Have you ever looked at old photos of your mom or grandmother? It usually starts like this: you’re surprised by what they used to look like — yes they were young once. Then you start wondering what you’d look like in the future.
When we think of aging we often fixate more on fine lines and wrinkles. But you may have noticed from your photo journey back in time that there’s one aspect of aging that dramatically changes facial features — skin sagging.
So what’s happening under our skin that will cause our jawlines, browlines and eye bags to succumb to gravity?
Skin elasticity starts to weaken
Sagging happens because of the skin’s inability to snap back to its original form. There are two important proteins that form the support structure of skin: collagen and elastin. Regeneration of collagen and elastin starts to slow down as we age. Eventually, collagen also becomes brittle when attacked by advanced glycation end (AGEs) products, which result from excess sugar consumption. Think of an old mattress with broken springs or foam that has disintegrated, causing it to sink permanently.
Skin defense is down when it’s dehydrated
Lipids form the moisture barrier in your skin that protects you from UV rays and toxins, and gives skin its plump appearance. As we age, lipid production also slows down, thinning the skin and weakening its ability to protect itself.
Skin produces less oil
This is great news if you have oily skin! When oil production slows down, you can bid acne farewell at this point, except… natural oils are important for maintaining the skin’s moisture. Without it, your skin will dry out, dry patches will start to appear and wrinkles are more obvious.
But… you can strengthen skin
While we can’t keep our youthful good looks forever, we can delay the effects of aging. Avoid too much exposure to UV rays, which can damage collagen and elastin, and include skincare with retinols and collagen boosters to strengthen the foundational layers below to help skin maintain its soft youthful facade.