Skin is the largest organ and outer covering of the human body. Skin is composed of three primary layers: the Epidermis, the Dermiss
- The outer part (Epidermis) contains skin cells, pigment, and proteins.
- The middle part (Dermis) contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil glands. The dermis provides nutrients to the epidermis.
- The inner layer under the dermis (the subcutaneouss layer/ Hypodermis) contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels, and fat.
There are some internal and external factors that could cause our skin to age. With time, structure of our skin changes and we see visible lines on our skin. The medical term for this internal type of aging is “intrinsic aging.” The external factors are our environment and lifestyle choices that can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of aging is “extrinsic aging.”
Structural Changes Associated with Aging Skin:
Structural changes associated by aging, makes some changes in skin. Wrinkles, Discoloration, loss of Collagen and Elastin, Dehydration and slow down of cell turnover are the number of changes that happen by aging.
Wrinkles are depressions in the skin’s surface that may be coarse or fine, depending on their depth.
Wrinkles occur as a result of:
- A reduction in muscle mass and skin thickness
- Cross-linking of collagen and elastin in the dermis
- Dehydration of the Stratum Corneum (SC)
This results in visible wrinkles on the surface of the skin and a loss of mechanical strength and elasticity.
Changes in skin color are often associated with aging. Skin color is a composite of red, blue, yellow and brown coloration.
While hyper pigmentation is most often associated with skin aging, we also see hypo pigmentation due to a reduction in the number of melanocytes. This not only leads to a reduction in melanin (hypo pigmentation), but it also accounts for a diminished protective capacity against UV exposure.
Breakdown of Collagen and Elastin
The majority of age-dependent changes that occur in our skin happen in the dermis, which can lose from 20-80% of its thickness during the aging process. This is the result of changes in the fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen.
Studies have shown that the amount of Hyaluronic Acid found in the dermis starts to diminish as early as our forties. This loss, along with a comprised barrier layer in the epidermis, is most likely the cause of dehydration and loss of turgidity, which contributes to altered elasticity in aging skin.
In addition to dehydration in the dermis, studies have indicated a reduction in the moisture content of the epidermal Stratum Corneum (SC), which is most likely due to a reduction in the SC lipids, resulting in an inefficient ability to bind and retain water. The result is the appearance of fine lines and scales.
A Slowdown of Cell Turnover
A discussion of the effects of aging on the epidermis would not be complete without including the effects of aging on cell turnover rates. Studies indicate that the epidermal turnover rate slows from 30-50% between our thirties and eighties. Studies have demonstrated that in young adults, the Stratum Corneum transit time was as quick as 20 days, whereas in older adults it stretched to 30 days or more.
Now the question is that, how we can affect on the process of aging and slow down this process and prevent early aging for our skin?
As it is mentioned above, there are some internal and external factors that cause aging. Regarding external factors that are mostly related to our lifestyle and environment, we can work on them but the question is that what we can do for internal factors that make changes in Epidermal and Dermal layer of our skin?
In order to work on those internal factors, nowadays we have some Medical treatments that could work on Epidermal and Dermal layer of skin to stimulate Fibroblast Cells to produce more Collagen and Elastin, help to penetrate external Hyaloronic deep to the dermal layer to prevent excessive dehydration, stimulate skin to increase cell turnover to repair itself faster and works on skin discolouration.