age since this is when you will see the most well-known signs of mature skin. However, your skin actually manifests numerous signs throughout different age stages before you actually notice those deep fine lines and wrinkles on your face. These signs can even show up in your twenties—they’re just usually not associated with the skin’s aging process! Here are the different signs of skin aging that you need to look out for:
1. Your skin tone will become dull and uneven
As you approach your thirties, you may notice that your skin starts to look less bright. This dullness is caused by the decline of your skin’s collagen and elastin production. Since your natural cell turnover rate has slowed down, dark spots and dead skin cells start to build up, causing a lackluster and uneven skin tone.
2. You will have thinner skin
The degeneration of your skin’s collagen and elastin can also cause the loss of volume on your face since they are in charge of giving structure to your skin. Once this lowers in volume, you’ll notice your skin is more thin and saggy, especially in your cheeks and neck. Furthermore, this loss of volume can create deep lines around your nose and mouth area.
3. Aging skin will become more rough and dry
Once you turn twenty, your sebum production will start to slow down. This can even further be aggravated once your hormones shift during your menopause. As a result, your skin texture will become rougher as you age.
4. Fine lines and wrinkles will develop on your face
Fine lines and wrinkles are the most common signs attributed to skin aging. However, these are actually caused also by the degeneration of your skin’s collagen, elastin, and sebum. The first two support your skin and make it more elastic, so once they slow down in production, your skin will sink deeper and form lines. Furthermore, the lack of moisture and sebum in your skin will make these wrinkles look more prominent on your face.
4. Age spots may show up on your skin
These small brown spots may form over the parts of your skin that get frequently exposed to the sun, like your face and shoulders. They usually show up in middle-aged individuals, but people who frequently expose themselves to UV rays can get these spots at a younger age.
Top factors that cause skin aging
Your skin is your body’s barrier against the external environment. Since your skin is exposed to the air, it experiences changes due to factors that are inside and outside your own body. These are the internal and external factors that affect your skin:
1. Degeneration of collagen and elastin
In your twenties, your skin will reduce its production of collagen and elastin by about 1% annually. This will cause your skin to lose its volume and elasticity as you grow older.
2. Decrease in sebum production
Your sebum production will lower down due to the androgens within your body. Women experience a faster decrease in sebum production since they lose more androgen as they age compared to men.
Your skin will inevitably change since its natural defensive and repair capabilities decline as you age, but external factors can speed up its aging process.
3. UV radiation
UV exposure is actually responsible for around 80% of the visible signs of aging. Artificial UV, tanning beds, and sun exposure can damage your skin by speeding up its aging process and even increasing your risk for skin cancer.
4. Air pollution
Pollutants, such as cigarette smoke contain toxins that may go into your skin and damage its natural structure. Once these environmental pollutants get into your skin, they can deplete your skin’s antioxidant levels and break down your collagen and elastin.
5. Lack of sleep
Sleep is important for your skin to regenerate and restore itself. If you aren’t able to get adequate sleep, your skin is inhibited from repairing itself at an optimal level. Therefore, poor sleep quality can cause your skin to appear dull, rough, and uneven.
6. Emotional stress
Whenever you feel stressed, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. Unfortunately, chronic stress causes cortisol to break down your skin’s collagen and elastin.
How to delay your skin’s aging process
1. Create a skincare routine that targets your specific concerns
To slow down your skin’s aging process, you need to use the right products that will give your skin enough protection and support. Products with retinoids and vitamin C are staples in brightening skincare routines because they can effectively combat premature signs of aging like dullness and wrinkles.
Case in point: retinoids are effective in boosting collagen production and reducing fine lines, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that can combat dullness and protect against sun damage.
Start your skincare routine by using a gentle exfoliating cleanser that can give you brighter and smoother skin after every wash. Then, follow it up with a moisturizer that contains vitamin C and retinoids so that you can hydrate your skin while preventing the visible signs of aging. Finally, protect your skin by using SPF 50+ sunscreen to make your skin more resilient against environmental triggers.
2. Stay away from the sun
As previously stated, your exposure to UV rays can cause visible signs of aging. To protect yourself from sun damage, you need to apply sunscreen every morning. Furthermore, try to stay indoors during the hottest times of the day. If you need to go out, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or clothes covering your arms and legs.
3. Don’t forget to care for your entire body
You also need to use preventive skincare products for the rest of your body since age spots, roughness, and loose skin may appear on different parts of your body. The skin on your arms, legs, and neck also loses elasticity as you grow older, so it’s important to use skin tightening oils to keep your skin firm and smooth. In addition, natural oils can melt away dead skin cells and stimulate collagen production, so you can have younger-looking skin once you use it regularly. If you want to incorporate these oils into your routine, combine ½ ounce of skin tightening oils (castor, olive, mustard, or grapeseed oil) with 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Then, gently rub the mixture onto your body.
4. Destress yourself by practicing proper self-care
Stress and poor sleep quality can affect the state of your skin, so you must practice proper self-care. Try to make time for hobbies that you enjoy, like knitting, gardening, or even reading! You can also catch up with a friend or a support group so that you can destress yourself and have a good laugh. At the end of the day, try to get at least seven hours of sleep so that your body can repair and regenerate itself.
5. Consume food that’s good for your skin
Food is your body’s source of energy and nutrients, so the meals that you consume can definitely help in boosting the appearance of your skin. For instance, watercress is a great source of vitamins A and C which can combat free radicals that damage and age your skin prematurely. Papaya is also a great source of antioxidants, so it can boost your skin’s elasticity and reduce the visible signs of aging.
Much like the rest of your body, your skin will change as you age. However, bad lifestyle habits and environmental triggers can cause your skin to show premature signs of aging, like dullness and fine lines. Make your skin bright, supple, and healthy by caring both for your skin and your entire body.