What happens to our skin as we age?

One of the biggest areas of skincare is related to combating the signs of ageing. A lot happens to our skin as we get older and a basic understanding of the ageing process of skin helps us to understand the changes we may see in our skin as we age. 

The term anti-ageing in marketing messaging, can suggest that ageing is somehow an undesirable thing but ageing is not something we should feel awkward about. Ageing skin cannot be reversed with products - and we all have to come to terms with that, no matter. However, our skincare products can influence the appearance of these changes, and can help maintain healthy-looking skin for years to come.

How does skin age?

To find out how to influence the appearance of our ageing skin, we need to start with understanding how our skin ages. Our skin cell turnover and our rate of collagen production starts to slow gradually down in our thirties and continues to decline as we age. This ‘slowing down’ process impacts our skin’s firmness, tautness and brightness.

Alongside the natural aging process are several external factors that can produce additional ageing effects and they are the ones that we have the most influence over (such as changes to lifestyle and having a good skin care routine). 

Visible signs of skin ageing, such as spots, fine lines and wrinkles may appear as a result of our skin's natural defence mechanisms, as well as slower cell renewal, cell turnover, activity and recovery. 

Our skin is constantly ageing, but we tend not to think of it as ageing until it starts to show

What causes these visible signs of ageing is complex and varies according to our genetics and our lifestyle and environment. As we grow older, lots of different processes take place in the skin that change its appearance, structure and even how it feels. 

What is happening to our skin in our twenties?

As early as in our twenties unhealthy lifestyle habits, environmental damage and UV exposure can start to impact our skin.  Our cell defences may begin to weaken against free radicals, and our natural ability to fight off skin damage declines. Cell renewal and turnover rates also naturally start to slow, diminishing skin radiance.

What is happening to our skin in our thirties?

In our 30s, collagen (which keeps skin firm) and elastin (which keeps skin bouncing back) begin to degrade, which may result in the start of visible wrinkles. Cell renewal and turnover continue to decline, leading to a duller complexion and uneven skin tone. 

What is happening to our skin in our forties?

By our forties, skin appears thinner and its natural protective barrier lipids are not as pronounced. Depending on hormonal activity, we may experience uneven skin tone to adult acne. More prominent signs of skin ageing can also appear, such as dark spots and significant dullness.


What is happening to our skin in our fifties onward?

The lipids in our skin barrier reduce leading to less efficient moisture retention (and more potential for sensitivity and dehydration). By now, skin can show prominent wrinkles, fine lines and discolouration.

Does the skin renew itself?

You may have wondered why brands say you need to try a skincare product for at least twenty-eight days before you see results. This is because of how our skin renews itself. 

Our skin is constantly shedding and this is part of a healthy skin cycle

Our skin is constantly making way for new skin cells, which are being formed in the deepest layer of the epidermis. These new cells will work their way up to the surface of the skin and the skin cell on the top layer will flake off (either on its own or with help from an exfoliator).

A skin cycle can vary with each individual and factors such as our age, hormones, skin condition and health can impact the average cycle but, on average, our skin regenerates itself approximately every twenty-eight days in our twenties. As we’ve learnt, this cycle can take longer as we age. In middle age, it can take between twenty-eight and forty-two days.

Skin renewal happens as a result of skin cells travelling from the lowest epidermis layer of the skin to the top layer

The longer cell renewal takes, the larger the build-up of dead skin on the surface, which can leave skin looking dull. Regular gentle exfoliating as part of a skincare routine is therefore essential to help slough away the build-up.

Why do we get wrinkles?

Wrinkles are the lines and creases that form in our skin. Some wrinkles can become deep crevices or furrows and may be especially noticeable around our eyes, mouth and neck.

Although genetics play a large part in determining our skin’s structure and texture, sun exposure is a major cause of wrinkles

Here are some key contributors to getting wrinkles:

  • Fat in the deeper layers of our skin diminishes as we age. This causes loose, saggy skin and more pronounced lines and crevices. 
  • Pollutants and smoking also contribute to wrinkling as we get older, our skin naturally becomes less elastic and more fragile. 
  • Decreased production of natural oils dries our skin and makes it appear more wrinkled. 
  • Facial movements and expressions, such as squinting or smiling, can also lead to fine lines and wrinkles. 

How can a skincare routine help to slow down ageing?

While in our twenties and early thirties we may not have to worry much about the signs of visible ageing, having a daily skincare routine can help to slow down the effects of ageing. 

As we grow older, our skin begins to lose its strength and elasticity 

When we cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise, and use sunscreen on a regular basis, we fortify our skin and give our skin some of its strength and elasticity back in the process, which helps our skin as we age.

Five Dot Botanics believe the best way to limit the appearance of ageing is having healthy, strong skin that is always replenished and nourished. That’s why we created an uncomplicated, minimal skincare range that is designed to use natural plant power to restore your skin to health and keep it that way. Check out our core range here: www.fivedotbotanics.com/collections/skincare

February 01, 2022 — Five Dot