What promotes aging skin?

Getting older isn’t the only factor in aging skin. There are several things that are both in our control and beyond our control that will impact how quickly our skin will show signs of age

Exposure to ultraviolet light – While we may love having a tan, soaking up the sunshine also means that we’re soaking up harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Sunlight reaches the earth via an electromagnetic spectrum that has short wavelengths invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC. While UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth, both UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere, even on cloudy days. When UVA and UVB light reach the skin, they break down elastin and collagen. Sun lamps and tanning beds also use UV light, causing damage similar to that of the sun.

  • Skin color – People with pale skin tend to wrinkle at an earlier age than those with dark skin. People with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. However, when people with dark skin develop lines, they tend to be deeper than those of people with light skin
  • Genetics – Genes control how quickly the aging process occurs throughout the body
  • Constant muscle movement – Lines and wrinkles tend to be deeper areas with lots of muscle movement, such as on the forehead or around the mouth
  • Gravity – Gravity constantly pulls on our bodies but when we reach our 50s, the skin’s elasticity declines dramatically, and the effects of gravity become evident. This is when you’ll start to see eyelids droop, jowls start to form, and the upper lip thinning
  • Sleeping positions – If you’ve ever woken up with “sleep lines,” you probably didn’t worry much about them. But if you sleep in the same position nightly, those lines eventually become etched on the surface of the skin and no longer disappear after a few hours
  • Smoking – Smoking accelerates aging of the skin, largely due to the toxins in the smoke itself. Moreover, the repeated puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips, while squinting can cause lines around the eyes

Learn how to protect your skin from the harmful effects of aging by visiting our Healthy Skin Guide ».

Source: American Dermatology Association, Skincancer.org