Skin and the Aging Process

Dr. Purushothaman
September 9, 2013

Aging is an inevitable and natural part of life. It’s happening to all of us, and the skin tells it all!

Skin is an excellent indicator of our inner health and wellness, and it reflects the environment in which we live as well as the lifestyle we lead. As we age, our skin goes through predictable changes.

Physiological aging is a natural, slow, irreversible process responsible for wrinkles, sagging, thinning of the skin, dehydration, and rougher texture. Genes control how quickly the physiological aging process unfolds for each of us.

Photo aging is premature aging caused by UV (sun) exposure. According to the International Dermal Institute up to 95% of the signs of premature aging are attributable to sun exposure on the skin! Freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, actinic keratoses (thick wart-like, rough, reddish patches of skin), and skin cancer can all be traced to sun exposure.

Other factors such as diet, exercise, stress, pollution, smoking, harsh skin care products and improper cleansing techniques can accelerate the rate at which our skin ages.
Here are some of the factors that are involved in physiological aging:

The cell renewal rate slows down. Because there is less blood circulation, less oxygen is delivered to skin cells, so they are not replaced as quickly.

Cell turnover rate slows down so new cells take longer to reach the surface. This leads to a buildup of dull, devitalized, dead surface cells and rough skin texture.

In the dermis, the synthesis of Elastin and Collagen proteins slows down and a breakdown in these proteins occurs as well. Elastin and Collagen are responsible for the elasticity and strength of the skin. Expression lines deepen and skin begins to sag.

The barrier lipid region becomes compromised. This barrier layer keeps pollution, chemicals, pathogens, etc, from penetrating and also keeps the lower layers plump with water. The skin becomes more dehydrated and produces less oil as a result.

And though nothing can completely halt the intrinsic (physiological) aging process, there are certain healthy habits that, when used along with good skin care, can help delay the onset and possibly lessen the severity of visible signs of aging, and improve the overall health and condition of the skin.

Here are a few additional suggestions:

Include Fish in your diet, especially oily fish like salmon that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help to restore some of the oils in the skin and help re-hydrate the skin. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – 5 to 9 servings daily – provide necessary antioxidant protection for all organs, including the skin. High quality, lean Protein is a must for healthy skin cell function and renewal.

Minimize the major dehydrators such as coffee, tea, and sugary sodas and drinks. Instead focus on liquids that promote skin health like rooibos (red bush tea), or green or white teas, high in polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), and clear fresh water.

Eliminate inflammatory foods such as sugar, transfatty acids, and saturated fats that can accelerate the aging of our skin.

Avoid smoking and smoke-filled environments which deplete Vitamin C and accelerates aging.

Protect your skin from photo aging, that is, from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, with sunscreens that provide UVA and UVB protection. Every day, regardless of the season and regardless of the weather, apply UVA and UVB protective sunscreen. And remember it is never too late to protect your skin from FUTURE sun damage!
AGE Smart!

Dermalogica's AGE Smart products address the cellular changes that occur in the skin as we age. The system works synergistically and comprehensively to address all the signs of aging including loss of firmness, loss of luminosity, the slow down of cell repair, and the increase in hyperpigmentation (age spots).

AGE Smart is for those who care about their skin now and their skin in the future.

There are three different skin-aging biochemical reactions that occur in the dermis. The International Dermal Institute (IDI) has found a way to offset each of them.
The three biochemical reactions are:

the development of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) or free radicals
the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)
the stimulation of Matrix Metalloproteinase enzymes (MMPs) with the subsequent decline in collagen synthesis.

Nearly everyone has heard about free radicals, (also known as ROS). As we age, our innate ability to repair free radical damage diminishes, so more damage occurs than the body can repair. Antioxidants in the diet are very important but the skin is the last organ to receive them. Applying antioxidants that are absorbed directly into the skin helps prevent free radical damage.

Vitamins E and C are important antioxidants, as are soy iso flavinoids. Polyphenols in Green, Red, and White teas are some of the most powerful antioxidants available. All of these are found in AGE Smart. In fact IDI has formulated the most potent, non-irritating Vitamin C available in the skin care industry – Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP).

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) occur when a sugar molecule combines with a protein molecule in the body, a process called Glycation. This disrupts the 3 dimensional structure of the dermis (the lower layer of the skin), and triggers inflammation. Collagen fibers become cross-linked and that is what causes wrinkles!

To control AGEs in the skin, two amino acids, Arginine and Lysine, bind with the sugar making it unavailable to act with the collagen protein, minimizing this inflammation and cross-linking…the result is fewer wrinkles. An Arginine/Lysine polypeptide is found in AGE Smart, that along with Glucosamine and Soy Isoflavinoids, also help prevent AGEs.

Matrix Metalloproteinase Enzymes (MMPs) occur naturally in the skin, and these enzymes are continually breaking down the structural building blocks of the skin, such as Collagen (which gives our skin it’s strength), Elastin (responsible for elasticity of the skin), and Hyaluronic Acid (part of what keeps our skin hydrated). As we age our body’s resistance to these enzymes is overcome such that these enzymes break down skin tissue at a more rapid rate…a natural and predictable part of aging. By the time we reach age 30, we begin to lose 1% of our collagen every year. So by age 50 we have lost 20%. By age 60, 30% and so on. This is why we see sagging, wrinkling, and the loss of plumpness in the skin.

MMPs can be controlled with ingredients in AGE Smart, such as proanthocyanidins from grape seed extract, and polyphenols from White and Green Teas and Soy Isoflavinoids, Peptides, and Vitamin C (MAP). All of these ingredients stimulate collagen synthesis, helping to rebuild the skin’s structure.

In the AGE Smart system you will also find other great ingredients such as Lactic Acid (5%), a potent exfoliator which helps smooth and resurface the skin while promoting hydration and lightening hyperpigmentation, Protein Peptides and Tripeptides that help build Collagen and firm the skin, Vitamin E, an antioxidant, Hyaluronic Acid, a natural component of skin that attracts and holds 1000 times its’ weight in water, acid-free exfoliators such as Glucosamine, Yeast Extract, Algae Extract, and Urea, and a daytime moisturizer with an SPF of 30!

Topical vitamins like those found in Dermalogica’s AGE Smart system, have been recognized for their ability to deliver nourishment directly to skin cells. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) helps reverse the signs of premature aging while improving skin’s elasticity. It promotes the formation of new skin cells, and soothes and hydrates the skin. Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) helps soften and smooth the skin, relieves dryness and promotes healing while protecting the skin from reactive oxygen species (ROS). Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), another antioxidant vitamin, plays an essential role in building collagen so it helps protect skin from premature aging (like wrinkles).

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