What are the signs of skin
Skin ageing can affect many parts of the skin and cause a variety
of cosmetic and medical problems. The signs depend on the site
- Epidermis (superficial skin)
- Xerosis or dryness.
- Atrophy or thinning of the skin.
- Seborrhoeic keratoses or age
- Actinic keratoses (solar keratoses).
- Basal cell and squamous cell
- Melanocytes (pigment cells)
- Ephelides or freckles.
- Actinic lentigines (solar lentigines)
or "age spots".
- Malignant melanoma
- Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis.
- Connective tissue
- Wrinkles and frown lines.
- Sagging skin, jowls, eye bags.
- Yellow appearance of the skin.
- Solar elastosis.
- Sebaceous glands
- Thinning of the scalp (see androgenetic
- Increased in facial hair (see
- White hair (see canities).
- Blood vessels
- Cherry angiomas.
- Telangiectasias or broken capillaries.
- Senile purpura (easy bruising).
- Venous lakes.
- Subcutaneous fat
- Fat atrophy leading to sunken
cheeks, thinned skin.
When does skin ageing occur?
Significant signs of ageing appear in the 40s and may occur a
decade earlier in smokers and people who are heavily exposed
to the sun.
What causes skin ageing?
Ageing may be classified into chronological (biological) ageing
and photoageing (sun-induced ageing). Doctors believe that photoageing
causes 90% and chronological ageing 10% of the signs of ageing.
How can I prevent skin ageing?
You cannot entirely prevent ageing because you cannot delay chronological
ageing and you cannot entirely eliminate photoageing because
you cannot entirely avoid the sun. However, you can reduce photoageing
which accounts for 90% of the signs of ageing by taking precautions
against the sun. If you want evidence of the effects of sun-damage
just compare the skin on the inside of the upper arm and the
backs of your hand. See how much better the inside of the arm
is and just imagine how the back of you hands could look if you
had protected your skin against the sun. See the next section
How can I reduce photoageing?
Photoageing accounts for 90% of the signs of ageing. Photoageing
can be prevented by taking precautions against the sun and this
is the best and cheapest anti-wrinkle treatment.
- Avoid exposure to sunlight especially
between 11am to 3pm.
- Wear protective clothing (densely
woven fabric is best) and broad-brimmed hats.
- Use umbrellas and try to stay
in the shade.
- Remember that the sun can penetrate
through water and wet white clothing and UV-A can pass through
- Apply sunscreens to all exposed
parts at least 30 minutes before going out. Reapply every 2 hours
and more frequently if you are swimming or sweating profusely.
When should I start protecting
The signs of photoageing takes 10 - 20 years so you should start
taking precautions before the signs appear. It is never too early
to protect your skin against sun damage.
Is there treatment for skin
Yes, there is treatment ranging from creams to chemical peels,
collagen injections, plastic surgery to lasers which can help
reverse some of the signs of ageing. Treatment can turn the age
clock a little but it cannot stop the clock from ticking.
Do any of the so-called anti-wrinkle
Wrinkles are due to collagen degeneration and only tretinoin
(retinoic acid) has been proven to stimulate collagen synthesis.
Other products such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy
acids (BHAs) and vitamin C are claimed to help reverse fine wrinkles
but not all doctors agree about this. B careful as many of the
anti-wrinkle creams available on the market are simply very good
moisturisers which hide the lines rather than stimulate collagen
production. Don't forget that sunscreens are, in a sense, anti-wrinkle
products because because they screen out the sun's ultraviolet
Does smoking accelerate skin
Most definitely, yes! Nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin,
depriving it of nutrients and oxygen. Cigarette smoke also causes
carbon monoxide to increase in the blood. Smokers are also more
likely to develop lines around the mouth because of the use of
the perioral muscles to hold the cigarette and lines around the
eyes as a result them scrunching their eyes to avoid the smoke.
Generally, heavy smokers age 10 years earlier than their non-smoking
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