The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects us against micro-organisms and other harmful influences such as sunlight. The skin also regulates our body temperature and harbours our sense of touch and the sensations of warmth and cold.
The skin consist of three layers; the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. The epidermis is the top layer and functions as a barrier and is part of the immune system. This layer also contains melanine which gives the skin our skin color.
The dermis is the mid layer and contains collagen for firmness and elastin for suppleness. This layer also contains nerves and bloodvessels and produces oil (sebum) and sweat. The hypodermis is the lower layer and functions as a 'cushen'; it protects the underlying bones, muscles and organs and is important for body temperature.
The skin is also our most visible organ; the signs of aging tend to show. Just like aging in the body, skin aging increases from the age of thirty. The skin becomes thinner, contains less fat, looses it elasticity and firmness. Fine lines, wrinkles and folds will appear, but you can also see irregularities, color changes and age spots. The skin becomes flabby and gradually begins to sag. Bloodcirculation in the skin starts to decrease and skin recovery is slowing down. Less oil (sebum) is produced which makes the skin dry.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight (uv-light), smoking and stress are important factors in (accelerated) skin aging.
Furthermore, there is another proces that leads to accelerated skin aging, this is called glycation. Glycation is a proces in which sugarmolecules such as glucose and fructose bind to proteins in the body but also in the skin. Collagen and elastin are proteins to. Because of glycation collagen and elastin will become more rigid (stiffer) and loose elasticity. As a result the skin also becomes stiffer, will have more irregularities and will age faster. Other functions of the skin will also deteriorate faster such as the barrier function as well as the moisturizing of the skin. Additionally glycation can activate inflammatory reactions which could cause acne, eczema or rosacea. The intake of too much sugar can fasten the aging process of your body as well as your skin.
How can you keep your skin healthy and prevent rapid aging?