signs of skin aging
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Wrinkles, altered pigmentation, loss of skin tone…we associate these changes with skin aging. A proactive approach to managing skin aging triggers can keep skin smoother, firmer and healthier – for longer.
Age-related skin changes are the result of genetically-programmed changes (intrinsic factors) and environmental wear-and-tear on the skin (extrinsic factors). While both influence the skin’s structure and function, extrinsic factors cause more pronounced changes.
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Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are dangerous forms of oxygen molecules generated by UV rays and pollution. They attack and react with stable molecules within skin cells, causing irreversible damage to the cell, triggering wrinkles and lessening skin’s natural ability to repair itself. They form as a natural by- product of the normal metabolism of oxygen.
During times of environmental stress, ROS levels can increase dramatically, causing significant damage to cell structures. This is known as oxidative stress, which is the major cause of degenerative disorders including aging and disease. Studies have shown that UV-induced damage to the skin is in part caused by Reactive Oxygen Species. Lipid peroxidation also results from ROS damage to cell membranes, leading to premature aging, skin cancer and cell death.
Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes activated by UV exposure or inflammation. They contribute to the breakdown of existing collagen while inhibiting the formation of new collagen.
The formation of MMPs may be stimulated by internal growth factors and inflammatory modulators, as well as exposure to UV radiation. Within hours of UV exposure, the MMP genes are activated, resulting in the biosynthesis of collagenase and other MMPs. Because collagenase degrades existing collagen and inhibits the formation of new collagen, long-term elevation results in disorganization and clumping of skin cells – key characteristics of photoaged skin.
Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) The same glucose that provides energy for our cells can react with proteins (such as collagen), resulting in the formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), which lead to wrinkles, inflammation, inhibited skin cell growth and accelerated aging. Why is this so important? Because we now know that inflammation is the catalyst critical to the aging process and many diseases. For example, diabetics have characteristically high levels of sugar in their blood and suffer from numerous health issues (including cataracts, atherosclerosis, etc.), which emanate from the formation of AGEs in the body. This is not restricted to diabetes; muscle weakness, heart disease and many diseases of the brain are associated with glycation. Scientists now believe that reducing glycation is a means of slowing the aging process and disease formation.