A Decade-by-Decade Glance at Skin Aging

October 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Skin Care

Thirties

In the third decade of life, we start to see the first signs that we have truly left our childhood years behind. That’s when cer­tain effects start showing up more, like puffiness under the eyes. Granted, some people have a genetic tendency toward puffiness, but more often than not, it’s a sign of aging. Mean­while, there might be some excess skin on the eyelid and the eyebrow starts to droop a bit. There might be a little fat accu­mulation in the neck, and the skin might lose a bit of its youthful radiance. Expression lines are just starting to appear around the eyes and mouth and in the forehead.

Luckily, you can slow it all down by protecting yourself from further bombardment by the sun. This is also a good time to incorporate an anti-aging product, like retinol, into your regime to boost your collagen reserves.

Forties

The picture starts to get more dire in the forties. Expect to see further loss of elasticity in the skin. A loss of collagen and fat will cause the cheeks to start heading south. The nasolabial folds—the smile lines—will also become more prominent. Any areas that experience a lot of movement, such as the eyes, will start to exhibit more wrinkling. The corners of the mouth will turn down, as if you were frowning. This is also when those annoying age spots start to deepen in color.

Decreasing levels of estrogen—estrogen dips before, dur­ing, and after menopause—are starting to make your skin drier than ever. On the upside, you might have less acne.

Fifties and Beyond

In the decade of the fifties, the changes that I’ve mentioned earlier become even more magnified. Again, loss of collagen and fat makes the face sag, and even the bony structure of the face starts to go. If you think of your skin as a sofa, the colla­gen within it can be compared to the cushy filling: as the fill­ing decreases, the “sofa” deflates and sags. At this point, a face-lift would do a nice job of redraping all of this loose skin, but it can’t replace the fullness that has been lost.

It might be disheartening to realize how everything seems to disintegrate as we age, but that shouldn’t be how aging is per­ceived. The information that is available to us today is a valu­able antiaging tool, allowing us to view the full picture and adjust accordingly.

It’s been said enough to qualify as a cliche, but today, age truly is just a number. What that number actually looks like in the mirror is in your control.

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