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What happens to skin when it ages?

aging-skinA baby’s skin is so much smoother and softer than our own. There are a few reasons why baby’s skins are so soft. The dermis layer of a baby’s skin is about 20 to 30 percent thinner than that of an adult’s skin. The babies skin is thus less adaptable and in need of more sheltering. Unlike adults that are able to regulate their bodies’ temperatures, babies take in and loose water much more quickly than we do and because they sweat allot less they are not able to regulate their body temperature. Baby’s skin are also more prone to get irritated and to get rashes because of the softness.

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The older the child gets the less sensitive the skin becomes. Once adolescence is reached, the hormones set in and cause acne. Thereafter adulthood steps in.

There are two ways in which our skin ages as we grow older: instinsic and extrinsic. Natural ageing due to our genes is called instinsic. The rate at which the epidermis produces new skin cells become less and less and the skin cell layer decreases from a wall of 20 cells deep to one of only 2 skin cells deep. As we age our skin becomes thinner and looser because the proteins in our skin that gives it firmness and elasticity ease up. Our bodies produce less collagen and the elastin in our skin loses some of its strength.

External factors are called extrinsic and they are things such as smoking. Because the nicotine in cigarettes constricts the blood vessels to the skin, it results in fewer vitamins and less oxygen getting where they need to be. The other chemicals that are in a cigarette break down the collagen end the elastin as well. The other factor in extrinsic ageing is exposure to the sun.

We all get wrinkles over time, and even though our genes play a big role in how your skin ages, it helps that you look after your skin. It is very likely that if you are a smoker or an avid tanner you will have more wrinkles that someone who does not smoke or sunbathe.

So even though wrinkles, pigmentation and the changes in skin texture are all part of instinsic ageing, it will be made worse if you soak up too much UV rays. You might find that even though two people are the same age their skin can make them look decades apart. Age spots, also known as liver spots are common on older skin and are caused by too much sun exposure to that particular area where the spots appear. So remember the less sun the less age spots you will get.

Even if you are in your twenties and your skin can bounce back quickly from a sun burn, it does not mean that you should not use sun screen. It could take years before you could see the damage that was done to your skin by too much sun.