Wrinkles and Ageing
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Prior to outlining the causes of wrinkles, it is important to delineate the layers of skin which are affected by the aging process. The skin is made up of three layers; namely the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the top layer of skin which acts as the ultimate protection against external concerns such as UV, pollution and wind. The dermis is the second layer of skin, which contains the connective tissue. This connective tissue includes collagen which provides the skin with strength and elastin fibers to give the skin its spring or elasticity. Fat cells are contained in the subcutaneous tissue and enable the skin to look plump by providing insulation.
Wrinkles and Age
Epidermal cells deteoriate and become thinner with age. Skin appears noticeably thinner due to thinning cells and this allows moisture to be released instead of being retained in the skin. What does this mean? Dryness of course. What’s worse is that there approximately a twelve percent decrease in epidermal cells each decade, impairing the skin’s ability to heal itself. There is a high significance in the effects of aging on the dermal layer. As the elastin fibres exhaust, collagen is slowly reproduced, sagging in the skin is caused as well as modifications in the structure of the skin. Sebum is decreasingly produced by the sebaceous glands and as a result, there are less sweat glands. Once again, dryness in the skin becomes apparent. Fat cells get smaller in the subcutaneous layer. Wrinkles and sagging become more noticeable as the fat cells are unable to make up for the destruction in the outer layers.
Causes of Skin Pigmentation and Sun Spots
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Signs and Symptoms of pigmentation and sun spots
Pigmentation can vary in size and colour however they are usually darker than the skin although they can be pink in colour. Fair skinned individuals are more likely to be affected by moles and freckles which can also be attributed to hereditary factors. Almost everyone has at least some kind of pigmentation whether it be freckles, sun spots, moles or birth marks. There are no real symptoms that cause pigmentation and they may even appear overnight, however in some cases what may appear like normal pigmentation may also be cancerous. Therefore it is imperative that excessive exposure to the sun is approached in a safe manner using a highly protective sunscreen with an SPF of 50+, whilst those with a history of cancer in the family can be put at greater risk.
Causes of Pigmentation and Sun Spots
Pigmentation is caused by an excessive amount of melanin found in certain skin cells. These skin cells generally carry higher levels of melanocytes which produce the melanin causing the skin to appear pigmented in certain areas.
Pigmentation can be attributed to environmental factors such as:
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- The contraceptive pill
- Hereditary factors