Aging of the Skin

When the skin is normal and healthy, it has a smooth epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. The healthy layer of stratified keratinised squamous epithelium provides a barrier to the factors that have the potential for injuring the inner cells of the body (McLafferty, Hendry, & Farley, 2012). However, the aging of the skin is characterized by the epidermis becoming less firm and elastic (Anonymous, 2016). The aging process renders it difficult for the skin to perform its protective function.  There are various components of the skin that are affected by the aging process, including collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs. When the skin is young and healthy, these components are in abundance, but with time, they are depleted. As one proceeds through the lifespan, there are intrinsic aging processes that occur naturally. After the age of 20, the production of collagen declines, making the skin thinner and more fragile. The collagen fibers also become cross-linked, leading to a decline in elasticity (Mader & Windelspecht, 2015). Also, the production of elastin and GAGs start to reduce. The changes are the basis for the wrinkling of the skin through a person’s lifespan.

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Major research on slowing the aging of the skin has focused on the role played by Vitamin D in the healthy functioning of the skin. Findings from recent studies have revealed that the vitamin D endocrine system (VDES) has an important role in regulating the skin’s aging process (Reichrath, 2012). The findings necessitate the production of skin products, which are aimed at making the skin young and healthy for long. Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have produced lotions and serums for the skin which are purported to restore the youthful nature of the skin (Anonymous, 2016). By altering the status of vitamin D, the products are meant to restore the deteriorating function of the skin, retaining its youthful functions.

Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Living Proof, and Olive Laboratories have gone a step further from developing skin products to slow down the aging of the skin. The product is in the form of a second skin, crosslinked polymer layer, which has the physical, optical, and mechanical characteristics of healthy skin. The working of the new product is to offer protection, smoothening, and tightening of the natural skin. In short, the product is expected to work by restoring the elements of the skin lost through the aging process. The visible layer creates the necessary barrier, improving the cosmetic value of the skin, and localizes treatment to the target area.

Besides the intrinsic aging process that occurs naturally, there is the extrinsic aging, which is as a result of the environmental damage. Thus, the protective layer is expected to offer the protection against radiation, toxins, and other environmental damages. While other similar products have failed in the past, the experts leading the development of the second skin indicate that the experimentation carried out so far has the potential for restoring the health and aesthetic properties of the skin (Anonymous, 2016). However, the actual effectiveness of the new product is yet to be proven in real-life use. The reality is that the products tend to focus on the extrinsic aging of the skin and do not prove the working of the products in reversing the intrinsic aging of the skin. Hence, the pharmaceutical companies and other experts are yet to produce an anti-aging product that will work on attaining the fountain of youth.

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