Aging is a complex, progressive process that leads to functional and esthetic changes in the skin. Aging is an inevitable process for all living organisms. In humans the skin is the tissue most markedly affected.
There are two types of skin aging:
Age-dependent/chronological aging is also known as natural aging and is visible as wrinkling on the skin.
Premature aging/photo-aging is caused by extrinsic factors such as continuous, long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
The early symptoms of photo-aging includes the following
Dyspigmentation (any abnormal increase or decrease in the production or distribution of skin pigment) and the formation of wrinkles around regions of skin commonly exposed to sun, namely the eyes, mouth and forehead.
Spider veins on face and neck
Loss of color and fullness in lips
Symptoms of photo-aging attributed to prolonged exposure to UV
Wrinkles deepen and forehead frown lines can be seen even when not frowning.
Telangiectasias (spider veins) most commonly seen around the nose, cheeks and chin.
Skin becomes leathery and laxity occurs.
Solar lentigines (age spots) appears on the face and hands.
Possibly pre-cancerous red and scaly spots (actinic keratoses) appear.
Cutaneous malignancies (skin cancer – melanoma and non-melanoma types.
Elastin is a protein found in connective tissue which is responsible for the elasticity of the skin and lungs. This protein is catalysed by the enzyme elastase. Degradation of elastin increases with age and/or repeated UV-radiation, leading to skin aging.
More and more research is being conducted every day on medicinal uses of essential oils. How wonderful to have new studies to validate what people for centuries have been using essential oils for all along and of course finding new uses.
The first studywe will check out is that elastase activity increases with age, fragmenting collagen and elastin, leading to a reduction in the elasticity of the skin subsequently leading to the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks. Researchers investigated how essential oils for the skin may be useful anti-aging agents by acting as elastase inhibitors. The study used lemon, juniper, grapefruit and black pepper oils all showing strong in vitro (human skin cells in artificial culture medium) inhibition. The best essential oils for skin protection found from this investigation werelemon, juniper, grapefruit and black pepper. The results of this study demonstrate a possible rationale for the use of essential oil massage as a preventive treatment for cutaneous wrinkling and aging.
Study number two evaluated essential oils for aging skin. The skin is vulnerable to free radical damage because of its contact with oxygen and with other environmental stimuli. Scientists decided to use lemon oil for their experiment. Lemon oil is endowed with a strong antioxidant activity making it capable of inhibiting free radical-mediated reactions, as was evaluated in vitro and in vivo (living organisms – humans). The present study demonstrated that topical application of lemon oil on healthy volunteers significantly increased the anti-oxidative potential of skin surface, thus highlighting the effectiveness of a natural antioxidant in the anti-aging management of skin. Once again finding essential oils for wrinkles is a step in the right direction for a very good natural treatment.