woman with aging skin

What causes skin aging and how can it be slowed?

7 causes of skin aging and 8 ways to slow it down


Aging skin is an inevitable part of growing older - we will all begin to experience it at one point or another. However, the extent of skin ageing depends on a variety of factors, both biological and environmental - some within our control and some beyond. If you’ve ever wondered what those factors may be and how the skin aging process can be slowed down or reversed, then read on to find out more.
woman holding a Nivea face cream


Skin aging is the term attributed to the natural process that skin goes through as we age. Common signs of aging skin are wrinkles, textured skin, and loose skin. Other signs of skin aging include patches of pigmentation (hyperpigmentation), increased transparency due to thinning of the outer and inner layers of skin (epidermis and dermis), and an increased tendency to bruise.

Skin aging occurs all over the body and is most prevalent in areas where the skin folds, such as eyelids, the neck and the armpits. Thinner skin on the face is most noticeable, due to  tendons and blood vessels becoming more visible. Aging skin will also be fairly noticeable on the arms for this same reason.


While this process is an inevitable part of growing older, there are both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that have an impact. 
woman holding a Nivea Cellular skin serum

Intrinsic factors can be categorised as those that are inherent, such as genetic predisposition. 




Intrinsic factors can be categorised as those that are inherent, such as genetic predisposition. Other intrinsic factors include:

1. Collagen production decreases each year from the early twenties onwards, causing skin to thin and become more fragile with age.

2. Elastin production is responsible for keeping skin taut and also decreases with age. As a result, skin is also less likely to bounce back after injury.

3. Sebaceous glands also produce less sebum over time, which leads to dryness, itchiness, and a slightly textured appearance.




Extrinsic factors are those that occur externally and magnify intrinsic factors. These are most often linked to sudden skin aging. Examples of extrinsic factors include:

1. Excessive sun exposure: UVA and UVB radiation contribute to photoaging, which is the premature aging of skin over time. UVA radiation affects the outer layers of skin (dermis), breaking down collagen and elastin fibres which keep the skin tight. UVB radiation affects the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and can damage the DNA structure of the skin.

2. Pollution: free radicals in the atmosphere can react with the skin’s surface, weakening the skin’s barrier and reducing moisture retention. A weakened barrier can also contribute to premature signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation.

3. Chronically bad diet: a diet consisting of high amounts of fatty foods and lacking in nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins can leave skin looking dull, dry and loose.

4. Smoking: most understand that tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxins that are seriously harmful to heart and lung health. Smokers are also more likely to experience deeper wrinkles on the face due to the effect of tobacco smoke breaking down collagen and elastin fibres in the skin.

While a number of factors are intrinsic and therefore beyond our control, adopting a healthy lifestyle and limiting exposure to pollutants and UV radiation can help to slow the aging process and reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected skin aging.

woman applying Nivea Hydra Skin Effect face cream


Although production of collagen begins to decrease from the early twenties onwards, the first signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles tend not to appear until the mid-to-late twenties. The aging process is gradual and typically occurs in stages.

After fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, people may notice a loss of firmness as collagen and elastin production further slows.

Over time, this loss of collagen decreases overall skin volume, which is more noticeable around the age of 40.

Progressing on to the 50s, you may begin to notice your complexion has dulled, and this is due to a decrease in cell turnover. With this, wrinkles may appear deeper and skin may feel dryer to the touch. Areas that are more frequently exposed to the sun may experience hyperpigmentation or age spots.


woman smiling

If you’re unsure about your skin type, it might be an idea to read our skin type guide since this does play a role in  how your skin will age.

While oily skin may seem problematic from time to time, typically oily skin ages slower than other skin types. Sebaceous glands, which contribute to skin oiliness, help to keep the skin hydrated and plump, maintaining a youthful-complexion. 

Since sebaceous glands slow their production with age, those who are predisposed to overproduction will have an advantage in later life since dry skin can lead to dull and textured skin with age. 


