Genes vs. Routines

Date: 21/10/2015

Author: Ingrid Katz (Pure Aesthetics)

A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine | issue 15

Skin ageing. How much can we control...and how much is pure genetics? Ingrid Katz deliberates...

Our skin is the biggest organ in our body. Since it sits on the periphery, it’s our first form of defence from any external (outside) influence, while being the first step of our immune system. It is also the last to receive nutrition from within, with our major organs taking the majority of nutrient value that is ingested, and then sending what is not used to the outer layers and skin. Having clarified the above, you can imagine how much work the skin does with minimal support – especially when our bodies are not in optimal condition.

So what does this mean for skin ageing? How much can we control? We refer to intrinsic and extrinsic ageing factors – and of course genetics. All three of these play a role in how the skin ages. Intrinsic ageing factors are refered to the influences from within the body that play a role in how the body and skin ages, for example: hormonal activity, stress, medication, illness and/or disease. Extrinsic factors refer to those influences that come from an outside source, for example: sun, environment, skin products and so on.

Is it genetics... or wear and tear?

In this day and age we cannot rely on genetics alone to see us through the ageing process.
I’m not saying that those of us fortunate enough to be bestowed with “alpha” genes won’t age better than those who are not... we will!

But with the amount of external and internal damages increasing, we have to be more diligent and knowledgeable about our skin and how we care for it. Genes will only get you so far, but they won’t protect your skin from drying out when exposed to numerous Highveld winters with zero humidity. They won’t stop the fine lines and wrinkles from forming due to dehydration setting in as the ageing process unfolds - and they will not protect you from the damaging and very ageing UV rays that we are exposed too a daily basis.

Good genes will certainly assist the process of ageing, and we see that not only with genetics but with different ethnicity. For example; a black skin will age at a much slower rate than that of a white skin, as is the same for a Mediterranean skin. These skins have a higher oil content and so are able to hold onto moisture longer, which keeps them hydrated and slows down ageing.

Lastly – what about our lifestyles? Someone working outdoors will age faster than if they worked indoors. A heavy smoker will age faster than if they didn’t smoke at all. A body that is not being fed a healthy lifestyle that includes balanced eating, regular exercise, a good sleeping routine and plenty of water will age faster than if it was in better shape. And believe me, your skin will be effected by this.

We also need to consider that what we see on the surface is supported by a very extensive underlying structure. The skin and the underlying muscle and tissue need to be treated very differently. A skin care therapist will be able to ensure improved skin appearance for the surface. They will be able to stimulate the activity just below the surface to improve cell regeneration, assist in undoing sun damage as well as a host of skin rejuvenation processes. But, they are just working on the skin! A surgeon on the other hand will be able to have effect on the muscle and underlying tissue to assist in lifting, removing excess skin and plumping areas where fat (yes, fat that gives our face its
plumpness) has depleted.

What’s good for goose maybe not for gander

We have to consider many different factors that can slow down or speed up the skin ageing process. We must remember that every person and their body, is different to the next. Just as each body functions differently, so will the ageing process then differ from person to person. It is clear that there are certain factors that we can indeed control to help slow down this ageing process. I suppose
what it boils down to is this: How much are you prepared to do?

It is important to find real and possible solutions for you and your skin as it ages - and not follow the constant barrage of “social sheep” in choosing your preferred skin care brand, treatments and/ or surgery. You need to find a skin care clinic, therapist or possibly a surgeon that you trust and who can provide you with the solutions you are looking for, within your budget.

There is so much out there that can be done. I say arm yourself with knowledge on what is available and start slowly. Have an open mind and stick to what you are comfortable with, and again, not what “everyone else” is doing!

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