Experts believe that natural skin aging is a combination of intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors.
Intrinsic aging is the natural aging process that is ultimately genetically determined. It includes the degenerative effects of free radicals, hormonal shifts, and the body’s inability to perfectly repair sun damage. Starting in the 20s, a person begins to produce 1% less collagen in the skin every year, resulting in a gradual loss of volume over time. Intrinsic aging is also impacted by ethnicity, gender, and skin type inherent to one’s genetics.
Intrinsic aging is also impacted by ethnicity, gender, and skin type inherent to one’s genetics.
Extrinsic aging is caused by regular exposure to external factors in the environment or one’s lifestyle that causes premature aging, by both compounding and expediting intrinsic aging.
Research has shown that shielding the skin from sun exposure is key to maintaining skin health, cellular turnover, elasticity, and the ability to regenerate cells until an advanced age. The exposure to UV rays accelerates skin aging and causes photoaging.
- Ultraviolet A (UVA rays) - UVA rays have a longer wavelength and account for up to 95% of the ultraviolet radiation we receive on Earth. These rays deeply penetrate the skin yet are not the cause of sunburn. The “A” in “UVA” can be considered as the “aging” rays and contribute to the formation of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, DNA damage, collagen, and elastin damage. Overexposure over time may lead to skin cancer.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB rays) - UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and do not penetrate as deeply as UVA rays. The “B” in “UVB” can be considered as the “burning” rays as they cause rapid damage to the skin as both sunburn and tan.
Along with UV rays, various pollutants in our environment create free radicals that lead to extrinsic aging.
- Pollution - Air pollutants at ground level especially in cities, also known as ozone pollutants, are considered one of the most toxic environmental aggressors. They contribute to oxidative stress, depletion of antioxidants to combat free radicals, and induces inflammation—a stress skin reaction. Look to skincare with malachite extract, an antipollution ingredient that prevents degenerative effects from ozones.
- Visible Light - Visible light, most notably blue light, emitted from digital devices such as computers, tablets, TVs, fluorescent light bulbs, and smartphones in concentrated, long-term, close-up exposure may cause skin damage. The current research is not entirely conclusive but it is cited that blue light contributes to photoaging such as hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and an overall weakening of skin integrity. Skincare products with multi-antioxidant formulas neutralize a spectrum of free radicals from light sources. Contact our Noble Panacea Skincare Concierge for recommendations.
One’s lifestyle, from stress and fatigue to diet, affects how the skin functions and ultimately how it looks. It can mean the difference between dull and tired skin with fine lines versus fresh and radiant. A slew of daily habits directly impacts the skin’s health.
- Tobacco Smoke - It contains more than 4,000 chemicals that damage collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that give strength and elasticity, leading to premature wrinkles and sagging. Further, nicotine causes the narrowing of blood vessels and microcirculation leading to a lack of oxygen and important nutrients that contributes to dull skin. It also intensifies the effects of sun exposure, increasing oxidative stress.
- Stress - Stress creates a chemical response in the body, that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It unleashes cortisol, a hormone that comes with a host of negative effects on the body like increased heart rate, blood pressure, and disrupted digestion and reproduction. Cortisol breaks down collagen and elastin production in the body. It also causes the skin to lose its ability to retain water and leads to dehydration. Dry skin accelerates the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. Soothe skin from the effects of stress with skincare containing tea and oat kernel extracts.
- Fatigue - Fatigue is the number one enemy yet it’s the easiest to fix. Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a factor in fatigue and disrupting the skin’s intrinsic reparative and regenerative cycle. Persistently high cortisol levels interfere with how well your skin heals, regenerates, and protects, disrupting the cycle. Additionally, a lack of sleep due to overactive lifestyles decreases cellular production to replenish the skin as well as protective antioxidants to reduce free-radical damage.
- Alcohol - Excessive alcohol consumption leads to dehydration and inflammation that accelerates the aging process. It also can cause chronic redness as well as collagen breakdown. Alcohol can also dilate the pores, which can lead to more skin congestion as blackheads and whiteheads.
- Lack of Water - Our bodies are over 50% water and our organs, including the skin, need water to maintain their peak levels of functioning. Staying hydrated slows the aging process by maintaining elasticity, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, enhancing plumpness and suppleness, and addresses dullness by preventing the buildup of dead cells. Also, proper hydration aids in the skin’s detoxifying process. Incorporating hydrating day and night creams into your daily routine boost moisture to the skin from the outside in.
- Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise - The skin is the last organ to receive nutrients from vitamins, minerals, antioxidants present in food. It is crucial to have a healthy diet so the skin can combat aggressors, regenerate, and repair optimally.
- Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that damage skin and speed up skin aging. Eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of caring for our skin as it ages.
- Exercise supports a healthy diet as it boosts oxygen and blood flow to the skin which carries all the essential nutrients from food directly to skin cells.
- Lack of Proper Facial Cleansing - Regular daily facial cleansing is imperative to keeping skin clean and free of pore-cloggers such as makeup, impurities, sweat, oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Clogged pores may lead to breakouts and a rough skin texture. Regular cleansing removes these pore-cloggers and allows the skin to breathe. In turn, cleansing is the first vital step to fully prepping the skin to receive the optimal skincare benefits of day creams, night creams, and targeted treatments, ensuring the best results.
- Excessive Friction During a Skincare Routine - Cotton pads, makeup wipes, and towels are often a go-to for cleansing and drying the skin during regular skincare routines. However, the daily prolonged friction caused by these seemingly innocuous items not only is often the cause of irritation for sensitive skin but can also accelerate signs of aging such as sagging and wrinkles from excessive pulling. Furthermore, towels may not be clean and can harbor bacteria that lead to breakouts. Limit physical exfoliation to once a week or as needed. Use gentle pats when drying skin with a towel instead of aggressive tugs or use a hand fan to air dry the face.