Anyone who has skin, has aging skin. That may sound like a no-brainer, but it is important to note that everyone’s skin is constantly aging. During the early years of life, we don’t tend too spend much time worrying about our skin becoming saggy or wrinkly, because it is not relevant to us at that time. Yet, as the years go on, we start to become more and more aware of our aging skin and ways to counteract the aging process.
Aging skin is inevitable, as it is part of the body’s natural development. As we get older, our bodies do not generate as many skin cells as it used to. The amount collagen (what makes the skin firm) and elastin (what gives the skin its elasticity) in the skin start to decrease as well. Although we cannot control the body’s internal aging clock, we can monitor some of the external factors that affect the way and rate at which our skin ages.
Sun exposure is large part of the skin’s aging process. So much so, that there is a term to describe its effect. That term is photoaging. It refers to the damages done to the skin by UV rays, and how those damages expedite the natural process of skin aging. Photoaging is collective, meaning the affects come from years of sun exposure and improper protection. Wrinkles, leathery skin, sunspots, and drooping skin are all products of photoaging. To lessen the amount of sun damage to the skin, remember that African American skin is not exempt from wearing sunscreen.
Smoking leaves lasting effects on the skin in many ways. Many of the chemicals in tobacco are detrimental to the production of collagen and elastin. As a result, those who smoke begin experiencing deep wrinkles and drooping skin much earlier than those who do not. Smoking can also create an uneven complexion, which is exactly what we want to avoid in Black skin care. The chronic lack of oxygen and nutrients takes a toll on the skin, and often causes a pale and splotchy skin tone.
Because mature skin lacks elasticity, repetitive and exaggerated facial expressions can cause wrinkles and fine lines. The skin does not snap back into place as easily, and over time we can see traces of those facial expressions. Most often these lines appear on the forehead, around the eyes and near the mouth area.
Excessive alcohol consumption dehydrates the body, which can be problematic for all organs including skin. When the skin is dehydrated, lines and wrinkles become more visibly apparent and irreversible. Alcohol also increases blood flow to the face, which can cause an uneven complexion. Again, an uneven skin tone is something that African American skin should try to avoid.