skin ageing process

The skin ageing process 

Why does your skin age?

Skin is the largest and most visible organ of the body. Like all organs, it undergoes changes due to the passage of time. However, unlike the other organs, signs of skin ageing are immediately visible.1-3
Skin changes with age for many reasons, including the chronological ageing process, sun exposure, gravity, dietary habits, environmental pollutants, stress, repetitive facial expressions (e.g. frowning and squinting) and even the position in which we sleep. Thinning of all three layers of the skin - epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat - as well as loss of facial bone, lead to many of the visible signs of skin ageing. As we age, all of these factors affect the skin, changing it both internally and externally.2-7

Ageing process

Maintaining the skin’s beauty and youthfulness is a daily preoccupation for many people. 
Use our ageing simulator to see how factors such as health and lifestyle affect facial ageing.8


20s - First signs of dryness with fine lines and wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles may start forming and the skin starts showing signs of dryness and becomes thinner. 

30s – Skin continues to thin

The skin may start to look 'tired' and less radiant: collagen and elastin levels decrease and cell turnover begins to slow, making the complexion look a little dull. Tiny blood vessels may appear around the cheeks and nose. Age spots (hyperpigmentation) may also develop due to hormonal changes and overexposure to the sun.

40s - Loss of strength and elasticity

Facial wrinkles begin to deepen, becoming more defined and noticeable. Collagen and elastin levels continue to decrease and the skin starts to lose its strength and elasticity. Because the skin retains less moisture, dryness will continue to increase. 

50s and beyond – Skin begins to sag

Wrinkles deepen and become folds or furrows around the mouth, forehead and face. Facial bone and fat decrease, causing sagging skin to become more prominent. The skin is increasingly drier and more age spots appear. Jowl formation of the cheeks increases and skin tone is more uneven. Lower eyelid bags are more noticeable and neck skin starts to sag.


Sun exposure

Basking in the sun may indeed give us an attractive bronze tan but it is well known that it also causes dry, leathery, wrinkled skin and pigmentation changes. Day creams or make-up with a suitable SPF, for example Advanced Perfecting Shield, or [RECOVER] COMPLEXION SPF50, should be applied when going outdoors to provide protection from UV damage.


Daily exposure to pollution such as smog, cigarette smoke and car exhaust damages the skin's barrier, leading to oxidative stress and premature skin ageing.


Smoking chronically deprives the skin of essential nutrients and oxygen, while reducing collagen and elastin. As such, it results in an uneven skin tone, sagging, fine lines around the lips and a sallow complexion.

Lack of sleep

Our skin repairs and renews itself during sleep. Depriving ourselves of a good night's rest can lead to less cell renewal and a dull complexion.

Unhealthy diet

Proper nutrition is vital for healthy skin. A balanced diet, including foods rich in antioxidants to help combat free radicals/oxidative stress that prematurely age the skin. Drinking too much alcohol also accelerates ageing. 


Our bodies react to stress by releasing a set of hormones, including cortisol. High levels of cortisol cause collagen and elastin to break down, which result in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Furthermore, while under stress, facial expressions, such as scowling or frowning, can also cause wrinkles.

Poor skincare routine

An appropriate daily skincare routine may help delay the skin’s ageing process. Careful cleansing with skin-friendly products, such as our RHA® Micellar Solution, are adapted to both the skin type and the problem being treated and can achieve noticeable improvements.


With age, a distinct facial shape change gradually occurs. A youthful face typically has high rounded cheeks and a defined jawline, forming a triangle shape. As you get older, your face shape becomes an inverted triangle, caused by volume loss (gradual loss of fat under the skin), skin and muscle laxity and loss of facial bone.5,6,14

Face ageing and the Triangle of Youth

Face ageing and the Triangle of Youth

Common features of skin ageing include:4-6,14

  • Lines and wrinkles 
  • Rough, dry skin texture
  • Increased discolouration, brown spots, 
  • Sagging facial shape
  • Hollowing in the tear trough
  • Flatter, sunken cheeks
  • The corners of the mouth point downwards
  • Wider and slacker chin, jaw and neck


While you may have no influence on the natural ageing process, you can take measures to delay premature ageing due to your environment and lifestyle choices. For example, the sun plays a major role in the accelerated ageing of your skin, therefore protecting yourself from UV rays will help reduce premature damage to your skin.7 

Anti-ageing injections using hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are increasingly used to give volume and create contours on the face where they are needed, or where the volume has disappeared with age. They are a temporary, non-surgical option to achieve a younger, healthy-looking appearance.5,7,15
Effective long-term personal skincare using hyaluronic-acid based cosmeceuticals can also help treat the signs of skin ageing.7


1. Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Apr;30(2):87-95

2. Rittié L, Fisher GJ. Natural and sun-induced ageing of human skin. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2015;5(1):a015370

3. Tobin DJ. Introduction to skin aging. J Tissue Viability. 2017 Feb;26(1):37-46

4. Baumann L. Skin ageing and its treatment. J Pathol. 2007;211(2):241-51

5. Emre IE, Cakmak O. Ageing face, an overview – Aetiology, assessment and management. Otorhinolaryngol. 2013;6(3):160-6

6. Coleman SR, Grover R. The anatomy of the aging face: volume loss and changes in 3-dimensional topography. Aesthet Surg J. 2006;26(1s):S4-9

7. Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):308-19

8. Gunn DA, Dick JL, van Heemst D, Griffiths CE, Tomlin CC, Murray PG, Griffiths TW, Ogden S, Mayes AE, Westendorp RG, Slagboom PE, de Craen AJ. Lifestyle and youthful looks. Br J Dermatol. 2015;172(5):1338-45

9. Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Structural characteristics of the aging skin: a review. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2007;26(4):343-57

10. Bouchez C. How Your Face Ages (2012). Available from

11. TEOXANE Data on File. Skincare Revolution Brochure_600104-04

12. Krutmann J, Bouloc A, Sore G, Bernard BA, Passeron T. The skin aging exposome. J Dermatol Sci. 2017;85(3):152-61

13. Chen Y, Lyga J. Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014;13(3):177-90

14. Michaud T, Gassia V, Belhaouari L. Facial dynamics and emotional expressions in facial aging treatments. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;14(1):9-21

15. Olejnik, A., Goscianska, J. and Nowak, I. Significance of hyaluronic acid in cosmetic industry and aesthetic medicine. Chemik 66, 129–135 (2012)

16. TEOXANE Data on File_Recap sheet expert toolbox_500293-01

TEOSYAL RHA® 1, TEOSYAL RHA® 2, TEOSYAL RHA® 3, TEOSYAL RHA® 4, TEOSYAL® KISS, TEOSYAL® ULTRA DEEP, REDENSITY®1, REDENSITY®2 are trademarks of the firm TEOXANE SA. TEOSYAL® KISS and TEOSYAL® ULTRA DEEP also exist with anesthetic : TEOSYAL PureSense KISS® and TEOSYAL® PureSense ULTRA DEEP that contain hyaluronic acid, and 0.3% by weight of lidocaine hydrochloride (local anaesthetic can induce a positive reaction to anti-doping tests). These products are class III medical devices and are regulated health products bearing the CE marking (CE0086) under this regulation. For professional use only. Please refer to instructions for use.

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