It is never too early or too late to start caring for your skin and preventing signs of age. If we could just turn back the hands of time. Remember when your skin was firm and full of luster? We can get it back.
Yes, like everything else our skin ages. It can start showing signs early if we practiced bad habits. All that sun exposure and not taking proper care eventually shows this includes the area around our eyes.
Age brings our skin; wrinkles, lines, cracking, dryness, poor circulation, roughness and itching. Proper care can slow the effects of aging.
Mature or aging skin can be both oil and moisture dry. The skin has lost its elasticity causing it to sag. This is especially noticeable around the eyes, cheeks and neck. It tends to be fragile and quite sensitive. The skin will probably have a build-up of dead cells on the surface. Changes in pigmentation can also develop like age spots.
If the skin appears oily versus dry, some signs of aging like wrinkles will be diminished. However, this may present seborrheic keratosis.
Checking your spots or keeping a journal will help alert you to signs of skin cancer. Seeing suspicious changes should be followed up with your dermatologist.
Changing bad habits by practicing moderation or avoidance altogether will improve some signs of aging skin. We can’t totally eliminate it though, we all age and it’s a natural process of our body.
Skin Changes Due to Age
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Rough texture and itching
- Skin tags
- Poor circulation
- Seborrheic keratosis and cherry angiomas
- Sagging skin around eyes, cheeks and jowls (jawline)
- Transparent or thinning skin
Our Aging Skin
Through this process, physical and chemical changes occur in the internal structure. This affects the functioning and appearance of the skin. The tissues of the dermis and subcutaneous layers become thinner. The production of collagen and elastin diminish, causing those lines and wrinkles to form.
Add to this, the walls of capillaries tend to harden decreasing the blood circulation. This may appear as tiny blue lines (broken capillaries).
Sweat glands also become less active. There is some loss of the skins ability to control temperature, making it sensitive to changes in heat and cold. By reducing the circulation this also causes the supply of oxygen and nutrients to diminish.
As we age, the sebaceous glands aren’t secreting sebum (oil) to lubricate the skin as much. The stratum corneum layer dries out resulting with cracking and a rough texture.
Changes with skin tone can also occur. Freckles and age spots start to make an appearance. Growths can develop like skin tags, keratosis, corns and calluses.
These aging effects usually start showing in our forties. If the skin has been damaged due to extensive exposure from the sun this could begin earlier and be worse. The epidermis becomes thick and appears rough, lines and wrinkles are deeper and keratoses occur.
Actinic keratoses are premalignant and should be treated by your dermatologist.
Common Skin Conditions as We Age
Wrinkles tend to be the most visible sign of aging. They develop from chronic sun exposure and due to the skin losing its flexibility. Smokers usually have more crow’s feet and wrinkles around the mouth.
Dryness due to loss of sebum is common as we age and may also be caused by health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease.
Age spots or sun damage produces leathery, brown patches that are rough in texture. These appear on sun exposed areas of the body, especially the face but hands and forearms as well.
Certain medications can cause itchy skin. Scratching can lead to an infection and because of the skins thinning this can also bring on bleeding.
Skin tags can be seen. They are small; typically flesh colored raised growths on the surface. Women are more prone to these. They are usually found on eyelids, neck, armpit, chest and groin area.
Bruising may be noticed now. This may be due to taking blood thinners.
Aging can also make veins and bones more noticeable with our thinning skin.
Our skin takes longer to heal scratches, cuts and insect bites.
Skin cancer may develop if your history included chronic sun exposure. Many will develop basal cell carcinoma (images) or squamous cell carcinoma.
Treatment for Aging Skin
Wrinkles can be improved with the use of tretinoin (retinol) especially when they are due to sun damage. Apply this product to areas at night.
Dry skin needs to be hydrated. Applying moisturizers will help. Using an aloe vera mask will smooth the skin.
Age spots may be removed by your dermatologist using a couple different procedures. There are lightening products to improve the appearance.
Skin tags are harmless but very irritating. They tend to get caught on clothing. If this is bothersome, you can talk to your dermatologist about removing them.
If you are concerned and unsure how you have developed bruises, talk to your doctor. There are over-the-counter products to help with the discomfort and pigment.
Skin cancer may be a concern if there is a change in your spots or the skins appearance. This should be examined by your dermatologist. For your health have a yearly skin exam.
Always protect your skin and eyes as well. Wear your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. Do a self-exam monthly.
How to Replace Collagen
Returning collagen to skin with products containing collagen can be used on the surface. Taking supplements can help from the inside. Shop for products listing “hydrolyzed collagen” or “collagen hydrolysate.” This form breaks collagen down to peptides that are easier for our body to absorb in liquids.
Increase your vitamin C by eating fruits and vegetables rich with this antioxidant. Vitamin C helps boost our body’s collagen production.
Having a regular skincare routine can help bring back firmness but this takes time. Stick with it! Your skin will boost its own natural production of elastin and collagen.
Special Attention with Age
Sun exposure, stress, nutrition deficiencies and alcohol are all irritants to the skin and therefore harmful. They break down collagen and elastin.
Face care should be continued to the neck area. The décolletage can show telltale signs of aging early. Cleanse, tone, moisturize and protect here as well.
Exfoliate at least once a week to encourage cell turnover.
Hydrate your skin! Our body cannot store water so we need to replenish. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help with this.
Consider adding serums, eye creams and other treatment products to your skincare routine. The improvement will not only affect your appearance but also your self-esteem.
If your skin is not sensitive, you may try a topical retinol (form of vitamin A) to smooth fine lines, uneven skin tone and dark spots.
Other Suggestions for Aging Skin
Weight gain can show in several areas, like the jowl line, adding years to the appearance. Sugar can lead to the loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. Improving the diet and exercising can maintain weight and improve your look.
There is a connection between gut health and our skin. Eating healthy helps with digestion and gets things moving, restoring gut microbiome improves the appearance of our skin.
It is always important to get enough sleep each night. During our sleep our body is repairing, detoxifying and our hormones are being balanced. Sleeping improves the circulation in the eye area decreasing puffiness and dryness.
Excessive inflammation can also break down collagen. So de-stress often and keep stress hormones at bay.
Don’t pick at your skin this can cause scars that make you look older. When you are picking or pulling at your skin this causes damage and creates irritation, scars and also wrinkles.
Our lips thin too as we age due to decrease in collagen, UV damage, smoking and excessive inflammation. Don’t forget to apply SPF to your lips. This can be found in lip balms, purchase a rating of at least 30. There are also lip mask with collagen available.
Hands can develop dark spots and crepey skin. Apply moisturizer after washing (and using hand sanitizer, Refer to CDC & WHO websites for current updates on COVID-19). Wear your gloves outside during winter. Pamper your hands with a hand mask.
Not all age spots are the same. Have them checked out by your dermatologist each year.
Have you developed any areas that concern you?
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