Everybody’s skin ages naturally as a mark of passing time and the subtle damage caused by our environment. But what are the key differences between young skin and aging skin? Why do some people retain a youthful look while others appear much older? It’s best to begin a look at the difference between young and aging skin by providing a brief description of the main components of the skin itself.
The Layers and Nutrients of Skin
Our skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis (outermost), dermis (middle) and hypodermis (innermost). The dermis layer holds the largest quantity of elastin and collagen, two fibres that are responsible for much of our skin’s built-in resilience. These fibres are produced as part of the skin’s inherent regenerative systems and, when we’re young, are lost and replaced regularly and with great efficiency.The skin is naturally able to bear the wear and tear of daily life (gravity, lack of moisture, etc.) but, as we age, the systems that work to accomplish this begin to break down in significant ways. Part of this has to do with our ability to retain moisture — the key ingredient in powering skin cells so that they’re able to produce the elastin and collagen that is so vital to maintaining a youthful look.
The Aging Process
As we get older our body begins to lose some of its natural resilience and nowhere is this more apparent than with our skin. The foundation of this comes from the fact that the skin, with time, begins to thin and dry out, unable to take in enough hydration. The body starts to lose its ability to produce sufficient levels of elastin and collagen due to the fact that our skin cells receive less moisture. Environmental and chronological aging come together to make this process occur either more or less quickly.
Our family history can have much to do with how young our skin looks (one person may have deep wrinkles at 35 while another has smooth skin) but the decisions we make also greatly affect it. Chronological (otherwise known as genetics) aging sees our skin eventually becoming drier and thinner. Because less moisture is able to penetrate the skin, our cells have less of the fuel they need to produce fatty collagen and stretchy elastin. When this occurs, a void is left that is filled by less appropriate macromolecules, unable to properly compensate for the role that ample collagen previously filled. This is when wrinkles begin to form (usually beginning in the 30s and becoming much more noticeable into the early 40s and beyond) along with creases and an overall decrease in smoothness and fullness.The environment accelerates aging and creates many of the features that we describe as “aging skin”. The difference between “young” and “old” skin can be seen as a sign of whether a person has avoided environmental triggers or not. UV rays from the sun constitute the most critical contributor to aging as these rays accelerate the breakdown of elastin and collagen. And along with certain lifestyle factors including consuming excess sugar, alcohol and smoking it causes some of the other major identifying traits of aging skin: pigment changes (like age spots, uneven colouration), increasingly visible blood vessels and veins and uneven texture.
Collagen to pause the clock
Everyone must deal with aging as they get older but there are ways that we can maintain youthful looking skin even as we age. Consumption of collagen has been clinically proven to reduce the signs of ageing in our skin with fewer fine lines, increased hydration and a more youthful appearance. Experts encourage us to start collagen consumption before the signs of ageing start to take effect as once skin starts to thin and sag, it’s much harder to correct.
A simple and effective way to boost your skin’s natural collagen production is by adding a collagen supplement to your beauty routine. We like to see it as a way of pausing the clock on our skin, for a fresh and youthful appearance for longer.