What are the functions of the skin?
Ageing can neither be defied nor denied but still humans from time immemorial are always on the lookout for the elusive elixir of youth. From the time we are conceived in our mother’s womb, we age. This ageing continues till we are alive. The skin covering our body is the mirror which reflects our age. The skin performs multiple functions –
- It provides a cover for the body
- It acts as a barrier against the invasion of microorganisms
- It prevents excessive loss of fluids from our body
- It regulates our body temperature
The skin is made up of three layers namely
• epidermis(the outermost layer),
• the dermis(middle layer)
• the subcutaneous layer.
The epidermis is the outermost layer which is made up of flat dead cells and three types of interwoven cells – keratinocytes (protein keratins), the melanocytes (which produces the sun tanning pigment melanin) and the Langarhans cells which are part of the immune system . The epidermis is also made up of a number of nerve endings which make us sensitive to the various senses of touch, pain, warmth, cold etc.
The dermis is the middle layer which is a network of collagen and elastin fibres. These are a network of connecting proteins which give the skin a firm look and a supple and young feel. It is in this layer that the sebaceous and the sweat glands are found. These two form a protective , natural acid covering which give a healthy look to the skin and prevent unwanted substances from entering the skin.
The subcutaneous is the deepest layer and is made up of fatty cells which act as cushions for the tissues against any mechanical injury, provide energy and regulate the body temperature (since it is here that the sweat glands originate) and make the skin resilient.
How does it lead to ageing?
So we can see how our skin structure is made and how it functions to keep us looking great. Collagen and Elastin are the two main proteins which form the structural network of our skin, provide elasticity and toning. Now as we age the production of these proteins deteriorate and our skin begins to sag. There are also many sugars like GAGS and proteoglycans that have water holding properties which keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. As ageing continues these sugars break down and make the skin dry.
It is generally believed that our skin starts ageing from 25. The skin begins to replace old cells more slowly. After the age of 45, with hormonal changes the skin begins to loose its youthfulness and glow. It becomes thinner and fragile, vulnerable to various environmental factors, allergens and internal disturbances. The network of collagen and elastin loose their tenacity, loosening the skin and making it sag. The moisture holding the GAGS and proteoglycans also start decreasing making the skin drier. The skin looses fat, looks less plump, and the number of blood vessels also decrease. Thus we lose our youth and glow!
But fortunately a revolution is taking place in the cosmetics world. Various anti ageing creams and facelifts, injections etc. are being discovered to make one look ageless.
Anti wrinkling skin care products are storming the market, revolutionizing the domain of women’s skin care. Every woman wants to put her best foot forward when she goes out into the world. This makes them major buyers of these products. These products compared to the various surgical procedures for correcting wrinkles are not only safe and cost effective but also time saving means to stave off or reverse ageing.
How does an anti-wrinkle skin care cream/product work?
With improvement in technology, collagen and elastin are being administered externally in various anti ageing creams. These creams also may contain antioxidant compounds like Vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A corrects the functioning of the outer layer lifeless epithelial cells of our skin thus rejuvenating them. Vitamin A compounds contain retinol which protect the skin from the damage caused by free radicals and environmental influences.
Again some anti wrinkle skin care products contain alpha-hydroxyl acids which cause a peeling effect on the skin thus removing the dead /lifeless layers of the skin and giving it a rejuvenated look. Some products contain collagen which hydrate the skin giving it a moisturized and supple look. Anti wrinkle products contain ingredients which act as facial muscle relaxant that work against wrinkles. One such ingredient is GABA or Gama Amino Byutric acid which has the property to counter wrinkles on the face. Another ingredient used in the skin care products is Idebenone. It is an antioxidant defending the metabolism against free radicals.
Many anti wrinkling skin care products contain Shea butter derived from Shea or Mangifolia trees found in the western African nations. Shea is an exceptional natural moisturizer which is extremely gentle on the skin. Some products contain copper peptides which claim to have proteins that help in the healing mechanism of the body.
Thus we can see there are a host of anti wrinkle skin care products in the market. But while buying these products one must administer some caution. One should be careful while choosing the right product as per one’s skin’s requirement and not get carried away by the promises made by these products because only a dermatologist can judge whether the product could be beneficial for the skin or not. There have been instances where some allergies and side effects have been reported as a result of these applications! Hence please go through the compositions of these products, and the recommended skin type, before investing in them.