Mature and aging skin is really not related to our actual age; rather, it has much to do with our lifestyle choices, habits and environmental influences. Mature and aging skin can lack luminosity and firmness. It can appear dry and dull with deep wrinkles, pigmentation and age spots.

As people age, the top layer of the skin becomes thinner due to sluggish cell turnover, and the skin starts to sag and look dull as a result of the breakdown of proteins such as collagen and elastin.

Glycation is one of the leading causes of wrinkles and loose skin. It is a process in the body that takes place when we consume excess sugars as part of our diet. Simple sugars like fructose and glucose bind to protein such as collagen in the skin and change the structure and function of the protein, leading to its destruction. This is among the reasons people with diabetes tend to age much faster than the nondiabetic population.

Sun exposure, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as well as lack of sleep and poor diet can affect the aging skin barrier function. Increased dehydration, transdermal water loss and poor circulation can lead to dark circles under the eyes.

Some studies have shown that clocking fewer than eight hours of sleep each night also causes premature aging. Our aging skin shows loss of fat and volume on the temples and the cheekbones. The lips become thinner and turn inward as the philtrum – the vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip – becomes flat and longer. Our eyelids droop and become puffier under our eyes.

What was once a youthful, heart-shaped face transforms into an aging face with a squarer shape as the jowls become prominent.

The good news for maturing skin is that all it takes is knowing which phase your skin is in. This can be measured by a professional skin therapist who will conduct a multistep mapping of your skin, asking questions to determine which stage of the aging process your skin is in, and recommend the appropriate treatment plan along with a skincare routine to repair and delay the aging process and reverse or change lifestyle choices, habits and environmental influences.

Treatments such as chemicals peels, microcurrent and collagen induction therapy help repair and rebuild collagen. Nightly application of retinols would tremendously help hydrate and increase cell turnover. Every individual’s routine would be different, as we are all living our lives uniquely.

Los Altos resident Marjan Kashi is a licensed medical esthetician, electrologist and the founder of Pure Serenity Skincare, located at Rancho Shopping Center. She has a post-graduate education in medical esthetics, earning advanced degrees in microdermabrasion, chemical peels, advanced skin analysis, treatment of acne, hyperpigmentation, UV damaged skin, rosacea, skin rejuvenation, LED photo-therapy and radio frequency treatments. For more information, call 999-7873 or visit pureserenityskincare.com.