The process of general skin ageing starts to affect the way skin looks and feels from around the age of 25. From this point on, the systems that keep skin at optimum health begin to slow down, and the substances that give skin its youthful look are produced to a lesser extent, causing signs that are visible from the outside. A loss of density is one of these, along with loss of volume and wrinkles. The causes of general skin ageing are two-fold. The internal, intrinsic causes are predetermined by our genetics and chronological age and cannot be stopped, however the external factors are linked to lifestyle and can be influenced positively through a holistic approach to prevention.




General skin ageing occurs in specific layers of the skin:

Epidermal layers

  • Changes: Slower cell turnover, reduced lipid production.
  • Outward signs: Rougher, drier texture with fine lines and wrinkles. More sensitive to UV light, less efficient healing process and more open to infection.

Dermal layers

  • Changes: 1% annual decrease in collagen and a decline in elastin levels. Reduced blood flow.
  • Outward signs: A less elastic skin that’s more likely to become damaged and is more prone to wrinkles. Loss of density.

Sub dermal layers

  • Changes: A decrease in both size and number of lipid cells.
  • Outward signs: A loss of volume, deeper wrinkles and hollow cheeks. Impaired wound healing.
The skin is made up of layers, the uppermost being the epidermis. Each one ages in a different way.

How to identify a loss of density

A loss of density tends to affect women especially around and after the menopause. The skin changes and needs more help during this life stage. It’s common to find that the skin feels less resilient. This is often combined with deeper wrinkles and a reduction in radiance.

A loss of density shows itself on the surface in three key ways:

  • Thinner skin. Facial skin appears less elastic and may start to lose its firmness.
  • Deeper wrinkles. As the skin loses the ability to hold its shape, wrinkles become deeper.
  • Skin tone tends to become paler and lose its glow.
The loss of density makes the skin feel less resilient.

Why does this happen to our skin?

A loss of density is for most a natural part of the ageing process and is part of general skin ageing of the skin. This particular concern is partly the result of intrinsic, internal such as hormonal changes, chronological skin ageing and its effect on the skin’s structure.

As we age, the junction between the upper and middle layers of our skin (the epidermis and the dermis) changes. This junction is made up of papillaes. Vessels which lay in the center of each papillae supply the top layer of skin with the nutrients, moisture and oxygen it needs. In younger skin, these are deep and close together. This gives young skin its thickness and smooth texture.

As we get older, the papillae get shallower and become reduced in number. This results in a less flexible, less elastic skin structure and with more wrinkles.

With time, collagen and elastin production also slows, causing a reduction of the substances that make skin elastic.

This makes wrinkles much more likely. Finally, the efficient delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the upper layer of the skin slows with age. It is this slowing down that results in a duller, paler complexion.


In young skin, dense, deep papillae efficiently provide the upper layer of the skin with nutrients, moisture and oxygen.
In older skin, the papillae decrease in density and number. The result is a less efficient system, resulting in a loss of radiance and resilience.

There are some other factors, both internal and external, that are particularly relevant to a loss of density and radiance:

Hormonal changes
As hormonal activity slows, so do some of the processes within the skin. The production of connective tissue is one of them. This means that after the menopause, there are less of the substances produced that give young skin its dense structure and smooth texture. These include Hyaluronic Acid, collagen and elastin. The result is a less substantial look and feel to the skin. 

The effects of sun
Weakening of the skin structure can be compounded by oxidative stress, the effects of the sun, which leads to a breakdown of the collagen and elastin in the dermis. As a result a loss of density and radiance is more noticeable. This can happen alongside an uneven complexion, age spots and skin dryness. Protecting the skin daily from this UV damage with an appropriate SPF product will slow this process, and will also help to prevent the formation of wrinkles and a loss of volume occurring.

The chemicals present in cigarettes have a degrading effect on the collagen and elastin via the process of oxidative stress. Smoking accelerates all elements of skin ageing, including wrinkles and loss of volume.

A decline in the level of oestrogen may lead to an increase in inflammation and may worsen skin conditions such as rosacea.
The sun dramatically speeds up the ageing process.

How to restore density and radiance to the skin

A loss of density can be managed using skincare products alone, or together with more invasive treatments.

Skin care products helping to restore density and radiance can contain the following active ingredients.

Active ingredients

  • Antioxidants
    As general skin ageing is partly caused by oxidative stress, applying antioxidants topically can help the skin to protect itself. This can slow the processes that lead to loss of density and radiance as well as other signs of ageing like loss of volume and wrinkles.

Applying formulas with active ingredients, such as Antioxidants, Arctiin and Apiaceae-Peptides can help the skin to protect itself and slow ageing processes.

Invasive treatments

These treatments should only be carried out by a qualified professional in a clinical environment.

Chemical peels
Glycolic or lactic acid peels aim to improve and smooth the texture of the skin by removing the damaged outer layers. A peel can also help to increase the density and thickness of the skin by promoting collagen synthesis. As dermatological peels leave the skin vulnerable to damage, an SPF protection product like Eucerin Sun Fluid 50+ is strongly recommended.

Laser resurfacing
A laser is used to remove the outer layers of the skin on the face and stimulate the growth of new collagen fibres. As the area heals, the skin thickens and density is improved. However the skin is left exposed to the environment and use of an SPF product like Eucerin Sun Fluid 50+ is essential.

Moreover a loss of density and radiance can be slowed with a holistic approach to prevention.

The aim of a chemical peel is to positively change the texture of the skin by removing damaged layers.
Laser resurfacing also removes damaged layers, while stimulating the growth of collagen.

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