Aging of the human skin
The formation of lines and wrinkles in light-exposed areas throughout the body, such as on the face, throat, décolleté and hands is a well-known sign of skin aging. Lines and wrinkles are influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The numerous intrinsic factors are age, gender, genetic disposition and race. In exposed and unprotected zones of the body such as on the skin of the hands and the face, extrinsic factors such as UV light, weather and climatic influences, nutrition, tobacco and alcohol abuse, effect the formation of lines and wrinkles. With increasing age, the physiology and appearance of the human skin will change. Alterations in structure, loss in tightness, smoothness and a decrease in the skin's functional capacity are phenomena which may be attributed to the aging mechanism. An increase in dryness and thus roughness as well as a loss in elasticity and even pigmentation are also a sign of increasing s kin aging. Wrinkles on flaccid skin develop with growing age. There is a decline in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. Today, relatively little is known about the exact biochemical processes of skin aging. Mature skin is characterized by a decreasing barrier function, slower metabolic activities in all cells, a strong loss in humidity as well as a decrease in activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands. Primarily, changes in the skin's appearance are a result of a general aging process of the connective tissue of the subcutis. This leads to an atrophy of the epidermis which adjoins the papillary layer and to an irregular decrease in the elasticity of the elastic nets which are structures accompanying the collagen fibres in the connective tissue. As a result of the changed amount and chemical
composition of the basic substance of the connective tissue, a loss of liquids is the result, which consequently leads to a decrease in glycosaminoglycans, the basic structures of the connective and supporting...
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