Aging is an inevitable process that all living beings go through. Aging is a journey and like any other journey, it has its twists and turns. As we age or grow older, our body undergoes many changes. These changes show up externally as well as internally—one of the parts that is significantly affected by aging. There are different types of aging and photoaging is a kind with a myriad of factors causing it. Let’s explore the different types of aging and the various factors that affect photoaging.
TYPES OF AGING
Let’s look at the types of aging.
This type of aging is programmed in our genes. Intrinsic aging is the chronological aging or the natural aging process. With age, our skin becomes thinner, loses elasticity, and produces less oil. Collagen and elastin, are the important proteins that keep our skin flexible and plump. These proteins start declining gradually as we age. These lead to saggy skin and wrinkles, however, it’s natural!
This is the type where external factors lend a hand in the process of aging. These are unexpected detours in the process of aging. Extrinsic aging is most commonly referred to as photoaging. It is mainly caused by prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays and environmental pollutants. Photoaging is one of the significant aspects of aging. Let’s learn about photoaging.
WHAT IS PHOTOAGING?
Photoaging is a major part of extrinsic aging. It’s a sneaky process of aging when the skin is exposed too much to the sun. It specifically indicates the aging of the skin due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Several changes occur to the skin due to photoaging. These include – fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, leathery texture, and uneven skin tone. Collagen and elastin are crucial components that maintain the skin’s appearance. When UV rays penetrate the skin, they damage the skin structure by breaking down collagen and elastin. Prolonged UV radiation also triggers the production of excess free radicals which further damages the skin cells.
FACTORS AFFECTING PHOTOAGING
Let’s understand a couple of factors that can affect photoaging.
The sun emits UV rays and prolonged exposure to them can cause photoaging. These UV rays can break down our skin’s building blocks – elastin and collagen. When they start to break down, the skin starts losing its firmness and elasticity. This causes skin to get saggy and develop wrinkles.
A poor diet that lacks essential nutrients and minerals can impact your skin health negatively. Excessive sugar and processed food consumption can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to photoaging. Adopt a diet which is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for a healthier skin.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs; it isn’t friendly to your skin either. Smoking introduces harmful chemicals to your body that impair the blood’s flow and reduce oxygen supply to your skin. This breaks down the collagen and elastin and can lead to premature wrinkles and saggy skin.
Chronic stress can release hormones that can disrupt collagen and elastin present in the skin. Stress can also affect the natural repair process of the skin speeding up aging.
POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
These are the invisible forces that can damage your skin. Exposure to pollutants and allergens in the air can accelerate the aging process. These pollutants contain free radicals that can break down the collagen and damage the skin.
It’s the lack of attention to your skin. Neglecting your skincare routine – Not moisturizing and cleansing regularly can worsen the aging effects on your skin. Moisturizing, cleansing, and sunscreen can reduce the effects of photoaging.
Tanning beds may look like an easy way out to get a sun-tapped glow, but they lead to speeding up aging. They emit UV light that can lead to photoaging. It’s advisable to avoid the tanning beds.
To sum up, aging is a blend of internal and external factors. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and develop a good skincare routine to reduce the effects of aging.