Skin Aging Process: Types, Causes and Treatment Tips

Heather Campbell
 min read

Every person is subject to the skin aging process. As a result, the condition of the hair worsens, its color changes, the number of wrinkles increases, the skin loses its elasticity, and the muscle tone decreases.

Skin aging process: Types, causes and treatment tips

There are many opinions about the cause of these violations. For example, gradually, toxins accumulate in the human body year by year.

There is a progressive destruction of cells caused by constant stress, damage, and disease. Over time, the immune system loses its ability to resist the evils.

The skin ages both externally, due to harmful UVA rays, and internally due to less collagen, hyaluronic acid, and cell regeneration. There are several theories to biologically explain the cause of aging, but none can be prevented. However, it is realistic to prevent and correct aging skin defects.

Read on for detailed information about the types of skin aging, the causes, the best makeup for aging skin and some skin aging treatment tips.

Skin aging process: Introduction

Drawing Showing Structure Of Young Skin On Left And Structure Of Older Skin On Right Large Difference Visible

The evolution of a person's appearance reflects the transition process of the human body from one age period to another.

Among the tests adopted in gerontology to determine biological age, there are also purely external characteristics such as:

  • the formation of wrinkles
  • baldness
  • grey hair
  • a decrease in the humidity level of the tissues
  • age
  • changes in appearance, posture, gait, etc.

The related changes are reflected earlier and more pronounced on the face and neck.

The biological aging process of human skin begins at the age of 25 due to the action of harmful irritants (such as harmful substances in the atmosphere, mechanical factors, climate change, sunlight, etc.).

It is a genetic predisposition or a disturbance of hormonal processes in the body and even the intense rhythm of life.

As a result, many people's biological age today does not correspond to their chronological age.

It is not uncommon for 18-year-old girls to look older because their skin is sensitive to the causes of aging.

External aging versus internal aging of the skin

Cross-Sectional Drawing Of Young Skin On The Left And Cross-Section Of Older Skin On The Right Major Differences In Terms Of Wrinkles Collagen Hyaluronic Acid And Elastin

Some scientists make a distinction between internal (or biological) aging and external aging.

External aging of the skin

External aging is also called light aging of the skin and is mainly caused by the harmful effects of type A UV rays on the skin.

They destroy the cell from the inside, block its defense mechanisms, and lead to a disruption of the division process and cell death.

Scientists believe that the reasons for the destruction of free radical neutralization systems are a polluted environment, stress, and human diseases.

The simplest advice is to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and stress, breathe clean air and not to get sick.

Alas, the reality does not always allow us to follow this advice. However, we have the ability to mitigate the negative effects of all these factors with cosmetic products.

Internal aging of the skin

The internal aging of the skin is caused by a slowing down of the cell division process, which is characterized by a decrease in the skin's regeneration capacity.

At the same time, the upper layers of the epidermis are depleted, the moisture and fat content of the tissue decreases and the number of nourishing blood vessels in the skin decreases.

Three modes of skin aging

Female Hand With 3 Fingers Up Symbolizing Three Types Of Skin Aging

There are three modes of skin aging:

  • Collagen
  • Hyaluronic
  • Regenerating

Collagen pathway of skin aging

Drawing Of Collagen Fibers In Young Skin On Left Side And In Older Skin On Right Side Of Drawing

It is based on the principle of the accumulation of glued collagen threads.

In the form of mesh, collagen separates the epidermis from the deeper layers (dermis) and determines its mechanical resistance and elasticity.

Throughout the life of cells, these filaments are constantly being formed and destroyed.

These collagen fibers, in which changes have occurred for one reason or another, do not disintegrate under the action of the enzyme collagenase but accumulate in the intercellular space.

This is manifested by a decrease in the skin's elasticity, the appearance of wrinkles and the manifestation of pigmentation on the skin in the form of various spots.

The path of hyaluronic aging

Drawing Showing Skin Structure At 35 45 And 55 Years Of Age With Focus On Hyaluronic Acid Among Others

Hyaluronic acid is a complex bio-organic compound whose molecules are located in the intercellular space of the skin in the form of a water-stable gel.

Thanks to the gel, toxins are eliminated and various substances (including cosmetic components) are able to penetrate the skin.

With age, hyaluronic acid develops cross-links, making the helium molecule structures (forming part of the hyaluronic acid) less permeable and hindering metabolism, which is bad for the skin.

The hyaluronidase enzyme in the body, designed to destroy hyaluronic acid, gradually loses its effectiveness during the aging process and therefore needs external help.

