Causes of ageing
The skin is the body’s largest organ: it serves as a protective barrier against the external environment. It has a complex structure made up of several layers, structural proteins and other essential elements, which are responsible for its healthy appearance and normal functioning.
The skin is made up of three separate layers :
- the visible external layer, the epidermis ;
- a structural layer, called the dermis ;
- the skin’s deepest layer, the hypodermis.
Skin ageing is a natural phenomenon. It is influenced by internal factors, such as genetics, and external factors such as exposure to the sun (damage caused by UV rays), tobacco use, alcohol, a poor diet, environmental pollution and stress. As people age, the skin gradually loses its main structural components, notably collagen, elastin and capacity for water retention (hyaluronic acid). Its ability to combat damage from free radicals – which are products of the external environment and internal cell metabolism – also decreases. Left unchallenged, free radicals can accumulate and result in oxidative stress for the skin.
In this case, they damage collagen and elastin, causing significant deterioration in the skin’s support structure. Skin gradually loses its smoothness, plumpness and elasticity. Fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear and the skin becomes dryer and less radiant; it may also take more time to heal, because cell renewal is slower.