Understanding your skin as it ages
Want to “turn back the hands of time”? Well, you can’t rewind time completely, but you can definitely shave off a few years. Before we get into ways men can minimize wrinkles, let’s go over why you get them in the first place.
a mattress your skin
Imagine your skin being like a mattress.
Every time you get out of bed, a permanent imprint of your body isn’t etched into the mattress. The mattress rebounds back into its original flat surface, as if you hadn’t slept on it at all. The springs in the mattress are responsible for this. In your skin, these “springs” are called elastin. When you push on your skin with your finger and lift it off, the elastin helps your skin bounce back into place.
What gives a mattress its firmness and shape is a combination of various layers of foam padding and support systems. In your skin, this “padding” is made up of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other connective tissues.
What happens when you age (Intrinsic Aging)
As you age, these connective tissues (elastin, collagen, etc) degrade, and are not replenished as quickly. Sometime in your mid to late 20’s, your body starts to lose more collagen and elastin than it can create. This gradual loss, over time, makes your skin thinner, saggier, and more prone to wrinkles.
It’s not just your connective tissue stores that slow down in production. The rate at which your skin creates new skin cells and sheds off dead skin also slows down.
In your 20’s and 30’s, the skin cells in your face renew themselves completely every 30-ish days. Basically, you can say that you have a “new face” every month. But as you grow older, this cell renewal cycle slows down. When you’re 50, it can take up to 84 days or more (3 months, instead of every month) to get a “new face”.
This slowed cellular turnover is also contributing to the depth of your wrinkles because your body is producing new skin cells much slower and more dead skin is collecting on the top. Your skin feels less smooth, looks duller and potentially darker.
These natural processes are referred to as intrinsic aging. They are nearly impossible to control. You can slow them down somewhat, but time always moves forward!
Other Factors (Extrinsic Aging)
OK, anatomy lesson over. Now you understand what happens to your skin as you naturally age (aka Intrinsic Aging). But be careful, as there are factors that speed up the aging process.
MayoClinic provides a good summary of the most heavy-hitting Extrinsic Aging factors:
- Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Exposure to UV rays, like the sun, breaks down your skin’s connective tissues (collagen and elastin fibres). Your skin loses strength and flexibility, causing sagging and wrinkles.
- Smoking. Smoking slows down the blood supply to skin by narrowing the blood vessels.This deprives your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients, accelerating the normal aging process of your skin,
- Repeated facial expressions. Each time you use a facial muscle, such as squinting or smiling, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin. As you get older, the skin loses its flexibility and is no longer able to spring back in place. These grooves then become permanent features on your face.
Prevention & Treatment
Can you rewind the hands of time, and look 20-something forever? No.
Can you slow down how quickly you visibly age? For sure!
Intrinsic Aging, which is your natural body’s aging process, cannot be stopped or controlled completely. That’s just life! But what you CAN control are the Extrinsic Ageing factors.
- wear sunscreen every day, especially if outside for prolonged periods of time
- quit smoking, or reduce the amount that you smoke
- reduce the amount of alcohol consumed (check out this GQ article to learn more)
- eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet
Products to use
Are there products or procedures that can help minimize signs of aging? Absolutely!
Chemical exfoliants, such as AFAs and AHAs, are designed for “anti-aging”. These acids speed up your cellular turnover by stimulating your body to produce new skin cells more quickly and by removing the dead cells faster. These acids also stimulate your body to produce more collagen and elastin, which adds more support and longevity into your
You can choose to use a home care product and use as directed to work on your goals at home. If you want faster results, you can choose to receive facial peel treatments, which use a stronger, professional grade exfoliant. The best results will be achieved by doing both together. The treatment gives an instant result, and the home care product further improves the delivered results and maintains them for a longer time. For more details on the types of chemical exfoliants, read our article 4 Types of Chemical Exfoliants.
Another product that should be in your daily routine is sunscreen. Remember: UV exposure is the primary cause of early signs of aging. Our Sunscreen Guide for Men article will teach you how to use sunscreen. We also teach you how to shop for sunscreen and how to store it in our article Are you using the wrong sunscreen?.
Injectables are also options to consider if you are concerned with visible signs of aging. These procedures have definitely increased in popularity amongst men. The two types of injectable treatments available are Botox and dermal fillers. Botox freezes the muscles, which minimizes the appearance of lines and wrinkles caused by facial expressions. Botox will not work on fine lines and wrinkles caused by sagging or loss of plumpness in the face. That’s what dermal fillers do, as they add fullness to areas that have thinned due to aging and plump creases that exist when your face is at rest.
A simple rule to tell the two apart:
If you’re concerned about lines that exist on your face when you move (talk, smile, etc), Botox is the solution.
If you’re concerned about lines that exist when your face is still, dermal fillers may be the remedy.
We covered a lot of information in this article. If you have any questions, please book yourself a consultation with one of our therapists. We are here to help educate and make skin care easy!