Regeneration path of skin aging

Interactive Representation Of Female Face Partially Scanned With Dna Displayed Next To Symbolically Designed Display Of Skin Regeneration Slowing Down In Old Age

This mode of skin aging can be characterized by a decrease in the rate of cell division in the epidermis of the skin.

With age, somewhere after 36, especially with age restructuring, the amount of hormones produced in a woman's body decreases.

This leads to a decrease in the rate of skin cell division. And the rate of keratinization of the cells, depending on external factors, remains constant.

As a result, the number of keratin layers rises by 2 or 3 or even more. As a result, the skin becomes less elastic and wrinkles appear.

In some elderly people, the skin becomes drier, dead cells are shed and the skin peels.

To block this process, it is necessary to use regenerating creams and cream masks with bioactive additives that stimulate skin regeneration.

In addition, the cause of skin aging is hormonal levels, which refers to the internal signs of aging.

Hormonal changes cause a progressive stop of collagen production, elastin's destruction, blood circulation deterioration, and intercellular connections' weakening.

At the same time, facial features lose their clarity and oval contours.

The most active signs of skin aging occur in women during the menopause, when the level of estrogen in the body also decreases significantly.

The biological causes of skin aging

Drawing Depicting Four Stages Of Wrinkle Formation Young Skin 35 Years Old 45 Years Old And 55 Years Old

Some scientists argue that aging is a two-part process:

  • Acquired, and
  • Hereditary

There are many hypotheses about the biological causes of this process:

Error theory at the cellular level

By studying various diseases and their frequency of occurrence with age, scientists have hypothesized that aging results from the accumulation of errors at the cellular level.

According to this theory, external causes (ionizing radiation, toxic products, etc.) and internal causes (free radicals) cause errors in the genetic program.

These errors lead to a progressive disruption of cellular functions and even to the synthesis of abnormal proteins.

The progressive accumulation of these errors over time leads, as is assumed, to a gradual shutdown of the functions of the cell in particular and of the organism as a whole, causing aging and then death.

The theory of the biological clock

Drawing Of Human Head With Pink Brain Containing Four Different Round Clocks Symbolizing Theory Of Biological Clock

The biological clock theory is based on the fact that every living organism has a certain life span.

The internal clock of each person triggers a mechanism after a certain period that causes the aging of the entire body, which ultimately leads to death.

It is known that each biological species has a certain maximum life span. This suggests that the life span of the species is genetically programmed.

The hypothesis is in good agreement with the fact that the different cells that compose the tissues of the human body reproduce through cell division only a limited number of times.

This means that there is a biological limit to life.

Experiments conducted on cell cultures of different animal species have shown a maximum number of cell divisions.

With age, a person has lazy cells. Skin cells start to become sluggish, their division slows down, metabolic processes deteriorate or stop and, as a result, the skin becomes dull, uneven, and pigment spots and wrinkles gradually appear.

Today, retinol, a pure form of vitamin A, is the number one agent for normalizing cell function.

It not only stimulates the activity of the cells, but also normalizes their activity, preventing, for example, the excessive production of melanin and the lightening of age spots.

Some factors that accelerate the aging process of the skin

Photo Of Man With Young Face On Left Side And Aged Face With Wrinkling On Right Side Focus On Factors Contributing To Such Skin Aging

Here are the main factors that accelerate the aging process of the skin:

  • Changes in the state of blood vessels and blood microcirculation
  • Changes in the elastic properties of proteins
  • Lack of skin hydration
  • The extinction of metabolic processes due to a lack of hormones, enzymes, vitamins and minerals
  • Violation of the physiological cell regeneration
  • The formation of free radicals, under the influence of ultraviolet irradiation, unbalances the cells and disrupts all metabolic processes

What happens to the skin when it ages?

White Question Mark On Light Blue Background Issue What Happens To Skin As It Ages

The epidermis

In the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, the layer of functionally active cells thins and the stratum corneum thickens, which is made up of dead cells.

The time cycle of epidermal cell change increases to just over 40 days, while the normal cycle is just under 30 days.

The dead cells exfoliate more slowly, staying in their usual place, which causes them to peel off.

The dermis

Drawing Showing Structure Of Dermis With Elements Such As Elastin Hyaluronic Acid Fibroblasts And Collagen

The dermis, the middle layer of the skin, also thins.

As a result, injuries do not heal as quickly as in adolescence, and scars after injuries are more visible.

There is a quantitative and qualitative decrease in the activity of the cells that produce support proteins.

As a result, there is a change in the collagen fibers of the skin framework, which determines the skin's elasticity and the width and depth of wrinkles.

