The Changes Your Body Goes Through as You Grow Older: What Happens with Your Teeth, Skin, and Hair

mature woman

Aging is a natural process that everyone, at some point, will get to experience. It is inevitable. No matter what you do, you will grow older and witness your body changing.

It will happen gradually. First, a few wrinkles will appear on certain areas of your face. A few gray strands will replace your natural hair color, too. By the time you are in your 60s, your appearance has significantly altered. You still will be you, but you now have all these new permanent features that you never had when you were younger.

Some choose to fight it by getting their locks tinted and their lines plumped. Others embrace and celebrate their older but wiser selves.

No matter how you want to approach aging, you should understand how and why they happen.

Not-So-Bright Smile

Brushing your teeth alone will not save you from discoloration. Your teeth go through trouble battles regularly. It chews the food you eat and, if you consume large amounts of sugar, it is also fighting a tough battle with the bacteria that causes tooth decay. If you smoke or drink coffee and wine, you may have to deal with staining, too.

As time goes by, your teeth are also subjected to natural wear and tear. The hard outer layer of the tooth called the enamel gets worn down, exposing the inner layer called the dentin which has a yellow hue.

You can still whiten your teeth and regain a brighter smile. You can use a teeth whitening kit toothpaste to lighten the color of your teeth and erase the damages caused by regular use. However, you might want to be careful. Bleaching can make the teeth more sensitive. It is advisable that you go for a trusted brand or seek recommendations from your dentist.

Wrinkles with Time

When you age, creases and folds appear on your face and body. These are called wrinkles and they are the most common signs of growing older. They appear because the skin becomes thinner and more elastic over time.

During your youth, regardless of what facial expression you make, your skin always bounces back in place. You would not see any permanent lines forming because the skin is still stretchy and can hold moisture very well. As soon as you reach your 20s, the dermis loses collagen and elastin. The skin’s ability to retain moisture is diminished and elasticity is significantly reduced, causing the creases and folds that we call wrinkles.

It is unavoidable, but people can minimize their appearance and avoid it as long as possible. One of the primary causes of wrinkles is sun exposure. While you need sunlight to be healthy, too much of it is damaging, especially for your skin. The ultraviolet rays that come from sunlight damages the elastin, the connective tissue that gives the skin the ability to stretch and snap back in place. Wearing sunscreen regularly will make you look younger. It will also prevent skin cancer which is also caused by sun exposure.

In addition, drinking enough water, saying no to drinking alcoholic and sugary beverages, quitting smoking, and using the right skincare products will ensure that your skin is properly hydrated.

mature woman holding her face

Gray Areas

Another common sign of aging is gray hair. Your locks do not stay the same color throughout your life. For most people, lighter streaks appear in their 30s. By the time they reach their 50s, they have a head full of gray hair.

The color of your hair is determined by two pigments: eumelanin, which gives the dark brown or black color, or pheomelanin, which is responsible for red and yellow hair. These pigments are absorbed by keratinocytes, the cells that make keratin which are the substances that form the hair.

With time, melanocytes, the cells that generate pigments, perish. As a result, less pigment is absorbed by the keratinocytes. This results in gray strands. The keratinocytes also die off with time, trapping pigment with them. These two phenomena combined create a full head of gray hair.

When your hair will turn gray depends on your genetics, but certain factors also contribute. Vitamin deficiency, particularly of D and B12, has been linked with premature graying of hair in some studies. Stress has also been proven to be a contributing factor.

However, if your parents started to gray early, you probably will, too. You can always color your hair to conceal it. Or, you can follow the likes of George Clooney and Meryl Streep, both of whom embraced going gray.

There is nothing wrong with aging. There is nothing wrong with trying to appear young, either.

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