Posted by Roland Beverly, MD on Sep 04, 2014 under

We are all very familiar with the signs of skin aging, some maybe more so than others. Wrinkles, fine lines, brown/dark spots (aka “age spots), droopy features…the list goes on! But why does skin age? Why do some people age differently?

Why does skin age?

You know that everything organic (of or relating to living organisms or carbon compounds) shows signs of aging, even rocks (yes, rocks! Think of those pictures you may have showing the striations in rock formations), but WHY exactly does our skin age? What is happening to it?

As we get older, skin just can’t “bounce back” as it used to. As with the rest of the body, the natural processes of the cells slows down.  Skin becomes thinner and more fragile because it cannot replenish itself as quickly as before. The fatty cell layer begins to decrease, causing skin to lose that plumpness & youthful look. The number of melanocyctes (cells that produce pigment) decreases, making skin appear paler, and the existing melanocytes become larger, resulting in age spots. Loss of bones, cartilage & muscle tone contributes to the droopiness often seen, especially in the face and the arms; when those support systems weaken, so does the structure.

With these changes, the skin begins to show evidence of how it was treated throughout someone’s life (hence why proper skin care for your lifetime is beneficial for decades!). Someone who forgot to wear sunscreen daily is not only more likely to get skin cancer, but also to have age spots and general skin aging as the UV damage of the skin finally does catch up. Never wore your sunglasses so you squinted a lot in your younger days? This may show up as crow’s feet or in droopy skin under the eyes (because, again, the UV rays affected the collagen & elasticity of the skin). We’ll talk more about preventative habits next Tuesday, but the overall idea here is that as skin ages and has less ability to rejuvenate itself and to fight back against damage, skin may age prematurely/faster.

What can I do?

It is never too late to start taking better care of your skin, and your skin will love you for it. Aging skin tends to be drier and more fragile, meaning that you may need a thicker moisturizing cream and you may need to look for products for sensitive skin. Use a gentle cleanser. Whatever products you put on your face – be it a cleanser, moisturizer or anything- apply it gently to avoid pulling on skin.

Are there signs of aging on your skin that you want to minimize or try & reverse? If yes, you may want to get anti-aging skin care products that can reduce the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles, tighten skin, fade dark spots & discoloration, or help correct whatever aging skin concern you may have. Cosmetic procedures are also available that can make your skin appear more youthful & reduce wrinkles. We will talk about all of these options this month, so stay tuned!

 

For More Information:

Medline Plus: Aging Changes in Skin 

BLOG DISCLAIMER: Information on this blog is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any skin ailment. Please make an appointment with your physician for personalized medical advice. 

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