The first signs of skin ageing begin to appear around the ages of 25-30, by way of a slight loss of elasticity and decreased skin firmness and subtle wrinkles. These are the first signs of the natural ageing process of your skin. While this process is natural and inevitable, it is slow yet gradual and, in any case, can be prevented and slowed down.
THE FIRST SIGNS: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR SKIN
At the basis of these first signs lies changes that affect all three layers of the skin: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis.
In the most superficial layer, known as the epidermis, there is a slowdown in cellular or epidermal turnover, and the skin starts to be less protected and less “combative”.
The production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid begins to decrease, which are important components for making our skin toned, firm and supple.
In the hypodermis, the deepest layer, the change affects the structure of the adipose tissue, leading to a loss of volume, in the cheeks especially, in the long run.
The first wrinkles appear mainly around the eyes and lips, areas in which the skin is very thin.
These are called “expression lines”, because certain facial expressions actually accentuate these first signs of skin ageing when they are repeated over and over.
THE CAUSES OF SKIN AGEING
The first signs of skin ageing do not appear for everyone at the same age nor with the same severity - so why is that? It is because, alongside chronological (or intrinsic) ageing, which is linked to our genetics, there is also extrinsic ageing, i.e. ageing linked to factors and behaviours that depend on the individual and that are defined by the term “skin exposome”.
The skin exposome is a set of exogenous and endogenous factors to which the skin is exposed to and stressed by every day, which can lead to signs of ageing.
Important factors, such as diet, stress and lack of sleep are part of the skin exposome, but above all, environmental factors such as sunlight and pollution that cause oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is caused by an overproduction of free radicals, which are particularly reactive molecules capable of attacking and damaging proteins, fats and our DNA. Our skin has a sophisticated antioxidant system that can deal with the normal production of free radicals, by transforming them into less toxic molecules and thus maintaining oxidative balance.
The issue arises when constant and prolonged exposure to certain external factors promotes a higher than normal production of free radicals and our defence system is no longer able to neutralise them.
Thus our body enters oxidative stress, suffering significant damage to its cells.
HOW TO COUNTERACT THE ONSET OF THE FIRST SIGNS OF AGEING
The first step in effectively tackling ageing is to keep our skin hydrated at all times.
Just as our bodies require water, our skin also need to be hydrated daily. First and foremost from the inside out by drinking regularly throughout the day, because the skin is the biggest organ of the body, both in terms of weight and size.
In addition to hydration, we must reduce oxidative stress, trying to avoid all the external factors that encourage the production of free radicals.
The main culprits are the following:
- prolonged, regular sun exposure, especially without adequate protection;
- air pollution, due to particulate matter and heavy metals;
- blue light, produced by electronic devices;
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly helpful when it comes to limiting oxidative stress, namely getting enough quality sleep, engaging in moderate exercise and eating a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetables and other food that is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols are actually invaluable tools for tackling excessive free radicals.
HOW TO PREVENT AND SLOW DOWN SKIN AGEING
Understanding the importance of a daily beauty routine, even at a young age, is the first step when it comes to preventing and slowing down skin ageing. And in this routine, hydration is key. Hydrating your skin is anything but trivial and obvious and not only is it crucial for its health, but also a prerequisite when it comes to keeping it looking toned and radiant. When skin is dehydrated, it looks drawn and rough with a dull, grey hue. And if our skin is dry, it is also unprotected and more vulnerable to multiple external stressors and thus more susceptible to showing early signs of ageing.
What’s more, our skin is put to the test by the frantic pace of life, bad habits, UV rays, blue light, environmental pollution, and all the sources of free radicals that involve oxidative stress.
Therefore, everyday it is important to not only moisturise, but also counteract oxidative stress in order to maintain a healthy, radiant skin that actively defends against skin ageing.