The Changing Needs of Our Skin as We Age
by Deborah Spalla
It’s true that skin cells rejuvenate every few weeks. Even so, the needs of our skin change as we age. The combination of our health, lifestyle habits, genetics and environmental factors all play a role in how our skin ages.
Fortunately, by adopting a healthy skin routine, using the right products, and paying attention to your body’s overall well-being, you can do quite a bit to slow the visible signs of aging.
The Needs of Our Skin Change as We Age
Here are some of the ways you can see the effects of aging on your skin:
- Skin begins to look like tissue or crepe paper – especially if you gently pinch the surface of your skin on spots that gain the most sun exposure (arms and legs, for example).
- Wrinkles begin to appear on the face and neck, most notably around the eyes, from the nose down to the chin, and around the corners of the mouth.
- Skin is drier and itchier.
- Sun spots may begin to appear (these look like larger, darker freckles) or you may notice small waxy patches of skin (seborrheic keratosis), which are non-cancerous growths.
- Skin sags more and/or hangs more loosely on the frame.
- You bruise more easily.
- Your skin may look more transparent and/or fragile, as the connective tissue between the upper and lower skin tissues becomes less strong.
- Age-related acne
The large majority of these changes are the result of waning collagen. Collagen fibers are a major reason skin looks so fresh, smooth and elastic when we’re young. As hormone levels change with age, collagen stores decrease. Hormonal changes also make skin drier or oilier.
While there is no way to completely reverse the aging process, the choices you make now, and as you age, can have a marked difference on how your skin looks and feels.
Steps for Slowing or Healing the Effects of Aging on Your Skin
Here are some of the steps we can take to honor the changing needs of our skin as we grow older:
Continue to focus on overall well-being
All of the things recommended for physical and emotional well-being are good for your skin, too. That means eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. An anti-inflammatory diet is even better. Make it one that is rich in Vitamins A & C, both considered ultimate anti-aging secrets.
Regular exercise increases blood flow and oxygenation, which will give you a more youthful glow and ensure the skin cells are getting the nutrients they need to work their best. If you don’t have a relaxation practice in place, this is a good time to start focusing on breathing, relaxing, gentle stretching, spending time in nature, and other stress-relieving activities that keep worry lines at bay.
Finally, smoking and drinking in excess take their toll on the skin. The simple act of drawing in on a cigarette permanently alters the lines around the mouth, and that’s just the beginning of the ways smoking is bad for your health – and will write its story on your skin. If you smoke or drink more than you should, turn those habits around, seeking out the help of a physician if necessary.
Develop a healthy, daily skin care routine
A skin care routine matters. Your skin depends on your daily skin care routine to look its best – this is true for men and women. A gentle, daily cleansing and moisturizing are the first steps. Your age, personal concerns, and skin type will determine the rest.
The quality of your skin products matters. You may be surprised to learn that the products you’re using are the culprits! The wrong skin care products can cause or exacerbate acne, eczema, rosacea and/or other undesirable and uncomfortable skin ailments. A licensed aesthetician can help you determine what’s right or wrong with current products, and which products or lines may be of better benefit to you.
Protect skin from its environment
From the UV rays of the sun to air pollution, your skin soaks up its environment like a sponge. Do your best to protect it. Sunscreen or full-coverage clothing and a hat are must-haves if you’ll be in the sun. If your work puts you in contact with chemicals or known irritants, use proper protective gear to protect your skin and eyes.
Today’s busy schedules can prevent us from hydrating properly – and that daily quad-mocha isn’t enough to sustain you for the day (hydrationally speaking, that is). Dermatologists know that the skin is one of the first places dehydration shows up – resulting in drier skin, as well as skin that appear more wrinkled or saggy. Drink 8 to 10 cups of water per day to give your skin the full benefit.
The team here at Skin Deep is happy to assess your skin type and the products that will keep you looking your best, whichever decade you’re celebrating these days. Contact us to schedule a consultation and take care of the changing needs of your skin.
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