Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It serves to shield your vital organs and systems from the elements; regulate body temperature; provide protection from disease-causing microbesand allows you to enjoy the benefits and pleasure of the sense of touch.
Although we could not function without the many uses and benefits of the skin, we are generally much more concerned about the skin’s role in our outward appearance – how it looks and how it feels.
Changes in the skin such as wrinkling, sagging and discoloration are among thefirst and most visible signs of aging.
As we age, the epidermis, or outermost layer of our skin, begins to thin. As the collagen (connective fibers) in the skin losesits strength and elasticity, it begins to sag, dimple and crease.
Melanocytes are cells that contain melanin. Melanin produces colour, or pigmentation in the skin. While the number of melanocytes decrease with age, the pigmented cells that remain increase in size resulting in large pigmented spotsthat are commonly referred to as age spots. Age spots appear in the regions of the skin that have had the greatest amount of exposure to the sun.
Exposure to sunlight is the greatest single factor in the aging of the skin.
a. Sun Damage
Overexposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays speeds up the aging process in your skin. This can result in wrinkling, skin discoloration, sunspots and other enduring injuries.
b. Dry Skin
Cold, dry weather, steamy showers and harsh soaps destroy the moisture barrier in your skin resulting in dry, itchy, flaky skin. Overall health, age and genetics also factor intothe potential causes of dry skin.
A scar is a denseregion of fibrous tissue that has grownaround the site of a previous injury. Age, ethnicity, genetics and the nature of the injury are all likely to influence scar formation.
d. Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are a form of scarring. They are caused by the tearing of the dermis during periods of distention (stretching) of the skin. The dermis is the layer of skin just beneath the epidermis (outer layer of skin).
e. Ingrown Hairs
An ingrown hair occurs when a hair grows sideways or curls back, re-enters the skin and gets trapped beneath the surface.
f. Fine Line and Wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles are caused by smoking, sun damage, and dehydration. They also occur as a natural part of the aging process.
Rosacea is a pattern of redness on a person’s face caused by the expansion of blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface. Symptoms include a flushed red face along with sensitive, dry, course skin in affected areas. The cause of rosacea remains unknown.
A blemish is a small,discoloured mark or outgrowth in the skin. Common types of blemishes include acne, pimples, age spots and uneven skin tone.
Pigmentation is the colouring of the skin due to an increase in the production of melanin. Sunlight, genetics and hormonal imbalances can intensify the appearance of pigmentation.
Sensitive skin is prone to flare up when exposed to irritants such as cigarette smoke, dirt, pollution, dry environments, air conditioning, hard water, chlorine, dyes, perfume, skin care products, soaps and detergents. Other conditions that affect sensitive skin are diet, dehydration, stress andpoor sleeping habits.
k. Redness (Erythema)
Erythema, or superficial reddening of the skin is caused by the dilation of capillaries in the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). This reddening of the skin is typically caused by an injury or irritation to the skin.
Cellulite is persistent subcutaneous fat deposits that cause dimpling of the skin. Those fat deposits are an accumulation of distorted fat cells, toxins and fluids that are trapped within a web of hardened connective tissue.
m. Age Spots
Age spots (liver spots, sunspots) are caused by photo-damage caused by repeated exposure to the sun. They appear in regions of the skin that have had the greatest exposure to the sun.
n. Unsightly and/or Overabundance of Hair
When the female body produces an overabundance of male hormones, the result is often unwanted hair growth, which is commonlyconsidered unattractive.