How our skin ages
Genetics affects skin health
Collagen, elastin, skin proteins
Effects of the environment on the skin
Sun damage is the single worst environmental factor that damages our skin. Ultraviolet rays have been shown not only to degrade skin proteins such as collagen and elastin, but also to damage the DNA of skin cells. The damaged DNA then leads to errors in protein production and cell division. Fewer proteins are produced and there are more faulty cells, which can lead on to skin cancer. Other environmental factors can also influence the skin’s aging processes. Dry, cold air, such as is found in mountainous areas or close to the poles, leads to dehydration of the skin and ultimately to damage. Exposure to chemicals such as tanning and those containing lead or aluminum has long been known to damage normal cellular turnover and the growth rate of new skin cells.