The skin is the largest organ of the human body, covering its entire surface area and accounting for around 16% of our body weight. It acts a tough, multiple-layer physical barrier protecting us from damage, infection and drying out. As we age, the number of collagen and elastic fibres, in a layer known as the dermis, decreases; as a result, the skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag and wrinkle. Skin ageing, however, is more than just creases in its surface. Over the years, the skin's colour and texture also alter – deeper signs of the ageing process at work.
Science has provided us with a number of measures that help to halt these changes. These include protecting the skin from the Sun, as its damaging ultraviolet rays are well-known to contribute to severe premature ageing; and to abstain from smoking, which - among a multitude of negative impacts on one's body - also accelerates skin ageing. But science has also provided us with a number of compounds that may lessen the effects associated with getting old. There is in fact much research going on in the field, with a number of scientists devoting their lives to uncovering the secrets behind fine-looking skin.
One such scientist is Dr Paul Matts, a Research Fellow in Research and Development for Health and Beauty Care products at Procter and Gamble, who has been involved in skin-care research and development for the past 17 years. He has worked on fundamental skin research, the development of new methods to measure the characteristics of skin and is currently working closely with development teams to identify new technologies with the eventual aim of bringing technical data to life.