The Science Behind Visual Signs of Aging

The Science Behind Visual Signs of Aging

Published by Eileen O'Shanassy on 17th Dec 2019

The signs and symptoms of aging are well-known. Wrinkles, crepe skin, and thinning or greying hair are easily spotted and indicate that the person bearing these marks is aging. The science behind the visible signs of aging is actually quite complex.

Hair Loss

People may lose hair when the follicle glands can no longer produce oil and the follicle shrinks up and fails. In addition, many women find that after menopause their hair follicles are reduced with the loss of estrogen. According to Stat, current research indicates that hair follicles have a genetic "off" switch and the Foxc1 protein acts on the gene that turns off. By deleting that gene, hair continues to grow. Hair grows grey when pigments known as melanocytes die off. Hair still grows, but it is white or grey in color.

Vision Changes

Many people find that they lose the ability to see things close to them as they age. The cause, a condition called presbyopia, occurs because the lens of the eyeball loses flexibility. Reading glasses, which magnify things in front of you, can reduce the impact of presbyopia. In addition, according to Barnet Delaney Perkins Eye Center, age can bring on the growth of cataracts. Cataracts are a film across the lens of the eye that first alters the color of your vision, making things slightly yellow, then grows opaque as time passes.


Collagen is a protein that is naturally occurring in the body. It helps to promote healing if you suffer a scrape or a cut. Collagen also increases the ability of your skin to return to normal after being stretched. With less collagen and elastin in your skin, the wrinkles that only used to occur when you smiled now linger around your eyes. According to Tranont, collagen is an important facet of skin health, but your body produces less of it as you age. In addition to wrinkles that no longer fade, you may lose your healthy complexion over time. Your skin becomes more translucent as you age. The rosy glow of youth and the sprinkling of freckles will fade over time and dark circles under your eyes may become permanent.

Crepey Skin

Crepey skin refers to the sagging of the skin under the jowls, along the cheeks, and on your upper chest. While wrinkles form because one set of muscles undergoes repeated motions, crepey skin occurs where the skin has been repeatedly stretched and can no longer stretch back. Everyone has crepey skin along their elbows and knees. As we age, the loss of elastin and collagen in your skin results in the drooping skin commonly called crepey. Though you can’t stop your skin from drooping, make sure your skin is soft and moisturized.

All skin will age over time. To keep your skin in good shape, avoid UV damage, cigarette smoke and a diet high in sugar. You can’t reverse aging, but you can make sure your skin is as healthy as possible.

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