Why does the skin wrinkle as you age?
The surface of skin is covered with flat cells rich in protein called â€œkeratinâ€, which makes skin water resistant and tough. These outer cells are shed and the new generation of cells are replaced. The wrinkling does not effect the epidermis (outer layer of skin).
Below the epidermis a thick layer, dermis, contains various proteins that strengthen the skin and elasticity. These contain 80% of collagen fibers. These are woven like mesh with elastin and other proteins. Collagen content decreases as people grow older. Hence both elastin and collagen contents decrease and becomes loose, clump, thick and criss cross lines are noticed.
Free radicals are one of the causes for wrinkles. These are byproducts of energy. These are also produced from the influence of environment such as smoking, ultraviolet radiation and, air pollution. Antioxidant enzymes protect from these free radicals, which are obtained from vitamin C and E.
Skin acts as a barrier between the environment and the body. Skin is exposed to the ultraviolet radiation from sun which causes wrinkles. UV radiation causes damages DNA and other skin molecules. Skin has the capability to repair the damages that occurred due to sunlight. Epidermis cells produce more melanin and dissipates them before damaging the skin.
Body can repair the damaged proteins, but they do not work efficiently. Free radicals damage the proteins and this contributes to the fidelity of protein repair. A recent study suggests that collagen in the dermis lasts for half life i.e., nearly 15years.
Wrinkles on skin appear because the changes in the structures of proteins. These changes are due to combined reaction of free radicals and glucose from energy metabolism. Protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation prevents occurring of wrinkles to some extent.