|THE AGING PROCESS
In all of nature, there is planned obsolescence. Plants and animals are developed from a seed, they grow, they live long enough to reproduce and after they have fulfilled this function, they die. With the advent of modern medicine, humans are now living well beyond the reproductive cycle, however, they are still subject to this natural aging syndrome, and most humans do not want to look their age. There is a variety of theories about what causes us to age and eventually die. The following are three of the theories, which directly relate to aging skin.
CONDITIONS OF AGING SKIN
- Free Radical Damage: The accumulation of free radicals in our bodies over a period of time damages more and more cells and their DNA. Cells with damaged DNA reproduce more damaged cells, generating more malfunctions and the eventual failure of the body due to cumulative damage.
- Hormone Depletion: The production of growth stimulators and hormones which cause and control growth metabolism and reproduction decreases significantly after the normal reproduction cycle is completed and the body declines, fails and dies.
- Waste Accumulation: Cells produce more waste than they can eliminate and eventually this accumulation of waste interferes with normal cells functions, resulting in malfunction and eventual failure of systems, then death.
Aging skin manifests a variety of degenerative conditions. Both heredity and environment play a role in this process, with environment, or specifically sun damage, playing the largest role. Photo damage is cumulative and the damage begins from youth. Collectively, the aging process and cumulative environmental damage produce the following anatomic changes in the skin.
To synopsize, the forms of degenerative changes are characterized by the thinning of the epidermis, the loss of fascicular and soluble collagen and lessened circulatory support or perfusion. The degenerative conditions of aging skin will continue to progress with time, however, some of these conditions can be stopped. Some of them can be partially reversed. In addition, some of them can be significantly reversed.
- The number of proliferating cells is reduced. Skin cells divide at a slower rate with decreased capacity to renew themselves. (Hormone) They show marked irregularities in size, shape and staining properties. (Free Radical) The epidermis becomes thinner and tends to stretch. The stratum corneum becomes thicker and contains an increased density of pigmentation or discoloration, lines or wrinkles and an overall dullness or lack of clarity. (Free Radical and Hormone)
- As the skin becomes thinner, it is prone to looseness and easy stretching and eventually the condition leads to sagging redundant skin. (Free Radical and Hormone) Fibrous components in younger skin comprise more than 90% of the skin’s bulk and 95% of this bulk is collagen. The loss and degradation of these fibers as we age, especially collagen, is largely responsible for the loss of elasticity and the progressive development of wrinkles.
- Due to the loss of small blood vessels and the decreased proliferation of new capillaries, the blood supply to the skin is reduced. (Hormone) The skin looks less healthy and the rate at which irritants and toxins are removed is decreased. (Waste Accumulation) Damage from free radicals escalates, exaggerating the traditional conditions of aging skin. (Free Radical)
REVERSING THE CONDITIONS OF AGING SKIN
It is important to remember that skin has the ability to repair itself. The natural ability of the skin to repair itself can become a useful tool in improving the condition of skin. This process logically begins by preventing any new damage, which gives the skin the opportunity to maximize its regenerative capacity.
The fastest and easiest way of treating the skin is through topical absorption. For example, topical application of a nicotine patch, hormonal patch or motion sickness patch facilitates absorption into the blood. Carefully developed absorbable products can be applied topically to provide the concentrations of desired agents at skin level to produce beneficial results. These levels of concentration could never be achieved by oral ingestion. Only 1% of the vitamins we take orally ever reaches the skin. Logically, the best method of skin delivery is topical application.