As You Age - Your Skin

Publication Date: 
Wed, 06/01/2016
By: Alere Staff

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The old saying that beauty is only skin deep is something we’ve all heard. Whether that’s true or not is a debatable perspective. What’s not debatable is the importance of taking care of our skin all throughout our lives. 

We have a keen interest in remaining as youthful appearing as possible for as long as possible. With the skin being the largest organ of the human body and visible to ourselves in the mirror and to others, it is often regarded as the showpiece of that youthfulness.

As we age, however, just like the rest of our body, our skin does undergo changes. These changes are not just wrinkles and sagging skin, but also physiologic alterations that put us at increased risk of skin injury. People who take an anticoagulant like warfarin are, of course, already at an increased risk of bruising and bleeding, so it is a good practice to be aware of the effects of aging on our skin. 

With age, the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, thins and becomes more delicate as the fat layer beneath it diminishes. Skin tears and bruises appear more readily as the fragile blood vessels that no longer have a significant fat layer of protection are subject to wear and tear. Even a minor bump can cause a hematoma for people on anticoagulants. In addition, skin becomes less sensitive to heat, cold and touch as it gets older. Since it can take up to four times longer for aging skin versus younger skin to heal itself from an injury, it is important to take appropriate safety measures to avoid harm.1 

Regular healthy day to day habits such as routine exercise, eating a nutritious well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, minimizing alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking and keeping the skin moisturized are important preventive measures for maintaining healthy skin as we grow older. Lastly, but certainly not least, protecting your skin from the sun with frequent, liberal applications of sunscreen and wearing loose clothing and hats when outside is of utmost importance. 

Healthy lifestyle adaptations can not only protect your skin from accelerated effects of aging, but also give this vital organ a chance to repair itself from previous damage. You may find yourself looking and seeing healthier skin…..and maybe even a more youthful you! 

References:

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Aging Changes in Skin. MedlinePlus. Sept 15, 2014. Retrieved from the website: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004014.htm.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. What Causes Our Skin to Age? www.aad.org. 2015. Retrieved from the website: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/younger-skin.
  3. National Institute on Aging. Skin Care and Aging. MedicineNet.com. Mar 24, 2006. Retrieved from the website: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=60686.