Skin Explained: Ageing In skin care, beauty and grooming, ‘ageing’ is a term used to describe photo-ageing – ageing caused by exposure to sun light that causes lines, wrinkles, sagging, loss of firmness and thinner skin texture. What it is Ageing is presented on the skin as lines, wrinkles, sagging, loss of firmness and thinner skin texture. Skin maybe doesn’t feel as supple as it once did and it can also cause a general appearance of exhaustion and fatigue. Why it happens The skin is one massive organ. It’s actually the biggest organ in the body. The problem is that it’s actually last-place on the body’s to do list when it comes to fixing and repairing. As we age, our other organs such as liver, lungs and heart need more care and attention so take priority over the skin – this means our skin isn’t regenerated as efficiently and effectively as it was at a younger age. UVA Sun Radiation Then, UVA and UVB rays from the sun attack and damage the skin, both in the short term and the long term. UVA (remember this as UV AGE) burrows deeper into the skin and slices through the base cells that regenerate our skin cells as well as breaking down the skin’s elastin and collagen support structure. The damage caused to the base cells can sometimes be permanent; this can lead to faulty cells being produced over time – cancer. UVB Sun Radiation UVB (remember this as UV BURN) causes damage to the surface cells causing them to cook. These burns can usually be repaired by the skin and in the meantime, dark, shielding cells called melanin are released to the skin’s surface to act as an umbrella and reduce any further damage – this is why we go brown. How to treat it You can’t really ‘treat’ ageing. Once the damage is done, it’s done. Nothing short of advanced cosmetic procedures, both invasive and non-invasive, will repair the appearance of this damage. However, there are some things you can do to both protect and reduce the appearance of ageing: Sun Protection Using a broad-spectrum sun screen (UVA and UVB) will reduce the damaging effects of the suns rays. You should wear SPF every single day because if you can see without artificial light, then there’s UVA and UVB rays around – on the sunniest day in Spain and on the darkest day in Huddersfield. SPF products are rated by numbers. These are country specific, so an Australian SPF15 is much, much higher than a British SPF15. You can calculate the number needed with the following: Working out your SPF number In the UK it takes 15 minutes of sun exposure before your skin begins to be damaged. This is the number we need – 15. Then, take your SPF number, for example SPF30 – 30. Multiply 15 x 30 to get the number of minutes of protection your product will give you – 15 x 30 = 450. 450 minutes is a total of 7.5 hours of sun exposure before you’ll start to burn. This is in any UK weather, although be more conservative with this number in bright, hot summer days. This does not mean that you can reapply after 7.5 hours of sun exposure and get another 7.5 hours. No. This means that your sun protection has given you safe levels of sun exposure for 7.5 hours, meaning you’ve had your lot for that day. Exfoliate Often lines and wrinkles on the skin are dehydrated. This means that the skin in them isn’t nice and even, but rough and microscopically flakey. With the skin like this, it doesn’t reflect light nice and evenly, but refracts the light making the lines and wrinkles appear deeper. By using chemical or manual exfoliation (beaded/grained scrubs) you can remove these dead surface skin cells to reveal nice shiny cells underneath that will leave the skin looking more radiant, refreshed and firmer. Moisturise Dehydrated skin, whatever its age, can look tired, fatigued and poorly textured. By using hydrating and moisturising products, you can add the moisture back into the skins surface, leaving it plumper and more lifted. Massage Massage increases blood flow to the skin. This then firms the skin by aiding its natural regeneration processes as well as draining away lymph fluid that can lay stagnant causing your face to seem puffy with dark under-eye circles.