The image of a very old person holding an infant demonstrates perfectly how the passage of time impacts us all. This image shows how, as someone once said, “The arrow of time points in one direction.” One way that trajectory is shown is in how the skin of a very old person differs from that of an infant. Our skin undergoes many changes as we transition from the nearly flawless skin of an infant to that of an elderly person. Here are some of the ways those changes manifest themselves along the way.
- Infancy – The softest, most supple skin we will ever have in our lives is when we are babies. This is because babies are fresh from the womb where their skin has not yet been exposed to friction, damage or the environment. Scientists also believe that a special substance that acts as a moisturizer, wound healer and antiseptic – vernix – is produced in the womb of expectant mothers.
- Teens – 20s – By the time we reach our teens, hormone levels begin to rise as our bodies change. This causes several bodily reactions including oilier skin and, believe it or not, the beginning of skin aging. At this point, it is helpful to use a facial scrub to exfoliate the skin so that it does not become too oily. By the time we reach our twenties, our skin remains relatively resilient and healthy. (This is only if we take care of our skin, eat right and minimize sun exposure.)
- The 30s – By this decade, we usually begin to show the first real signs of skin aging as the skin’s natural process of exfoliation slows down and collagen and elastin fibers decrease.
- The 40s – By this decade, skin imperfections begin to increase as freckles, age spots, and discoloration begin to occur. It is at this point that many dermatologists suggest adding lightening products to your skincare routine such as brightening serums.
- The 50s – By this decade, significant signs of skin aging occur that are mainly the result of hormonal changes. These changes include pigmentary changes, skin loosening, etc. During this stage in life firming serums are helpful in treating some of these conditions.
- 60+ – The most dramatic changes to skin occur during these later stages of life including wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin etc. At this stage, estrogen is no longer produced and there is also a corresponding loss of skin moisture. The good news is that if you care for your skin at the earlier stages of life, you can control these manifestations of aging to a certain degree.
Finally, skincare is a constant battle against time, the elements and to some extent heredity. We’ve shown how one of those elements – time – mounts its attack on smooth, supple skin. Yet, we also know that these effects can be significantly controlled with certain skin products for aging skin.