The Betterment Project

What Happens to Your Skin as You Age?


Aging—it happens to all of us. Can you stop it? No. Can you slow it down? Absolutely. From your diet to your bathroom counter, we’ve outlined what happens to your skin as you age and what you can do about it. 


While aging is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to slow the process down. You can age well. These days, there are more options than ever to take care of your skin and look younger, longer. Let’s take a closer look at what actually happens to your skin as you age. 

 

Your Skin Through Time

By our late 20s, many of us start to think about how to combat aging. In truth, this aging process is normal. Yet, it can quickly accelerate due to environmental factors, hormonal changes, and the decline of mitochondrial activity in the skin and stem cells. 


But, what exactly is going on at a cellular level? Why does your skin age? Natural aging (dubbed “intrinsic aging” by dermatologists) is a result of a decrease of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans, the proteins most responsible for keeping the skin firm, tight, and hydrated. As we lose these proteins, skin becomes thinner and more fragile.


As you may know, the sun also plays a role. Prolonged UV exposure breaks down elastin and collagen faster than natural aging. Over time, these UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation, age spots, and a rough texture. 


So, how do you stop it -  or at least slow down the aging process?

 

Anti-Aging Skincare: What Can You Control?

A first impression matters. And when it comes to putting your best face forward, minimizing the effects of age and wrinkles may count for quite a lot. What can you do to lessen the impact of time on your skin? Let’s take a look:

 

1. Protect Yourself From the Sun

Sun exposure is good for you - to an extent. It’s great for supporting your body’s natural circadian rhythm. It increases vitamin D in the body, improving your immune system and bones. It can also elevate your mood. 


Yet, there’s a dark side to this bright light. Too much sun leads to age spots and more wrinkles. It further increases your risk of skin cancer. 


By preventing this photo-aging, premature aging of the skin due to UV exposure, you can minimize your skin damage. When you’re on the hunt for a good daily moisturizer, look for one with broad-spectrum defense against UVA and UVB–and don’t forget to reapply.

 

2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Good skin isn’t just about what you put on your face—it’s also about how you treat your body. The best way to take care of yourself, in the long run, is to create a relationship between what you consume, and how you treat yourself on the outside. Did you know that stress causes your body to produce cortisol, which encourages your skin to produce excess oil? Or that a diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation? From a balanced diet to regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle goes a long way to keeping your skin young. 

 

3. Moisturize— Night and Day

Not only do you need to protect your skin, but you also need to provide it with the proper ingredients to improve cellular turnover. Treating your skin right means using an appropriate morning moisturizer and a different night cream. While you might be tempted to use your daytime moisturizer before you head to sleep, there’s are good reasons not to make your morning cream do double duty. Your morning moisturizer will have different active ingredients (and SPF) designed to protect your face during the day, while a night cream offers complimentary ingredients that heal and restore your skin while you sleep. 

 

4. Start Early

By taking the necessary steps involved in proper skincare, you can slow the aging process down and feel good about it. If you really want to make a dent in the march of time, your best bet is to start early. In fact, you lose 1% of the collagen in your skin every year after the age of 20. Considering that collagen loss is one of the most significant factors in aging, getting a head start on a solid skincare routine is key to maintaining a youthful look. 

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