What is aging and mature skin?
Over time, the ability of the sebaceous glands to produce oil slows down, often leading to skin dryness, wrinkles, fine lines, flakiness and other imperfections. Even if you had perfect skin, no one is immune to the skin changes brought about by aging.
The first thing you may notice as your skin matures is that it is not that firm anymore. This is because your skin loses both collagen, which makes the skin firm and plump, and elastin, which gives skin strength and allows it to stretch.
Exposure to free radicals and UV rays from the sun can damage collagen and elastin, which causes your skin to sag and make you look old. This skin type is referred to as ageing mature skin.
Another characteristic of this skin type is that it is generally associated with thinning of the skin, fine lines around the lips and eyes with deeper lines around the mouth and forehead, eye bags, darker circles and skin dryness.
As you age, the skin may not regenerate new and healthy cells easily, and dead skin cells do not shed quickly. This causes your skin to appear dull and rough. As the epidermis flattens, the skin also becomes more fragile and transparent, and it can bruise more easily.
Other bodily changes brought by aging can also affect the skin appearance. Normally, fat loss can cause facial skin to sag or to appear more sunken – the same effect as a maturing skin.
There are several problems that people with ageing and mature skin can encounter. Because the sweat glands deplete with age, the skin loses most of its natural moisture resulting in a dull appearance.
Another problem is hyperpigmentation, especially in those persons with a history of prolonged sun exposure. While it is important to meet the daily needs of mature skin, it is necessary to keep in mind that not all elderly experience these skin problems.
What can cause early aging or maturing of the skin?
Chronological age and biological age are two different things. The process of aging is only remotely connected to your true age. Your physical appearance is sometimes an indicator of your biological age, which sometimes can be deceptive, especially if you have mature skin.
Our genes are mainly responsible for maturation of the skin. The medical term for this type of aging is called “intrinsic aging”.
There are different causes of mature skin for each individual.
Early or premature aging is related to a variety of factors such as the following:
UV rays from the sun can destroy the elastic-like fibres in the skin, which causes it to sag and lose its elasticity. Over time, the sagging skin gets pulled by gravity resulting in a droopy appearance.
The nicotine in cigarettes accelerates aging by decreasing collagen synthesis. If the production of collagen (protein that makes your skin firm and plump) is delayed and its amount decreases, your skin can sag and may look old.
A diet rich in sugar and other refined carbohydrates accelerates aging through a process called glycation – a process in which blood sugar molecules and fat molecules interacts with protein molecules and damage the protein.
Wrinkling of the skin is one example of what this process can do. Also, frequent alcohol consumption can accelerate aging as it depletes the body’s nutrients.
Drugs used to treat cholesterol such as statins can speed up the process of aging.
An underlying medical condition can cause premature aging of the skin.