A Answers (5)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredYour skin changes in many important ways as you age. For starters, your body's production of collagen slows down. Collagen is a fiber-like protein that gives skin strength and flexibility. Production of other vital proteins in the skin tapers off, too. Your body also replaces skin cells at a slower rate as you age. These and other influences cause skin to develop wrinkles and other changes, such as age spots and freckles. These skin changes may be more pronounced if you spend a lot of time in the sun or smoke tobacco. In addition to wearing sunscreen regularly and avoiding tobacco, there are other steps a dermatologist may suggest you take to help keep your skin youthful looking.
Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
Thinner, duller, less vibrant is what you can expect from your skin as you age but you get to control how fast those changes occur in your skin:
Skin that's in its natural 40sbecomes thinner. The skin becomes more translucent and capillaries show through. And those capillaries increase in number as a response to years of inflammation from sun damage. Signs of photoaging - such as wrinkles, age spots, and uneven pigmentation - may show up, especially if your parents or you weren't diligent about sun protection during childhood and in your 20s and 30s. Your skin will produce less oil naturally in your 40s, leading to increased dryness. Cell turnover also is slower, which can cause skin to appear dull.
In your typical 50s, you may experience a deepening of facial lines and wrinkles due to the loss of subcutaneous fat, moisture loss, and accumulated sun damage. As skin elasticity declines, skin may start to sag, especially around the jaw line and eye area. If you are postmenopausal, the related drop in estrogen can make your skin thinner, dryer, and more easily irritated. Hydrating moisturizers will decrease water loss but can lead to unnecessary dependence on them (you'll feel like you always need them). Vitamin A creams increase the water content of the skin, and vitamin E can moisturize the skin in a more natural way. Regular exfoliation is a good start, decreasing the thickness of the dry, rough epidermis.
If typical and natural, in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, cell turnover and skin healing are even slower, and your skin may be very dry, as well. Mature skin may need special care, starting with hydrating moisturizers and regular exfoliation to encourage cell turnover.
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What happens naturally as you age is that fibroblasts decrease in number, and fewer fibroblasts mean less collagen and elastin, and that means the internal scaffolding begins to get shaky andskin loses its bounce-back-ability. Add in the millions of times you’ve smiled, frowned, winked, and yawned -- no one keeps a totally straight face -- and you’ve etched in a grid of furrows and wrinkles. Fat shrinkage beneath the surface contributes to deeper folds. Skin tends to become drier over time too, especially after menopause, partly because oil and sweat production slow and partly due to hormonal changes -- an effect stress can mimic, by the way.
In addition, the skin’s water-holdingglycosaminoglycans(GAGs) decrease with age so there is a lot less moisture to go around. It’s a double whammy: the tough, fibrous collagen-elastic matrix weakens and the nearby hydrating molecules decrease in volume. Thus, there’s less water around to keep the collagen and elastic flexible and moist. The drought further affects new cells developing, as well as the dead cells on the skin’s surface. Finally, skin becomes paler, because its supply of blood vessels diminishes. Blood vessels are necessary for transporting nutrients and moisture, and removing cellular waste. When an area of the skin loses its access to critical ingredients it needs to stay renewed, hydrated, and nourished, it begins to show the signs of aging.
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Stuart Linder, MD, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, answered
What makes skin wrinkle and droop as the years go by -- and is there anything you can do to prevent it? In this video, plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Linder talks about the changes under your skin that occur with each passing year.
Ben Kaminsky, Dermatology, answeredIntrinsic or genetic aging begins in the mid-twenties, when collagen production slows and elastin, the substance that causes skin to snap back in place, has less snap.
The diminished production of collagen in the body results in fine lines and wrinkles. These lines might first be noticed around the eyes (called “crow’s feet”). Over time, they are evident on the forehead, eyelids, mouth (“laugh lines”), neck, and jaw.
During this aging process, there is a decrease in the number of immune cells, resulting in a reduced capacity to fight infections. Many people begin to notice tiny blood vessels on the cheeks and nose, as well as increased pigmentation (brown age spots and a blotchy complexion) in sun-exposed areas of skin.
With age and the decline of the skin’s immunity, skin tumors (both benign and malignant) become more frequent, as do small growths (skin tags), that are unsightly and can become irritated when rubbed.
Other outward signs of intrinsic aging include loss of underlying fat, thin and transparent skin, dry skin that may itch, and hair loss. As the skin’s fat padding declines, there is an increased chance of bruising and skin tearing, particularly on the arms and hands.
Over time, the collagen and elastin in the connective tissues of the skin weakened and decline in number. The skin becomes thinner, more transparent, sags, and loses its elasticity and smoothness. Wrinkles that start as tiny lines transform into deep creases in the skin, along with sagging skin along the jowls that should be taut. Initially, wrinkles are more pronounced on areas near the eye and lips.
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