If you’re young and lucky enough not to have spotted those tell-tale signs of aging on your skin – enjoy it while you can. By our early twenties, our skin structure is already starting to change as the production of collagen slows along with the skin cell renewal process. Our genetics, lifestyle and living environment will all have an impact on our skin’s appearance. Here at PlasmaPen we look in more depth at our skin structure, how it develops with age and what causes wrinkles.
Skin structure and what causes wrinkles
The skin is formed of three key layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the fat layer, also called the hypodermis. Here at PlasmaPen we delve into detail on the skin structure and what causes wrinkles.
Hypodermis (fat layer):
The hypodermis is the least pertinent to the ageing process, at least in the early stages as it is too deep to show any visible changes until later in life when it starts to degrade. The hypodermis is the main structural support for our skin. This is the layer that isolates us from extreme temperatures and aids shock absorption.
The dermis is the critical area when looking at what causes wrinkles. The dermis can be up to 5mm thick and its primary function is to support the epidermis, the thin outer layer. The dermis is made up of connective tissue which, in turn, is largely made up of collagen, with a little elastin. Throughout the dermis there are special cells (fibroblasts and mast cells) and structures such as blood vessels, hair follicles and sweat glands.
The epidermis is the thin, top layer of skin, the part of the skin structure that protects us from environmental factors and the outside world, as well as containing our pigment. The epidermis itself is made up of 4 or 5 layers (depending on the area of the body), including the outer layer of dead cells that we shed on a rotating 28-day cycle. It has no blood vessels and is reliant on the layers beneath for nutrients and waste disposal.
What happens to our skin as we age?
Whilst the number of layers within the epidermis remains stable, it thins. And whilst the number of pigment-containing cells decrease, the remaining ones increase in size. These two changes mean that our skin starts to look thinner and paler, and large pigmented spots form, called liver spots.
The dermis, containing the collagen that provides our skin with structure and elasticity, shows changes in the connective tissue as we age so that the skin’s strength and elasticity is reduced. Fibroblasts within the dermis produce less collagen, and this is the key factor in what causes wrinkles. Fibroblasting treatment by PlasmaPen is the best way to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As we age, the reduction in collagen production, combined with the thinning of the skin, creates lines that turn into wrinkles. Added to this is a reduction in the amount of hyaluronic acid being produced, the molecule that keeps our skin hydrated and moisturised, leading it to look dry and rough – and is a contributing factor in terms of what causes wrinkles.
How our skin ages is largely dependent on our DNA, because the speed of ageing is directly related to the lifespan of our skin cells. However, given that we know what causes wrinkles, there are steps we can take to look after our skin and protect it – such as using sunscreen. There are also steps we can take to slow the effects of ageing, as well as reversing it in some respects. Changes in our skin structure are inevitable, but because we know what causes wrinkles, we can, at least, make some choices about how quickly that process will take hold and how best to care of ourselves.
Fine lines and wrinkles are inevitable as we age, but with a proper skincare regime, and complimentary treatments by PlasmaPen technicians; you can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to appear younger and rejuvenated, for longer.