Represents 75% of the skin’s dry weight. The quantity and the quality play a major role in the skin’s appearance. Slowing down the breakdown and degradation of collagen fibres is vital to skin youth.
Repeated exposure to ultraviolet light (UV radiation) from the sun accounts for almost 90% of symptoms of premature skin ageing, skin damage and skin cancer. The sun is carcinogenic and harmful to the skin. Just a few minutes of sun exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. "Photo aging occurs over a period of years. With more and more exposure to the sun, something very significant happens. The skin never forgets, just like an elephant. And with each insult, it loses its ability to repair itself, and damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun also attacks our elastin. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight." This process will also multiply and increase the size of wrinkles.
This process starts with free radicals which are highly reactive small molecules that can damage virtually any molecule in the body, including the important cellular structures found in the body’s largest organ – the skin. This kind of free radical damage leads to generation of even more free radicals which create havoc in every layer of the skin hypodermis, dermis and epidermis. Our bodies have been built with internal antioxidants, but they are not enough to protect our skins from irreversible breakdown.
This is the skin’s first line of defence against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation also initiates the tissue healing process and limits the damage to skin cells caused by everyday chemicals and pollutants. Whilst it is helpful in the short term, excessive (chronic) inflammation is one of the most common themes in early onset skin ageing. Subtle signs include skin sensitivity, redness and irritation.
Sad to say sugar does make you age faster. Glycation causes the skins proteins (like collagen and elastin) to lose their ability to function normally and is now well recognised and heavily implicated in accelerated skin ageing. Glycation occurs when excess bodily glucose molecules link to the skin’s collagen and elastin fibres. This cross linking can form chemical bridges between proteins. Gylcated fibres can become rigid, less elastic and have reduced regenerative ability which can lead to damage such as laxity, cracking and thinning skin.