From the moment we are born our cells begin to age. This is a natural process and cannot be stopped. There is, however, much we can do to slow the signs of ageing. External free radicals are probably the biggest contributor to premature ageing. However, it should be noted that the skin itself produces free radicals as a part of its normal function. Free radicals are responsible for oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages cells and slows down regeneration. As we begin to age, our in-built anti-oxidant coping systems slow and eventually begin to fail. This is when damage can accumulate. The higher the level of exposure to external damage (sun, environment, poor diet etc), the higher the level of free radicals in the body becomes and as such, the ageing process will quicken. The chronological age of our cells has a huge influence on the condition of the skin. Poor skin health will be reflected in the skin’s texture, colour and secretions. Of paramount importance for skin at any age is ensuring adequate protection from the harmful rays of the sun.
Under 25 years:
Any signs of damage at this age are normally due to poor diet and a lack of a good skin care routine. It is important, therefore to ensure intake of micronutrients and essential fatty acids remains high (see our blog post on diet and skin health here). Vitamins function as natural antioxidants and essential fatty acids are necessary for cell membrane health. Therefore this age group should look out for skin care products containing skin-identical fatty acids (DMS) and use Vitamin A, C, E and Omega 3 and 6 serums. A serum, which prevents excessive pigmentation, is also recommended.
25 to 35:
During these years it is critical to practice good skin care routines and use quality products. As in earlier years, loss of vitamins and EFA’s leads to advanced damage of the skin cell membrane, hence to a loss of its ability to both actively and passively transport waste in and out of the cell. To slow this process, increase your supply of Essential Fatty Acids and Vitamin E to prevent lipid peroxidation. To prevent premature loss of collagen, look out for MMP inhibitors such as Boswellia nanoparticles and bioflavonoids like Green Tea. Regular clinical skin care procedures and massage will increase microcirculation and nutrient delivery to skin.
35 to 50:
The advance of our chronological age begins to affect the cell’s powerhouse, the mitochondria. The mitochondrial membrane will suffer first, resulting in decreased energy supply. The next level of damage includes the whole mitochondria. Without energy supply the cell can’t function properly. The effect on skin will be an increase in pigmentation, loss of adhesion and resilience, vascular damage and loss of lipid secretion. In layman’s terms: Loss of elasticity, sagging, pigmentation, broken capillaries, uneven skin tone, increased dryness and dehydration, increased wrinkle formation and deeper lines. It is therefore time to increase the level of all the above mentioned vitamins, bioflavonoids and EFA’s along with Hyaluronic acid and energy stimulating substances like Co-enzyme Q10. Now is also the time to consider dermal needling and increasing visits to your therapist for other specialized treatments.
Levels of cellular damage continue to increase. Depleted estrogen levels are speeding skin ageing. More and more cells will become senescent – forget what their function is. The skin will become thinner and less resilient. Sagging, lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone increases dramatically. White skin spots occur where the melanocyte does not produce pigment any more. Connective tissue becomes loose and the skin detaches from the muscle. The epidermis gets thinner and the protection is highly compromised. Sensitivity and allergic reactions become more common. It is vital to increase levels of hydration, MMP inhibitors and essential fatty acids. Collagen Induction Therapy, LED treatments and other rejuvenation treatments are highly recommended on a monthly basis. Ageing can’t be stopped, only slowed down. We all will get wrinkles at some point in time, but when we support the healthy function of our skin cells we do much to halt the signs of age. Prevention and protection from an early age is key.