Skin and the Ageing Process

Time takes its toll. As the years go by, our skin undergoes several biochemical changes. For one, epidermal cells don’t slough off as easily, and the supportive fibres of collagen and elastin in the dermis break down. The deterioration of collagen and elastin and the pull of gravity can result in some of the classic signs of skin ageing: fine lines around the eyes, deepened expression lines at the corners of the mouth and across the forehead, and sagging skin. The nails usually become more brittle, and hair may begin to thin and turn grey from decreased pigment production.

Age-related bone loss in the skull also affects your appearance. Many people develop smile lines, which run from each side of the nose to the corner of the mouth. These lines are not merely a result of drooping skin; they’re actually due to underlying changes in facial fat pads. The same is true for marionette lines, which run from the corners of the mouth to the chin. Ironically, though we gain fat everywhere, the face seems to lose fat pads leading to ‘sagging skin’.

Skin changes in many more ways than just fine lines and wrinkles. With ageing, skin doesn’t retain as much moisture as it once did and hence aged skin looks coarser. Its ability to fight infection, feel sensations, and regulate body temperature also diminishes. A part of the ageing process is genetic. The breakdown of collagen and elastin that leads to droopy, lax skin occurs at different rates in different people.

April 3, 2023

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