Life is all about change. From the constant evolution of our expanding minds to our enhanced consciousness as we get older, the ebb and flow of life shows us many ways how change can be a positive force as we continue to grow and mature. One aspect of life that can be challenging to embrace is the aging process, which changes how our body and skin looks and feels. While aging is a natural part of changes in our skin, the environment, hormonal changes, our genetic makeup, diet and other factors can also have an impact on aging skin.
In order to grasp the aging process, it is important to understand the layers of the skin. First, there is the epidermis (the outer layer) which contains the skin cells and the pigments; the dermis (middle layer) contains the hair follicles, oil glands, blood vessels, and the nerves while the dermis (inner layer) contains fat, sweat glands, and some hair follicles. All of the layers also contain connective tissue and collagen, which provides strength and flexibility to the skin. As we age, production of collagen and fat diminishes, which is why probably why you’ve been seeing this ingredient crop up into more beauty products--offering a way to “pump up” your skin with collagen to restore its flexibility and youthful appearance. However, aging like all changes in life don’t have be a negative aspect of life. Read on to check out some of the common ways the skin changes as you get older:
- Wrinkles: One of the most common signs of aging is the appearance of wrinkles. As a natural part of the aging process, environmental factors, such as sun damage, and lifestyle factors (poor diet, smoking, etc) can accelerate the development of folds, lines, and wrinkles on the skin.
- The skin can get thinner: As we age, the skin can lose its elasticity due to the loss of fat and collagen, which can cause something called elastosis. This causes the skin to become thinner, paler, and even translucent.
- Age spots: As we age, so the does the production of the pigments-containing cells in our skin. This causes the skin to produce large spots, such as aging spots or liver spots. They typically don’t require treatment, but are good to get checked out as they start to make their appearance on your skin.
- Sagging skin: As we age, the neck area can start to drop, making the skin look saggy and loose. This is typically due to the loss of collagen and the skin’s natural fat production. Proper sun protection and a skincare regime for this skin type can help tighten the skin.
- Skin tags: During the aging process, you might see the appearance of raised pieces of skin that come out your chest, neck, or back. These skin tags typically aren’t dangerous and can usually be cut off or removed with a laser by a dermatologist.
- Under eye circles: Another common sign of aging in the skin can be seen under the eyes. For some people this can be seen as dark circles, ‘bags,’ or puffiness. In general, this is due to genetics, loss of elasticity and/or loss of collagen that causes the eye area to visibility change. This can also sometimes make the eye look veiny, hyperpigmented, or red.
- Red or ruddy skin: There are numerous factors that can cause the skin to redden. Certain foods and drinks like wine can cause the skin to flush as well as internal factors like stress can make the skin red. Another cause could be rosacea, which is signified by the appearance of red bumps and visibility broken vessels that acclimate on the skin. While rosacea doesn’t completely go away, it is important to reach out to a dermatologist who can help you better understand certain triggers to avoid, such as prolonged spicy food, stress, sun exposure, and alcohol, to name a few of the reasons why the skin flares.
- Changes in the veins: The cause of swollen blood vessels, varicose veins typically show up in the legs and feet. While usually not serious, varicose veins can lead to blood clots and should be looked out when they first start to make an appearance. Another change is spider veins, which are bundles of broken blood vessels that can be appear purple or red on the legs.
While we can’t stop the aging process, it is important to understand the skin to better understand what is going on and how to treat it.