The human skin is such a fascinating organ, being the largest organ of the body, it deserves much thought and care. It is a shield that protects all other organs from the outside world including diseases and bacteria that would otherwise be harmful. It is also largest organ exposed for everyone else in the world to see. Therefore, it is natural, even ethical, to want your skin to be as healthy and in optimum shape for both health and beauty reasons. But what happens when the same skin begins to change, sag a little, and show wrinkles? This does not mean that the skin is not able to perform its obligation anymore. Change in the skin over time is natural and inevitable. However, whether or not the skin changes gracefully or more aggressively is what can be addressed.
The skin is made up of the epidermis and dermis layers with the epidermis being the outermost layer and dermis being sandwiched between it and the hypodermis. There is a protein that lies within the dermis called collagen. At a young age, this protein is strong and surrounded by elastic fibers that make up the resilient human integument that is much thicker (Escoffier 1989, Figure 3.) Though, as the skin ages, the elasticity decreases as collagen and elastin decreases (Baumann 2016, 242.) Once this happens, one will find that, in chronologically aged skin, wrinkles and more defined lines appear indefinitely where smile and frown lines were once temporary. However, in sun-damaged skin, fine lines and wrinkles appear more strongly and skin appears leathery. This is worth noting as many embark on their age-defying journey that decrease in collagen-synthetic activity is reversible to some degree (Varani 2006, 1867.)
Furthermore, there are many ways to soften the effects of aging given that the body can make collagen if given the necessary tools; no matter what age a person might be. It is when the body does not breakdown the proteins and vitamins taken in from healthy dieting, that production of collagen decreases. Allowing the body to naturally produce collagen from the inside out would prove to be beneficial to an individual’s overall health since this protein helps make up skin, bones, hair, nails and muscles. In order for the body to naturally make collagen one’s diet must consist of zinc, copper, protein rich foods, and vitamin C. While these nutrients may already be a part of one’s diet, the different between a younger and older body is the ability to convert them into what it needs.