Yesterday I posted the first part of our series, sharing with you how Shaklee is Changing the Face of Skincare™. I also shared the Normal Function of Healthy, Young Skin. If you missed that post, I highly recommend reading over it as I shared a lot of beneficial information to help you truly learn what skin SHOULD be like.
Today we are going to learn about the challenges in our skin’s health as well as how we can actually accelerate the aging process without even realizing what we’re doing!
Challenges to Skin’s Health & Appearance
Our skin ages in two ways: through the accumulated physical changes normally associated with the passage of time (chronological aging), and through the accumulated damage caused by exposure to environmental pollutants and UV radiation (accelerated aging):
To prove this to yourself, take a look at the skin on some part of your body that rarely sees the light of day. Compared to your face or hands, skin that hasn’t been exposed to the elements will remain clear and rosy, smooth and unwrinkled, soft and resilient. The dry, wrinkled and papery or the deeply wrinkled, discolored and leathery look is the result of accelerated aging.
Decade by decade, our skin records the passage of time:
20 TO 30
Skin changes and damage may begin to accumulate, but don’t show yet. Your twenties could be considered “the age of prevention,” when most skin care issues start with lack of care. Forgetting to wash your face before bed can lead to clogged pores, whiteheads and blackheads. Squinting in the sun and not using moisturizers can contribute to fine dry lines around the eyes. Too little sleep, too much alcohol, and smoking can dull skin. Getting a serious sunburn now can set the stage for skin cancers of all types, including melanoma.
30 TO 40
The decade of laugh lines, crow’s feet, and the beginning of a double-chin. The underlying factor is the gradual breaking down of skin-firming collagen and elastin. As a result, skin becomes less elastic and begins to lose its firm, supple texture. The sebaceous glands usually become less active and produce less sebum. Poorly lubricated skin may not retain moisture as efficiently, so our skin may become more dry. Cell turnover rate is slowing; dead cells on the skin’s surface begin to dull the complexion. Even in your 30’s, brown spots and uneven color blotches can appear on your skin.
40 TO 50
By 50, cell turnover takes twice as long as it did at age 20. As old skin cells stay on the surface longer, they mask natural skin color and radiance, looking dull and dry and accentuating the bags, sags, lines and wrinkles created by underlying loss of collagen and elastin. This loss of underlying structure also contributes to thinning of the epidermis, which can cause skin to look crepey or papery, and lead to drooping eyelids or neck wattles. Pigmentation in surface skin levels becomes uneven, creating shadows, blotches, dark circles under eyes, and age spots on the face and the back of hands.
50 TO 60
Your face is now mature. The fat padding beneath the skin has diminished so your face shows more of its angles and hollows. As muscle fibers weaken, the fat that remains under the eyes forms bags. Facial bones begin to shrink, causing all-around sagging. Oil production decreases after menopause, resulting in significant dryness. As cell turnover rate continues to slow, skin becomes thinner and more prone to wrinkling and drooping. Years of sun exposure or hormonal changes may lead to patchiness or unevenness in skin tone.
Poor circulation — a common problem at this stage of life — can help rob your skin of its rosy glow. Increasingly thinner and drier skin is also more vulnerable to environmental stressors and can become more sensitive and more prone to irritation.
- Epidermis thins
- Cell turnover slows
- Moisture retention decreases
- Loss of pigmentation creates age spots
- Reduction in collagen creates bags and sags
- Iron in tap water creates surface damage
- Free radicals impair cell integrity
- Enzymes triggered by free radicals break down collagen
- Sun-damaged cells can initiate pre-cancerous changes in cells
Ultraviolet rays are the element of sunlight that most seriously affect the skin and can even cause permanent damage. When UVA radiation reaches the skin, it penetrates the epidermis, disrupting and damaging the underlying dermal collagen and elastin structure which support the youthful firmness and elasticity of skin. This damage causes a photoaging effect on the skin’s surface texture and appearance, contributing to premature wrinkling. UVB rays don’t penetrate as deeply, but they are the cause of sunburn and are now believed to be a major contributing factor in solar- induced skin cancer.
The earth’s stratospheric ozone layer limits the amount of UV radiation that reaches us. Recently, however, scientists warn that the earth’s protective ozone layer is being depleted, allowing higher levels of UV radiation to reach the earth’s surface…and your skin. The annual average amount of UVB radiation has been steadily increasing by 3 to 5% per decade…and it is estimated that each 1% increase in UV could mean a 2% increase in skin cancer.
These statistics partly reflect the fact that we enjoy suntanning. However, studies show that most sun exposure takes place during such ordinary activities as walking to your car. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can still cause damage.
What’s more, we don’t have to be standing in the sun for UV radiation to reach our skin. Ambient UVA light even reaches us indoors. It shines through glass or plastic windows and skylights. It’s reflected inside our homes, offices, and public buildings. Computer screens, halogen, and fluorescent lights emit low levels of UVA radiation, adding to our cumulative UVA exposure day after day, year after year.
FREE RADICAL DAMAGE
When oxygen molecules lose one or more electrons they become unstable particles known as free radicals. Once one free radical is created, it seeks to restore molecular balance by taking an electron from another molecule, creating a new free radical in the process. As each newly generated free radical looks for a replacement electron, a chain reaction is triggered, creating many different forms of free radicals that each possess different skin-damaging potential.
Modern life has increased our exposure to free radicals to an incredible degree. For example, if you are standing on a street corner when a bus or truck billowing fumes goes by, you may be exposed to more exhaust pollutants in that single moment than your grandparents were in their entire lifetimes. Airplanes also churn out engine exhaust. Industrial and agricultural pollutants are carried on every breeze; materials inside buildings emit chemical fumes. Tobacco smoke is everywhere. Even the tap water you use to wash your face can trigger damaging free radical reactions when it touches your skin.
In the skin, free radical damage can weaken and destroy the fibroblasts that help provide structure to the skin, and can impair the ability of skin cells to perform basic functions as well as interfere with their natural immune system. Free radicals also stimulate the production of enzymes which destroy skin collagen. The extremely damaging hydroxyl radical is generated when the iron in tap water reacts with hydrogen peroxide naturally found in skin tissues.
If this chain of damaging oxidation isn’t broken, it can significantly compromise the integrity of your living cells, attacking and damaging not only the existing cell and its functions, but even damaging the genetic material that are responsible for the production of future cells.
Did you realize that the environment can cause that much damage to your skin?! I had NO CLUE! I’m excited to share how to help the health & appearance of your skin this weekend!
Check back in a few days for Part 3 of the Vitamins for your Skin Series!
Pt. 3: Optimizing Skin’s Health & Appearance: “Skin care research suggests that even how our skin behaves — acting more oily or more dry, for example — may stem more from what we’re DOING to our skin than from its internal programming.”
Pt 4: How does the Enfuselle Skin Care System Work? & Ingredients You Won’t Find in Enfuselle Products: “Many skin care products on the market today claim to nourish and protect the skin with one or more antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, these ingredients only address certain parts of the complex equation of free radical damage on the surface of the skin. What’s more, these ingredients may be present at very low levels or in forms which may not be absorbed and utilized by your skin.”
Click here for your FREE membership & Enfuselle Skin Care Kit