Changes in the skin are natural parts of aging. When you know how and why these changes occur, you will be better able to look and feel your best during your older years. Confidence and beauty can be yours, regardless of your age.

woman washing face

The Skin’s Layers

Human skin has a number of layers. As a person ages, each of these layers are affected.

The visible part of your skin is called the epidermis. The epidermis consists of proteins, pigment, and cells.

The layer located beneath the epidermis is called the dermis. It consists of oil glands, hair follicles, nerves, and blood vessels. The primary function of the dermis is to provide the epidermis with essential nutrients.

Underneath the dermis is a layer called a subcutaneous layer. It consists of fat, hair follicles, blood vessels, and sweat glands.

All three of these layers have both elastin fibers and collagen fibers within connective tissues.

Changes That Occur During Aging

As you age, changes begin to occur in all three layers of the skin, as well as in the connective tissues.

The epidermis starts to become thinner and more fragile. As the cells in the epidermis that contain pigment begin to decrease, aging skin starts to appear lighter than when you were younger, However, you may find spots of pigment on some parts of your skin. Most often found on the hands and face, these pigment spots are commonly known as liver spots.

Fragile skin is also caused by blood vessels in the dermis. Your skin may be more prone to bleeding and bruising when you are older.

Less oil is produced in the skin during aging. This can cause your skin to feel itchy or dry.

Aging skin also includes changes in the connective tissues. Your skin will not have as much elasticity and strength as it had in the past. Your skin may begin to appear leathery, rather than smooth and soft.

Why Skin’s Aging Process Is Not The Same For Everyone

You may have noticed some people’s skin appears to show signs of aging faster or slower than others. Although aging is a natural process, it does not affect everyone the same way. A number of factors determine how aging affects your skin.

One factor is basic genetics. There is much you have inherited from your parents, and one is how quickly or slowly you show signs of aging. Although there is nothing you can do about genetics, it is the only factor over which you have no control.

There are other factors that you can control. One is basic nutrition. The sooner you develop a healthy, balanced diet, the better your chances are of retaining your youthful appearance for as long as possible. The nutrition you put into your body affects your skin.

Sleep is a second factor you can control. While you may have noticed dark circles around your eyes when you do not get enough sleep, this is only one aspect of how lack of sleep can affect your skin. Your skin will be healthier and more youthful if you make sleep a priority.

woman sleeping

Smoking is a lifestyle factor that results in premature aging of skin. While it affects the overall health of your skin, smoking also leads to wrinkles. For smooth, bright skin, give up your smoking habit.

While all of these factors influence your skin’s aging, the lifestyle factor that causes the most damage to skin is exposure to ultraviolet rays. This includes tanning salons as well as direct sunlight. Individuals who believe deep suntans look nice when they are young generally regret it when they are older.

Ultraviolet rays damage the skin, and sunburns damage it even more. Your skin will lose its natural health and beauty, and take on a leathery appearance. Suntans and sunburns also significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. If you believe a suntan is essential, take the safe approach and use a cosmetic product made for this purpose. Your skin can be tanned and beautiful without prematurely aging and serious health risks.

What Can You Do About Aging Skin?

There are three common approaches to skin that is showing signs of aging. One approach is to purchase a variety of cosmetic products that claim to restore aging skin to its youthful appearance. A second approach is to spend a considerable amount of money on cosmetic surgery to repair sagging skin and wrinkles. A third approach is the old-fashioned notion that a person should simply accept the signs of aging, and grow old gracefully. None of these approaches are very useful.

If you are noticing fine lines or wrinkles on your skin, you can start by addressing the lifestyle factors that cause premature aging. While you may not be able to look twenty years old if you are sixty years old, some changes can make a difference. Your skin will start to look nicer if you take a healthy diet and sleep seriously. If you smoke cigarettes, beautiful skin is an incentive to quit the habit.

Use a good sunscreen or sunblock whenever you are outdoors. You need these products in the wintertime as well as during the summer. Reapply the product after any physical activity that produces perspiration. Stay out of direct sunlight whenever possible, and avoid tanning salons.

If you use cosmetics, the key to younger-looking skin is to use cosmetics sparingly. Heavy cosmetics can make lines and wrinkles more noticeable.

You can also ask your doctor or a dermatologist to recommend a moisturizer. Although moisturizers will not make lines and wrinkles disappear, they can keep your skin soft and smooth.

Natural aging is a process you cannot stop or change. However, there are many factors you can change so you can continue to look your best. You do not need to look your age, or older than you are. When you know how and why your skin ages, the factors that influence your skin’s aging, and steps you can take to keep your skin healthy, you can be beautiful regardless of your age.