What's In This Article?
Why is Our Skin Important?
Do you have the best skin care regimen? Be sure you do. Our skin is very important to our body’s wellbeing and health – and it is one of the first things that starts to change as we grow older. It essentially acts as a barrier for our body against the outside world, and, while it is made up of countless layers, these layers can be grouped into three main groups:
- The epidermis (outer section), which contains skin cells, proteins and pigment.
- The dermis (middle part), which contains skin cells, nerves, blood vessels, oil glands and hair follicles.
- The subcutaneous layer (the skin’s innermost layer), which contains sweat glands, blood vessels, more hair follicles, and fat.
Working together, these 3 layers help regulate your body’s temperature to keep it within a safe, operating window, while also allowing you to sense and detect pain, and help your body maintain a fluid and electrolyte balance.
So, our skin is very important to our body’s health and damage to it can make it less effective as performing its important roles, though most damage to our skin is usually superficial. For this reason, having the best skin care should be a priority for you.
What Changes Does Skin Undergo With Age?
Our skin undergoes several changes as we grow older, especially as we approach middle age and subsequently enter our twilight years.
Before we get on the best skin care practices, here are some common changes that your skin may experience as you age:
Our skin’s epidermis loses pigment over time, leading to discoloration (either in patches or across large parts of the skin.) Specifically, this happens because the number of melanocytes – cells which contain pigment – rapidly drops off as we age.
Pigmented spots, such as age spots, typically only appear in areas of your body which have been exposed to the sun a lot, but they can sometimes also appear on other parts of your skin.
The gradual deterioration of the connective tissue between the different layers of our skin can greatly reduce its elasticity. This, in turn, makes our skin more fragile and prone to getting damaged.
Sebaceous glands in our skin produce less and less oil as we grow old, making it difficult for our skin to naturally moisturize itself. This consequently makes dryness an issue, so it’s very important for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to frequently moisturize all of their body.
Wrinkling and Sagging
As a consequence of our skin getting drier and less elastic, wrinkles tend to form in certain parts of our body as we age. Saggy skin is another thing to watch out for, especially on your neck, back and tummy.
Although the number of skin cells doesn’t significantly change as we age, our skin does become thinner. This makes it more difficult for it to perform some of its duties, such as keeping our body’s temperature within a healthy window, and this can sometimes lead to overheating.
What Causes These Changes?
Some of these changes happen simply due to the natural aging process, with our skin changing as a result of wear and tear and other age-related reasons. For example, our skin becomes less elastic and more prone to overheating because it becomes thinner as we age and loses its natural moisture.
Other changes only happen as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun over the course of your life. Clothing, indoor heating and exposure to certain chemicals and other substances can also lead to skin changes.
Lastly, some medical conditions can also lead to some of these changes, as we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section of this guide.
To prevent or not speed up these skin changes, best skin care options are available for everyone.
Can Medical Conditions Lead to Skin Disorders?
Numerous medical conditions can lead to skin disorders and changes to your skin. For example, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stress can all lead to worsening skin health and result in some of the changes outlined earlier.
However, it should be noted that even if you aren’t suffering from any of these conditions, it’s normal for your skin to experience some changes as you age, and the severity can be increased by many other factors. That’s why doing the best skin care practices can help slow down, if not fully reverse, aging skin.
Best Skin Care Practices
While many of the unpleasant changes to our skin are out of our control, looking after your skin can help you keep it in a better, healthier condition as you age.
Here are some of our best skin care tips:
Use Sunscreen & Limit Sun Exposure
Exposure to sunlight can reduce your skin’s elasticity, lead to dryness and discoloration, and result in the formation of cancerous and non-cancerous skin growth. So, it’s important to use sunscreen whenever you go out on a sunny day, even if you’re not heading to the beach to work on your tan.
Furthermore, you should generally try to limit your sun exposure, as sunscreen doesn’t offer 100 percent protection against the sun and its dangerous UV rays.
Frequently moisturizing becomes increasingly important as you age, because your skin loses its natural moisture and therefore becomes prone to becoming dry and rigid, which can in turn make it more fragile.
You should try a few different moisturizers – including natural ones like coconut oil and castor oil, and synthetic moisturizing products – until you find one that works well for your skin.
Use Anti-Wrinkle & Other Anti-Ageing Products
Anti-wrinkle creams and serums can be applied onto your face to help limit the formation of wrinkles and reverse some of the other signs of ageing to your skin. As with moisturizers, you are likely to need to experiment and try a few different creams until you find the right one for you.
You can also try other anti-ageing products which you can apply onto your face and the rest of your body.
Should I Get Treatment?
There are many different types of treatment for ageing skin, especially for wrinkles on your face. These include things like Botox injections, chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing.
Some of these treatment options are relatively minor and inexpensive, while others, such as a face lift, are more significant – and you should think long and hard about it before moving forward.
Keep in mind that, as these treatment options are all cosmetic, they won’t be covered by your medical insurance, so you’ll need to foot the bill yourself.
But, if you’re willing to pay for treatment and believe getting rid of the wrinkles on your face will make you feel more confident and better about yourself, it’s worth scheduling a consultation and seeing what procedure is best for you.
With the exception of wrinkles and saggy skin, it’s quite difficult to treat most of the other age-related changes your skin experiences; it’s more about preventing the damage from happening in the first place.
Your skin’s health is more important than most people think, and there’s definitely more to it than just its appearance and the number of wrinkles you have.
You should accept that some changes will happen – and that’s out of your control – but it’s nevertheless still a good idea to try to minimize any damage to your skin, especially as a result of exposure to the sun.
Furthermore, you should be sure to invest more time in your skin care as you age (by following our best skin care tips, for example), as this will slow down the effects of ageing to your skin and keep it in a better condition.
As with many things in life, the sooner you start looking after your skin, the better, especially as a lot of the damage that your skin may suffer is irreversible.
A Quick Summary
- Our skin is one of the first parts of our body that starts to show our age, and it is very important to our body’s wellbeing and health.
- Our skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (middle section), and the subcutaneous layer (the innermost layer.)
- Each layer plays a different role and they all work together to help protect your body from the outside world and perform other bodily functions, such as regulating your temperature and maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance.
- As you age, there are many changes that your skin may undergo, including a reduction in natural moisture and elasticity, discoloration, and a general thinning of the skin.
- Some of these changes happen primarily as a result of the natural ageing process, while others come about as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun or certain chemicals.
- Certain medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, can also lead to some of these changes.
- As you grow old, it becomes more and more important to take better care of your skin.
- Some of our best skin care tips include moisturizing at least once a day and applying anti-wrinkle creams and serums onto your face.
- You can also consider getting treatment, such as a chemical peel or Botox, if you are looking to reverse some of the effects of ageing on your face.