Skin Changes With Aging

Skin changes with aging
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Skin changes with aging

Skin changes with aging are associated with environmental exposure, genetic makeup, nutrition, and other factors. If we compare our skin that is exposed to the sun with skin that is usually covered with clothing, you can see a difference. Sun and pollutant exposure age us.

Let’s review some information before we talk about skin changes with aging.

Skin anatomy

skin changes with aging

 

Although skin has many layers, it can generally be divided into three main parts:

Epidermis-The outer part of the skin which contains skin cells and  pigment.

Dermis -The middle part of the skin which contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil glands. The dermis is important as it provides nutrients to the epidermis.

Below the skin lies the subcutaneous fat.

 

Youthful skin

According to Scientific American, “Normal healthy skin has a nice epidermis with a smooth cornified, or outer, layer that acts as a good barrier to water and environmental injury. Skin color and tone is even and unblemished. Components such as collagen (which provides skin firmness), elastin (which supplies skin elasticity and rebound) and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs (which keep the skin hydrated) are all abundant.”

What does the skin do?

The skin protects our body from the surrounding environment. Our skin helps our body control its temperature and provides protection from the sun.

Skin changes with aging -why do these changes occur?

Skin changes with agingThe most common reason for aging skin is sun exposure. Sun exposure causes free radicals which damage our skin.

Hormone changes that occur with aging will affect you skin, hair and nails. Estrogen keeps our skin firm, plump and smooth. The skin is able to keep hydrated. As we approach menopause the estrogen levels drop causing our skin to become dry and dull.

Skin changes with aging

As we age the outer layer of the skin referred to as the epidermis thins. The skin may appear translucent allowing blood vessels underneath to be more visible.

Age spots may appear.

The skins elasticity decreases which is known as elastosis. You will notice more lines on the forehead aa well as around the eyes and mouth. You may notice sleep creases when you wake up.

Our oil glands decrease with aging leaving the skin dry. You may notice the problem is worse in the winter time, heated indoor air is drying to the skin.

The facial skin may look brown and leathery with aging.

The skin becomes more fragile. This is caused by a flattening of the area where the two layers of skin come together.

Blood vessel walls also thins, this may lead to spider veins.The blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile, this leads to bleeding under the skin.

There is a decrease in facial bones which lead to loss of support of the facial bones. Our malar (cheek) pad drops with age given a deflated look. In addition, there is loss of subcutaneous fat which worsens the sunken in look.

You may notice pigmented growths referred to as seborrheic keratosis or red flaky areas referred to as actinic keratosis. Skin tags and warts may also occur.

Lose of nasal support also occurs which results in a hanging tip.

Skin changes with aging among different skin types

The cells that provide pigment to our skin referred to as melanocytes increase in size in all skin types. Natural pigments seem to provide some protection against sun-induced skin damage.

Blue-eyed, red haired people show more aging skin changes than people with darker skin.

Help prevent skin changes with aging

Avoid rubbing and pulling the skin. This will stretch out he skin and cause fragile vessels to burst.

Protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun exposure will increase loss of elasticity and sun spots. Look for a sunscreen that is an SPF of at least 30 and has both UVA and UVB protection.

Avoid smoking which can produce free radicals. Free radicals damage cells leading to wrinkles.

Use a moisturizer daily, skin heals quicker if it is moist.

Look for skin care that boosts cell turnover, stimulates collagen growth, and prevent DNA-damaging free radicals. I use EVER Skin Care

Consider Vitamin A derivatives as retinol which decreases the rate of collagen breakdown. Ever has a retinol serum that I use overnight.

Eat a healthy diet full of colorful vegetables which contain anti oxidants. Avoid sugar and refined grains as they increase inflammation and will further age your skin.

An omega 3 fatty acid supplement can help hydrate the skin

Drink plenty of water. Your skin looks better when it is hydrated. Avoid the straw as it will increase the risk of lines around the mouth.

Exercise can help increase blood flow to our skin.

Sleep on your back. If you feel the need to sleep on your stomach or side use a soft pillow case that your skin can glide over YANIBEST 19 Momme 100% Pure Natural Mulberry Silk Pillowcase for Hair & Facial Beauty Queen Standard King Size, 10 Colors White Color Pillow Shams Cover with Hidden Zipper(white, Queen size 51X76 cm)

Avoid smoking which can age the skin.

Avoid too much alcohol as it dehydrates and ages the skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology you should avoid repetitive expressions, “When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.

Avoid hot baths and soaps that can dry out the skin. I use nutrient enriched cleansing balm from Ever Skincare

Treatment of skin changes with aging

Skin changes with aging in your thirties

The estrogen levels will start to dip in the 30’s. In addition, collagen production and hyaluronic acid production which hydrates your skin also decreases. You may notice your skin is dry and and there may be some light age spots. Consider starting a retinol product that will thicken the skin. I have used prescription retinoic acid without much success. I have tried using it just once a week or diluting it with moisturizer, I seem to get red and flaky from it. Currently, I am using Ever Overnight Retinol Serum. It hydrates the skin and gives it a dose of retinol. Retinol is not as strong as prescription Retin A but it is easier for me to tolerate.

Skin changes with aging in your forties

As you enter into your forties, you may notice the development of darker age spots. The skin will continue to lose elasticity and look dull. Broken blood vessels may appear. The cheek pad will start to drop and you may notice hollowness below your eyes. The lack of soft tissue support will make the fat in your lower eyelids more visible, this will contribute to lower eye puffiness.

Make sure your cleanser is not stripping your aging skin. Our skin needs oil to stay hydrated.

Use an alpha hydroxy acid to help exfoliate and lighten dark spots.

A 20% vitamin C serum can help lighten age spots and protect againist sun damage during the day.

Retinol is strongly recommended in your 40s to help prevent further collagen breakdown.

.An anti aging cream with peptides and hyaluronic acid can help hydrate the skin. Your skin will need a moisturizer to lock in moisture and remember to apply sunscreen during the day.

Skin changes with aging in your fifties

Estrogen levels decrease even further as well as the amount of collagen in your skin. You skin may appear dull, dry and loose. Taking collagen supplements to increase collagen in the skin has not been proven. You may also notice your pores may appear larger and there may be an increase in the light hairs on your cheek. The amount of vitamin C in your skin will also decrease leaving you more susceptible to sun damage. Inflammation increases with age which will increase the risk of redness and irritation.

Look for products that have hyaluronic acid and ceramides which will increase hydration. Some skincare products contain plant extracts which are rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C will decrease sunspots and help prevent further damage of the skin whereas Niacinamide will decrease redness.

What do you do to help prevent skin changes with aging?

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About Sharon T McLaughlin MD FACS 172 Articles

I am a physician who is interested in providing health information and health tips so that we may live healthy lives.

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