Does it take longer for skin to heal as we age?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Wound healing requires a sequence of events to take place that is as well coordinated as the Academy Awards ceremony. First, the blood has to coagulate. Then, the immune cells have to clean up the wound. Only then can the bridging and rebuilding of tissue take place. With aging, some phases of healing can be delayed because the skin is thinner, there are fewer sturdy blood vessels to bring in nutrient and immune cell-rich blood, there is less supportive collagen and oily sebum, and cell turnover is slower. All of these factors affect the ability of tissue to regenerate and skin to heal. Plus, many older people take medications or have medical conditions like diabetes that compromise wound healing.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
As you age, it takes your skin longer to heal. Skin becomes thinner and more transparent, and you lose some of the fat cushion beneath your skin. With less cushioning, your blood vessels are more prone to injury, so even a bump against a table can bruise or break your skin. You may even bleed under your skin.

When you were younger, blood platelets would quickly clump together to form clots around a wound. A scab or hard skin crust would quickly form to protect the area while it healed. With older skin, the healing process takes longer because skin cells are not repaired and renewed as quickly. New skin cells take more time to multiply, and it may take a while before a new layer of skin forms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.