What No One Tells You About Aging|
Whether it’s tabloids bashing women over 40, ads pedaling fillers and botox, or the sheer lack of representation, we’re told as women that aging is just about the worst thing we can do in life.
We’re taught that wrinkles are something to fear, gray hairs are unattractive, and that we should look away in shame from our stretch marks.
And yet, here’s the thing about aging: we all do it, and it’s one of the most natural things you could ever do. Over time, we all develop a few wrinkles, and our skin simply changes. It’s part of what makes us dynamic beings, and it’s a sign of a life that’s been truly lived.
But while aging is something to be embraced, that doesn’t mean we can’t do it gracefully.
Today, we’re talking about what they don’t tell you about aging, how our skin responds to it, and what we all can do to stay radiant well into our 80s.
How Does Our Skin Age?
Before we talk about how the skin ages, it helps to understand the layers of the skin, and what they do to protect us.
Our skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.
The epidermis is what we call the skin’s outer layer, and it’s where dead skin is sloughed off and where scar tissue forms.
And underneath the epidermis is the dermis, which is made of elastin, collagen fibers, fats, elastin, and blood vessels, which work together to keep your skin elastic and plump while supporting the epidermis.
Below that is the subcutaneous layer, which uses fat to keep our internal organs warm and protected.
Aging begins around our 20s, and it’s when collagen formation gradually begins to slow down, by 1% each year, according to The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science.
Collagen and elastin fibers thicken and clump together, which leads to the skin loosening and sagging.
Around our 30s, our skin’s natural moisturizing process also begins to slow, leading to the skin thinning as fat cells begin to shrink.
In our 40s, collagen production begins to fully stop, causing fine lines and wrinkles. By the time we’re in our 50s, the sebaceous glands shrink in size, causing the skin to become more dry and more sensitive.
The Aging We Can Prevent
The skin ages in two ways: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging is how your skin naturally ages on its own, when no additional actions are involved to hasten the process. Aside from surgical procedures, there’s not much we can do to prevent intrinsic aging.
Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, is caused by habit and environment, especially sun damage and smoking.
Of course, all know smoking’s bad for us, but sun damage can actually become a major issue over time.
When UVA light penetrates all of the skin’s layers, and UVB light hits the skin’s outer layer, sun damage occurs, and it causes the epidermis to form freckles, a thickened outer layer, sunspots, and even precancerous cells, known as actinic keratosis.
But here’s the good thing about sun damage: there are things we can do to prevent it.
No matter your age, make it a habit to minimize your sun exposure whenever possible, and to apply sunscreen throughout the day.
Another form of preventable aging is free radical damage.
Free radicals are unstable hydrogen molecules with an unpaired electron, and they look for electrons to bond with, sometimes in our bodies. When molecules bond with our skin, oxidative stress occurs, which has an effect similar to rusting metal or an apple turning brown.
How do we stop free radicals? With the help of antioxidants!
Antioxidants are found in a number of plant-based foods, especially berries, green tea, and cocoa, and they can break down and destroy free radicals.
To help prevent the onset of free radical damage, go for products with antioxidant-rich ingredients. For instance, our Hydrawear and Miracle 7-in-1 Priming Serum contain green tea, which is a known powerhouse of antioxidants. You’ll also find antioxidant-rich ingredients throughout our products like white tea, fermented ginseng, Centella asiatica, and grape seed extract.
Don’t forget to also make sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants every day by eating a lot of antioxidant-rich plants and drinking plenty of green tea.
While we all have to age eventually, we all can do so gracefully! With the help of healthy habits and informed choices, we can look our most beautiful at any age.