Regardless of your genes, skin ageing happens to the best of us. Skin ageing is caused by a mix of both internal and external factors including our genes and lifestyle habits such as diet, sleep, smoking, sun exposure and how we take care of our skin.
There has always been a debate about just how much of skin ageing is caused by nature (genetics) or nurture (environmental factors) and Olay’s recent research with over 155,000 participants found that what you do to take care of your skin plays more of a role than genetics when it comes to successful skin ageing. Olay researchers learned that women who looked exceptionally young for their age had mostly lifestyle choices to thank, with daily SPF protection being the number one way to help prevent signs of pre-mature skin ageing.
What are the signs of skin ageing?
- Visible pores
- Uneven skin tone
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin texture
- Loss of radiance
- Loss of firmness
So what is skin ageing and how does it actually happen?
The intrinsic ageing process (also called chronological ageing) is as inevitable as the passing of time and has a knock-on effect on skin’s look and feel, despite preventative steps to defy the ageing process from showing.
The first signs of skin ageing we start to see are on the skin's surface and may appear as a result of deeper, invisible changes within. These initial signs can show as dark circles under the eyes, fine lines and wrinkles and a loss of skin radiance and smoothness.
As we age further, skin’s energy metabolism and ability to renew slow down, while key building blocks such as elastin and collagen become damaged and aren’t produced at the same rates as in younger skin. As a result, skin loses elasticity and fine lines and wrinkles deepen, with skin also appearing duller. Dark spots and uneven pigmentation are a further sign of aging skin which is why they are often called ‘age spots’.
Mature skin’s barrier function weakens resulting in a higher sensitivity to external stressors and dryer skin which needs regular moisturising. An additional effect of ageing on skin is reduced blood circulation which can cause a loss of rosy colour in the skin, making it look paler.
Muscles within the face lose elasticity too causing a loss in volume while prior to this, repetitive movements cause lines and wrinkles to show on the surface of the skin. As we reach our forties, fat tissue from around the eyes and cheeks moves downwards to the neck and jaw area and contributes to a change in facial shape and sagging.
Skin ageing factors
Whilst ageing is a part of life, we can absolutely take steps to hold off years by looking after our skin and helping protect it from environmental factors which contribute to the extrinsic ageing process, to help ensure it looks younger for longer.
- Sun exposure:
Olay’s latest research reveals that it is external factors including UV exposure that are more important than genetics when it comes to skin ageing1. It is estimated that 80% of the visible signs of ageing are caused by exposure to UV rays3. Despite common misconceptions, there is no such thing as a healthy tan, bronzed skin is a sign that the sun’s ultraviolet rays have damaged the skin and the majority of wrinkles are caused by sun exposure. However, it isn’t too late to start looking after your skin by ensuring you wear a daily face cream with at least an SPF15 and broadspectrum UVA and UVB protection all year round. UV radiation damages accumulates over time and acts as a trigger for other visible signs of skin ageing. Olay Total Effects SPF30 with VitaNiacin Complex, fights seven signs of ageing and helps to improve the skin’s all-important moisture barrier.
Pollution can exacerbate the skin ageing process and research has indicated that the effects of fumes can cause premature wrinkles and age spots to appear. Keeping your skin’s protective barrier properties strong offers an effective first line of defence against pollution. Olay Total Effects with VitaNiacin Complex enhances skin’s own natural self-renewal process and helps to shield skin from environmental stressors via UVR and Anti-Oxidant protection.
Smoking accelerates the skin ageing process, causing wrinkled skin and premature signs of ageing. Wrinkles are usually significantly deeper and more pronounced than in non-smokers and smoke causes the skin to be an unhealthy colour and texture. For healthy skin and overall wellness, it is strongly advised not to smoke.
- Facial expressions:
Key areas where premature signs of ageing can occur from facial expressions include the eye area, forehead and between the eyebrows and are caused by smiling, frowning and squinting. Whilst these are to an extent unavoidable, and we certainly wouldn’t want you to stop smiling - there are things you can do. These include wearing glasses / sunglasses to prevent squinting and adopting a more positive attitude may help you to frown less!
- Your sleep position:
Even those with the softest pillows in the world are susceptible to temporary wrinkles caused by their sleep position. Anyone who sleeps on their side or front is putting unnecessary pressure on the face during the night. Whilst this ‘pillow face’ effect fades shortly after you wake up, the repeated stress on your skin can cause these temporary lines on the face, particularly the chin, cheek and forehead area, to turn into permanent wrinkles. Sleep on your back to avoid sleep lines and ensure you have a good night time skincare routine, Olay recommends Olay Regenerist 3 Point Age-Defying Night Cream
- Weight changes:
If you gain or lose significant weight, your skin has to stretch to accommodate and when weight fluctuates widely, skin’s elastic structure can become damaged and doesn’t spring back as it may have done when you were younger. As we age, our skin naturally loses its youthful elastic structure so stretched skin from weight change can contribute significantly to visible signs of skin ageing.
Wrinkles and other signs of ageing are influenced by a person’s behaviours and habits during their lifetime. From sun exposure, smoking and sleep to your diet and facial expressions, there are a multitude of factors which affect the skin’s ageing process and which you have control over to keep your skin looking younger for longer.
Whilst we can’t fight ageing, we can look after our skin to keep it looking younger and healthier. Wear a facial moisturiser with at least an SPF15 during the day, avoid sunbathing and tanning and ensure a good night time skincare routine, Olay recommends Olay Total Effects Anti-Ageing 7in1 Night Firming Moisturiser 50 mlNightly.
1 AAD 2017, Poster #5530: Genetic and Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Youthful Facial Appearance. R Osborne, J Tiesman, F Neuser, M Tamura, W Safi, MH McIntyre, SS Shringarpure, IB Hallgrímsdóttir
3 “Photo-ageing / Photodamage as a Public Health Concern” American Academy of Dermatology Consensus Conference, March 3-4, 1988