Skin tone also plays a role in skin aging. People with a dark skin tone tend to experience skin aging slower than those with lighter skin. This is partly due to the extra melanin, or skin pigment, which forms a natural barrier against UV radiation.


Now you may be wondering how to reverse aging skin - and, while it isn’t entirely possible, there are ways to slow it down. Below are eight key steps to slow down aging and tightening skin:

1. Wear sun protection: as we’ve already covered ultraviolet (UV) radiation, can contribute to premature skin aging. One of the easiest ways to limit this effect is to apply SPF to exposed areas of skin every day. Factor 30 should be applied as a minimum, with factor 50 being optimum.

Incorporating a face sunscreen into your skincare routine will ensure that you leave the house wearing protection every day. The NIVEA SUN UV Face Specialist Triple Protect Sun Fluid SPF 50+ is brilliant for all skin types thanks to its hyaluron-enriched formula which absorbs immediately into the skin and provides moisturisation and factor 50+ protection.

2. Exercise regularly: raising your heart rate, whether it’s through walking, cycling or any other cardio activity, can increase blood flow and help nourish skin cells to keep them healthy. It’s also a great way to manage stress, another culprit of premature skin aging.

3. Maintain a healthy diet: including antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes can reduce the effect of free radical skin damage. 

Vitamin C, for example, is believed to help reduce skin dryness and the appearance of wrinkles. You can also supplement a healthy diet with skincare products that contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E to prevent free radical damage. 

woman holding a Nivea Sun cream protection

Incorporating a face sunscreen into your skincare routine will ensure that you leave the house wearing protection every day.

woman holding a Nivea Expert lift face cream

4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: exercising, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking can all help to slow down the skin aging process. This is because smoking produces free radicals which reduce collagen and elastin production, while alcohol dehydrates the skin.

5. Use a retinoid: Retinoic Acid (Retinol) is a retinoid found in numerous skincare products. It’s known for regenerating blood vessels within the skin and increasing the production of collagen, which can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can also help to reduce the appearance of age spots, and soften textured areas of skin.

5(a). If you’re pregnant or have sensitive facial skin and are therefore not able to use retinoids, you could opt for a product containing Bakuchiol. It’s a powerful antioxidant that’s also regarded for its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Unsure where to start? Why not try the Cellular Expert Lift Pure Bakuchiol Anti-Age Day Cream SPF30?  The special formula can help to firm skin and redefine facial contours, while the added SPF30 provides a level of protection against UV radiation.

6. Use active skincare ingredients: in addition to retinoids, Q10, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C can help to boost collagen production.

7. Gently cleanse skin twice daily: the foundation of any skincare routine should consist of cleansing your face in the morning and evening to remove any pollution, dirt or dead skin cells that may clog pores and cause irritation. 

Gently cleansing will help to reduce the risk of skin irritation, which can contribute to premature skin aging. Avoid harsh chemicals that can strip the skin of its natural oils, as these keep skin hydrated.

8. Stay moisturised: after both daily cleanses, be sure to apply a moisturising cream to keep skin hydrated. This, combined with other active ingredients mentioned previously, will help to maintain a smooth texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

two girls standing side by side

Following this advice may help to prevent, reduce and even slow the skin aging process - but it’s important to remember that their effectiveness depends on other factors. Age, severity of skin aging and skin type should all be considered when setting expectations.


nivea anti age care products

Daily cleansing and moisturisation form the core of any anti-aging skincare routine - but perhaps you’re unsure how to hydrate aging skin or maximise the effects of your routine. A good starting point is to find the right anti-wrinkle cream for you. 

NIVEA offers a wide range of anti-aging skin care, lots of which contain active ingredients mentioned in this article: Bakuchiol, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and so on. Looking for a recommendation?


Try the NIVEA Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Power Expert Targeted Wrinkle Filler Serum, enriched with Skin Identical Q10 to reduce fine lines and wrinkles in as little as 5 minutes. It’s suitable for the forehead, eye & lip area and nasolabial folds, making it an ideal all-in-one solution for daily use.