Premature aging disease

Understanding Premature Aging, MMPs and other causes of skin ageing

In recent years, scientists have come to understand the actual biochemical triggers that manifest skin ageing, such as wrinkles, altered pigmentation, and loss of skin tone. These triggers are known as:

• Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), also known as free radicals.
• Matrix Metalloproteinases (or MMPs).
• Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs).

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are dangerous oxygen molecules generated by UV rays and pollution. ROS attack and react with stable skin cell molecules, causing cross-linking of collagen and elastin (the cause of wrinkles) while lessening skin’s ability to repair itself.

Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes activated by UV exposure or inflammation. MMPs contribute to the breakdown of collagen while inhibiting new collagen formation.

The same glucose (sugar) that provides energy for our cells can also react with proteins, including the skin’s collagen. This reaction results in the formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), which can contribute to loss of elasticity, wrinkles, inflammation, inhibited skin cell growth and accelerated ageing.

Because we understand these triggers, skin care professionals are better equipped to effectively treat, and control, the signs of skin ageing.

sun exposure and skin aging

Skin is an excellent record keeper. Every moment of exposure to daylight adds up like money in the bank – the problem is the payoff known as sun damage (also known as photodamage). As the top cause of premature signs of skin ageing, sun damage shows on skin in the form of wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation, and can lead to a repressed immune system and the potential for skin cancer.

Even if exposure is limited to brief outdoor lunches or a 20-minute walk, cumulative exposure is enough to cause the signs of skin ageing. The first line of daily defence against sun damage is daily use of SPF. Even on cloudy or overcast days, UV light can strike skin and cause damage, so simply wearing sunscreen on sunny days isn’t enough.

Fortunately, more sophisticated sunscreen formulations with skin health benefits (think less chalky, less greasy) have made SPF a convenient addition to our morning routine. Speak with your professional skin therapist about SPF moisturisers that can be worn comfortably under make-up, or alone to deliver defence against skin ageing UV light.

Exfoliation - how much is too much

Exfoliation delivers a tighter, firmer, smoother look and feel of skin. Because of this result, many fall into the trap of over-exfoliation: an over-zealous approach that can actually reduce skin’s vitality and make it more susceptible to damage from UV light.

Over-exfoliation triggers the inflammatory response, leading to a compromised lipid barrier that won’t function properly, a sensitized skin condition, and accelerated premature aging.

Tell-tale signs of over-exfoliated skin include:
• noticeable dehydration
• patchy areas of dryness
• skin tautness
• redness and itchiness
• increased sensitivity
• inflammatory acne and irritation

If you’re showing the signs of over-exfoliation, speak with a professional skin therapist, who will most likely prescribe a calming cleanser and toner, and a protective moisturiser to start the recovery process. Sun protection is a must: wear a sunscreen with physical UV blockers Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide that won’t irritate skin.

After skin recovery, begin ex-foliating with a gentle exfoliant designed for daily use. If you desire a more intense level of exfoliation, look to non-abrasive exfoliants containing chemicals like Salicylic or Lactic Acid. Pair a more gentle regimen with professional exfoliation treatments from your professional skin therapist to enjoy smoother skin without the undesirable side effects.

Now, we wouldn’t suggest for a minute that there’s anything wrong with growing old gracefully. The natural ageing process is defined in our very genetics, resulting in the complex hormonal and physical transformations that take place throughout life. It is refers to the unnatural acceleration of the natural ageing process, primarily due to damage from sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle. While the natural ageing process cannot be slowed, most people who exhibit signs of ageing are actually suffering from premature aging. Sound far-fetched? Consider this: not only are over 99% of wrinkles caused by sun exposure, but it can add up to twenty years to your appearance!

Taking care of your skin early on can help your skin stay healthy well into your golden years. It’s an investment that only takes minutes a day!

Avoiding unprotected sun exposure is the most important measure you can take to protect your skin. General lifestyle factors are also important – a diet too rich in highly-processed foods and alcohol, and lacking in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods, can have a significant impact on the health of the skin.

How can I control premature aging?

Let’s face it – we’ve all done things in our pasts that our skin would rather forget! And, while the damage may be done, there are a number of ways in which you can treat the signs of premature ageing. It all starts with regular visits to your skin care therapist, who can work out a prescriptive regimen based on a detailed skin analysis using Face Mapping SM. More than likely, you will begin with an intensive series of Multi-Vitamin Power Exfoliation treatments, a hydroxy acid and Retinol approach that is designed to dramatically smooth away debris and increase new cell renewal. Then, regularly-scheduled Multi-Vitamin Power Treatments will keep your skin on track.

Your at-home regimen will also play a crucial role. Using vitamin-enriched products, specifically those containing stabilized Vitamins A, C and E, can deliver the vital nutrients that the skin needs to help firm and improve elasticity. Dermalogica Multi-Vitamin Power Concentrate and Multi-Vitamin Power Firm for the eye and lip area applied on a daily basis, along with our Multi-Vitamin Power Recovery Masque 1 to 2 times weekly, will very effectively deliver these critical vitamins to your skin. And don’t forget your hands, which are one of the first areas to show signs of premature ageing and sun damage – Multi-Vitamin Hand and Nail Treatment was developed specifically to counter this.

Topical vitamins ... do they work?

As far as your body is concerned, your skin is the last in line when it comes to getting its share of nutrients. Over time, fewer of your ingested vitamins ever make it to the skin because they are diverted to the internal organs, leaving the skin starved. Applying potent vitamin complexes topically can make up for this lack of nourishment, helping to address the signs of premature ageing on the cellular level and neutralize dangerous free radical activity.

Technically speaking, getting those vitamins where they need to go is a huge challenge. Extremely reactive, vitamin complexes are generally very unstable, which means you should never use a product that comes in a dropper bottle or jar, where it would become contaminated after the first use.

What vitamins are most effective?

Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate)

– Essential for normal skin development, Vitamin A regulates skin growth and cell division. Not only does it help improve moisture content, it actually promotes cell renewal and can help reverse a the signs of premature ageing. A powerful antioxidant, it also scavenges free radicals.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate)

– Also an antioxidant, Vitamin C is a key component in collagen production, and also strengthens capillary walls, for a more firm skin tone. It has also been shown to help regulate hyper pigmentation and boost the skin's immune system.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate)

– Powerfully antioxidant, Vitamin E also helps to protect the skin's moisture barrier, smooth the skin, reduce inflammation and promote healing. Pro-Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) – A powerful vitamin that encourages cell regeneration, which stimulates the healing process.

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