Saturday, August 13

aging skin and skin health

Just like the rest of your body, your skin ages over time. But much of the visible surface damage, like dryness and lines, comes as a result of sun exposure, which you can protect yourself from. More good news: It’s possible to ease some of these signs of aging in your skin with simple prescription creams.

Aging Skin: Causes and Effects

A variety of factors are to blame for the typical signs of aging skin. These can include:

Sun exposure. "Take a woman with the skin changes that we associate with aging — wrinkles, dryness, age spots — and look at the skin under her arm. That skin is likely to be smooth and clear. The difference is sun exposure," says Steve Feldman, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

Called photodamage, the effects of sun exposure on your skin are caused by ultraviolet light, and the lighter your complexion, the worse the damage is likely to be. Over time, even a small amount of unprotected sun exposure each day can cause:

Age spots. Also called solar lentigines, or liver spots, these dark patches of skin are caused by sun damage. Bigger than freckles, age spots are more common in women with lighter complexions.

Spidery veins. As skin ages, especially with sun exposure, you become more prone to the eruption of small blood vessels near the surface of your skin called telangiectasias.

Leathery texture and dry scaly patches, or actinic keratoses. Aging skin does not retain moisture well. This is due partly to the loss of sweat and oil glands, but sun exposure will also make your skin dry.

Gravity and the aging body. A different process causes aging signs like the folds and furrows of sagging skin. Even before you turn 30, the production of collagen and elastin in your body begins to slow down. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its fullness and elastin is the protein that gives it bounce and elasticity. The effects of gravity and years of making facial expressions begin to leave deep lines and furrows on your skin. (This is why your mother probably told you not to frown.) A prime example is the so-called nasolabial fold that goes from the corner of the nose to the outer corner of the lip on either side of your face. While fillers like Botox can temporarily plump a frown line, deep folds can only be removed by redraping the skin through cosmetic surgery