The amount of moisture that enters the skin through the vessels decreases. The production of one of the skin's main sources of moisture, hyaluronic acid, also decreases.

The moisture-saving barrier properties of the epidermis change. All this leads to dehydration, causing dryness.

Network of micro-depressions and (small) wrinkles

Drawing Of Female Face Left At Young Age Right At Older Age With Aging Skin And Many Small Wrinkles

If you look at the skin under a microscope, you can see a network of microscopic depressions, made up of small triangles that close up very easily.

As the skin ages, the network of micro-depressions disappears and is gradually replaced by small wrinkles.

These small wrinkles are initially shallow, running in one direction, parallel to each other. Then they gradually deepen and form real wrinkles.

Later, other stripes appear, perpendicular to the primary wrinkles, which gives the impression that the skin has been painted in a cell. Subsequently, the wrinkles expand and absorb these scratches.

As a result, slugs of loose tissue form on aged skin on the network of deep wrinkles.

Two types of wrinkles

Wrinkles are the most significant sign of skin aging.

Mimic wrinkles

First, mimic wrinkles appear, caused by constant muscle contraction and characteristic facial expressions.

Those who like to laugh over the years acquire rays of wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.

Because they are constantly squinting, nearsighted people have wrinkles around the eyes and a crease between the eyebrows.

And those with a dark, disappointed expression look older because of the drooping corners of the lips and the frowning eyebrows.

Age-related wrinkles

Closeup Photo Of Age-Related Wrinkles On Human Skin

The second type of wrinkles is age-related, resulting from the loss of collagen.

The first wrinkles generally appear between the eyebrows, between 20 and 32.

Then, crow's feet appear around the eyes (this occurs between 26 and 37).

Around the age of 40, deeper wrinkles begin to disperse at the corners of the eyes and age spots may appear.

After the age of 40, aging covers the lower face. Wrinkles appear at the corners of the mouth, a double chin forms, the skin on the neck sags, etc.

And, as a general rule, the oval of the face loses its clear contours between the ages of 50 and 65.

Lifestyle factors and the use of cosmetic products not adapted to the skin type contribute to the appearance of wrinkles.

After the age of 40, the skin becomes very dehydrated, harder, wrinkles form on it, and flaccidity, sagging and discoloration appear.

There is a progressive thinning, and the skin can no longer recover as quickly as before. If it becomes slightly injured, minor wounds take longer to heal.

Factors that cause the destruction of the lipid membrane

Drawing Of Normal Cell Left Damaged By Various Influences And Free Radicals In The Center And Eventually Becoming A Dead Cell With Oxidative Stress On The Right Also Applicable To Skin Cells

With age, the skin becomes particularly sensitive to factors that cause the destruction of the lipidic membrane because its recovery is slowed down.

The hydrolipidic barrier's weakening leads to increased water evaporation through the stratum corneum.

At the same time, a progressive dehydration of the skin occurs due to a decrease in the synthesis of moisture-saving substances and a decrease in the intensity of blood flow in the vessels of the dermis.


Closeup Picture Of Epidermis Of Woman Very Dry With Visible Flakes And Dehydrated Folds

Dehydration is one of the main problems of skin aging.

Particular attention must be paid to protecting the skin's lipidic barrier against external aggressions.

The secretion of protective sebum is also reduced, which leads to increased dryness of the skin and an increase in the number and depth of wrinkles.

The skin's aging process begins to intensify after the age of 50.

But above all, age affects the skin of the neck, especially in women. For men, this is much less noticeable.

And the reason for the difference lies not so much in the more delicate and finer structure of the tissue, but in the lack of power load on that part of the body.

For your neck to resist aging, it must be strong. And even expensive cosmetics and daily massages won't save your skin from wrinkles.

The skin of the neck needs care (only use natural skin care products!) and attention as it dries and ages under the sun and suffers from wind and frost.

Nervous overload and an unbalanced diet

A huge impact on the skin's condition at this age is exerted by nervous overload, unbalanced diet, bad habits and dysfunction of the internal organs.

Therefore, it is necessary to pay more attention to a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and optimal physical activity.

Skin aging process: Conclusion

Comparative Drawing Between Young Skin On The Left And Older Skin On The Right With More Wrinkles And Different Skin Structure In Dermis In Terms Of Collagen Fibroblast Hyaluronic Acid And Elastic Fiber

Age-related skin changes are a manifestation of the general biological aging process and are subject to the laws of basic aging, also known as gerontology.

Unfortunately, at the current stage of medical development, we cannot prevent the aging of the body.

However, it is possible to resist the development of age-related cosmetic skin defects and correcting those already developed is quite realistic.

Related posts:

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More