Wrinkles are the first tell-tale signs of a person’s age. Our skin is an organ that has a variety of functions like protecting us from environmental factors, maintaining body temperature, balancing the fluid levels in our body, and also functioning as an endocrine organ. Just like any other organ, the skin is not immune to the process of aging. People usually age at the same pace and we can usually determine a person’s age by the appearance of their skin. But there are slight differences in when a person notices the first wrinkles on their skin and these depend on genetics and lifestyle factors. Keep reading to learn when people get their first wrinkles and what you could do about it.
Why Skin Ages
Skin aging is a very complex phenomenon that happens as a result of a lot of things. The changing balance of elements that make our skin is what causes aging. Skin aging is a result of gravity, soft tissue maturation, changes in skeletal structure, changes in the facial muscles and UV exposure. We can take control over some of these factors, but other factors are simply not under our control. For instance, the bones of our face shrink with age and the overlaying skin wrinkles as a result. Weakening muscles, especially around the jaw line result in skin sagging. These processes are often regulated by hormones so we see most of these changes taking place after middle age when hormonal levels start drastically changing.
External vs. internal factors that influence wrinkles
We already determined that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors influence skin aging. Together, these factors influence the physiological changes in the structure of the different layers of our skin. Skin that has mostly aged due to genetic and other intrinsic factors is thin, weak, finely wrinkled and dry. On the other hand, skin that has aged due to UV damage is usually thicker, has dark spots, has deep wrinkles, and is dull and rough. UV damage breaks down the skin’s collagen which becomes sparsely distributed and this causes deeper wrinkles later in life.
When do we Notice Our First Wrinkles?
Most people will notice the first sign of skin aging in their 20s. These usually appear in the form of dark spots or uneven skin tone. People don’t notice the more subtle changes in their skin that happen at this time which is a result of a loss of fatty tissue and a slight loss of collagen. But it is in their 30s that they notice the first fine lines and wrinkles, and these are only noticeable when making certain facial expressions. These wrinkles usually appear around the eyes where the skin is the thinnest. Depending on face structure, people will also notice wrinkles on their forehead and around their nose. Once people start approaching the fourth and fifth decade of life, these wrinkles become a permanent part of one’s skin.
The Role Of Genes
People with fair skin usually age at a faster pace than people with darker skin. This may be due to the fact that darker skin tones are less prone to sun damage due to the greater number of melanocytes in their skin. Melanocytes are types of cells that produce dark pigment and protect the skin from the sun. Furthermore, there was also a recent study that found that people with fair skin and freckles were genetically predisposed to earlier aging that is a result of a variation of the gene called MC1R.
Tips to Reduce Aging
Because skin starts to age when we reach our mid-20s, aestheticians recommend starting anti-aging treatments at this time. Both dermatologists and aestheticians recommend the same treatment to protect the skin from premature aging and these are:
- Limiting sun exposure if possible.
- Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA rays cause most of the wrinkles, look for sunscreens that also protect from these rays).
- Wearing wide-brimmed sun hats and sunglasses (clothes protect the skin on your body from the sun, but you can protect your face from sun exposure with these kinds of accessories).
- Not smoking ( Studies have found that smoking significantly contributes to premature wrinkling).
- Exercising and eating a healthy diet (Your overall health will show on your skin as your skin gets its nutrients from the food you eat. Besides this, exercising will improve oxygen levels in your skin).
Skin aging is unavoidable and the best thing we could do is accept it as such. On the other hand, external factors like smoking and sun damage can cause unnecessary premature skin aging. People will usually notice their first wrinkles around their 30s, but skin aging actually starts already in our 20s. This is mostly due to intrinsic factors and there is not much we can do about that, but sun damage can make aging worse which is why we should limit sun exposure.