At the D.Thomas Clinic, we believe in celebrating the natural ageing process and empowering everyone to embrace their unique beauty at every stage.
The skin’s life cycle and how it changes as we age
Our focus is on maintaining the health and strength of the skin, rather than trying to turn back the clock. That’s why we choose to use the terms ‘age management’ or ‘skin health’ instead of the limiting label ‘anti-ageing’. Every skin type and age is beautiful and deserving of the best care. That’s why we prioritise age management – it’s all about keeping your skin in the best condition possible as you navigate the natural journey of ageing.
As we age, our skin undergoes changes that can affect its natural life cycle. In a middle-aged adult, new cells in the epidermis typically take about 28 days to rise to the surface and replace dead skin. However, as we age, the skin’s cycle slows down and it can take anywhere from 45-90 days for new cells to reach the surface.
Unfortunately, external factors such as stress, hormones, and skin conditions can also impact this cycle, making it even harder for our skin to regenerate at its natural pace.
What are the main changes your skin makes as you age?
- Pigmentation issues such as sun spots, age spots, and liver spots may become more visible due to damage rising to the surface of the skin.
- The epidermis, or outer layer of skin, tends to thin with age, increasing the risk of injury.
- Elasticity and skin strength may decrease, particularly in areas exposed to sun damage.
- Blood vessels in the skin may become more fragile, leading to vascular abnormalities like cherry angiomas.
- As we age, the sebaceous glands produce less oil, causing the skin to become dry and dehydrated. This process may be exacerbated in women during menopause.
- The skin’s regeneration cycle slows, and it takes longer for the skin to repair itself. This is due to a decrease in collagen and elastin production and a reduction in the metabolic activity of the skin.
What can speed up the skin’s ageing process?
UV light, or photoageing as it’s more formally known, causes DNA changes to the skin at a cellular level. The damage may take years to surface and become visible, as it occurs in the deepest layers of the skin, lurking deep within the dermis.
Blue light and infrared light
High-energy visible (HEV) light, also known as blue light, and infrared light, can penetrate deeper into the skin than UV rays, increasing the number of free radicals within the skin and slowing down the cell regeneration cycle.
Smoking is not only harmful to your overall health, but it can also damage your skin’s elasticity and health. Nicotine causes your blood vessels to narrow, restricting your skin cell’s oxygen and nutrient’s supply.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause oxidative stress and damage to your DNA, leading to premature ageing.
An unhealthy diet high in ultra-processed foods can lead to chronic inflammation and damage to our cells, promoting premature skin ageing. Feed your skin with nourishing foods, and it will show.
Sleep and stress
Lack of sleep and chronic stress can increase levels of inflammation, cortisol, and free radical damage, all of which contribute to the ageing of our skin.
What are some effective ways to address
specific signs of skin ageing?
Read about how to treat pigmentation [here].