Confidence is having belief in your ability to accomplish something. This most often translates as self-belief but can also refer to other areas, such as your environment or relationships with others. As an example of self-belief, if you walk into a room and know that you look good, it allows you to enter the room with confidence and command attention without actually saying anything.
Someone can have extreme confidence in a certain area while lacking it in another. For example, someone might be confident about their physical appearance but lack confidence when speaking to large groups. Confidence is not something that we either have or don’t have. There are many levels of ability when expressing this trait.
Perhaps a factor that affects confidence significantly is aging simply because it can show on the skin.
How Aging Affects the Skin
The aging process is the gradual loss of structure and function that occurs in all body parts. The skin is a highly visible organ, so signs of aging such as wrinkles, reduced collagen content, and altered pigmentation are all evident. As skin ages, it also becomes thinner with less blood flow, which further contributes to changes in physiology and appearance.
Skin aging is also associated with a decrease in subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin), which may result from a combination of factors including weight loss and, among women, hormonal changes during menopause. Retention of fat within the skin can create rolls where it accumulates, like on the back of your arms.
Aging is a natural process that happens due to a variety of reasons:
1. Breakdown of Collagen
Collagen, responsible for the tensile strength and resilience of the skin, starts to break down after reaching peak levels at around age 30 and declines with each passing decade following. This results in a thinner dermis and a loss of its supportive functions. Reduced collagen also decreases skin’s ability to rebound after injury or trauma.
Fine lines are caused due to the breakdown of collagen fibers that support the epidermis. Wrinkle formation happens due to the breakdown of dermal connective tissue components such as collagen, elastin, reticulum fibers, and glycosaminoglycans (GAG).
2. Increased Free Radicals
As we age, there is also an increase in free radicals that destroy proteins such as laminin and dermal glycoprotein. Changes in coloration are linked to a decline in melanocyte cells and increasedlipofuscin pigment granules, which inhibit the transfer of nutrients through the cell membrane.
Photoaging (also called solar damage) is a change in appearance due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or artificial sources, such as tanning beds or sun lamps. It is thought that skin cancer and wrinkling can result from chronic UV exposure. Long-term UV exposure has been shown to cause cumulative damage to DNA and RNA within the skin cells. A buildup of mutations within these molecules leads to errors during replication, leading to tissue abnormalities, malignancies, and cancer.
The combination of changes in skin and fat may make you appear heavier than you actually are. This can affect how others view you and how you feel about yourself and your appearance overall.
In fact, a recent study found that women who perceive themselves to be heavy have higher rates of depression and anxiety compared with those who perceive themselves as having a normal weight. Especially for postmenopausal women who have experienced a decline in estrogen levels, losing too much weight can reduce muscle mass throughout the body, including the arms and legs.
How to Feel More Confident as Your Age
Everyone ages-that’s something you have no control of. What you can is how you approach it, and these ideas may help you feel more confident as you go through different skin changes:
1. Practice Self-acceptance and Awareness
If you don’t accept who you are now and understand why, no amount of primping or outside validation will help you feel confident. Examine yourself closely right now.
What do you like about yourself? What aspects of your character do you admire? And what needs work? You’re never going to improve if you don’t start with an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Change What You Can
Don’t condemn yourself for wanting to look and feel good at your age, especially if this helps boost your confidence. You won’t have to be afraid either, as you now have plenty of options to achieve this.
Facelift treatment today is less invasive than it was before, as incisions are smaller and fewer. This also means that downtime is shorter, but the results are more long-term. Other options like fillers and Botox can provide short-term strategies to help deal with wrinkles.
3. Do the Things You Love
Doing the things you love reminds you that if you can’t have fun while you’re doing it, then maybe not everyone should be doing it. This is another argument for dropping the guilt and focusing on enjoying each day as best you can. Life isn’t meant to be drudgery. It’s meant to be savored as much as possible-especially as the years go by.
Life is all about choices. When it comes to aging, it’s either you embrace it or you don’t. But know that denying and holding a pity party because of how your appearance has changed will only make you feel worse, dragging your confidence down.