Hair Skin Care Aging Skin

The skin has three layers:

  1. Epidermis is the outer layer of skin cells
  2. Dermis is the middle layer and it contains blood capillaries, nerves, hair follicles and oil glands-it provides nutrients to the epidermis
  3. Subcutaneous layer is comprised of blood vessels, sweat glands and fat cells.

Each layer contains connective tissue, which supports the layer and provides flexibility.

As We Age, Several Things Occur

  • The oil glands in the dermis produce less oil. This happens later in life for men than in women. Men will generally start to experience dryness of the skin at around 80 years, whereas women produce less oil immediately after menopause. This makes it much harder to keep the skin moist, resulting in dry, cracked and itchy skin.
  • The epidermis thins. The number of cells that contain pigment decreases, but the cells that remain become larger. These two factors cause the skin to take on an almost translucent look. Large pigmented spots, often called age or liver spots, develop, particularly in areas exposed to the sun; hands are common areas.
  • The connective tissue changes so that the skin loses some of its elasticity and strength, resulting in wrinkles. This is especially pronounced in sun-exposed areas, where it can produce the leathery, weather-beaten look common to those who have spent much of their lives outdoors.

Causes of Aging Skin

Skin changes are due to many factors, including environment, genetics and nutrition. However, the single greatest factor in aging skin is exposure to the sun. Sure you’ll get that nice tan, but you may end up looking years older. While it’s great if you’re underage, you’ll wish you still had your youthful appearance once you hit 30.

Other causes of aging skin include:

  • Genetics: You are your parents’ child.
  • A sedentary lifestyle: You’re not winning any awards sitting around the house.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol increases blood flow near the surface of the skin by dilating blood vessels. This will eventually lead to damaged vessels, ultimately giving you that flushed appearance.
  • Less fat: You’ve finally gotten rid of that baby fat, but now it’s making your skin look saggy and really old.
  • Smoking: Cigarettes are like vampires. They drain your body of precious nutrients (vitamins A and C). Cigarettes also restrict blood vessels, which means less blood flow-which means less oxygen and vital nutrients-to the skin. And cigarette smoke seems to have a drying effect on your skin.
  • Stress: High stress will not improve your looks.
  • A lack of sleep: Sleep recharges and rejuvenates the body. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t get to recharge or rejuvenate.

What to Do with Aging Skin

The best way to deal with aging skin is to prevent it. Once you have aging skin, you’re pretty much stuck with it.

So, learn the causes, then stay away from the causes (if your parents are the cause, staying away is optional).

  • The UV factor: As many of you have no doubt read, Kurt Vonnegut’s (actually, it was written by a columnist named Mary Schmich) 1997 MIT commencement speech told us all to wear sunscreen.
  • Genetics: Hope you’re adopted.
  • Exercise: You’ll be full of energy…tomorrow.
  • Alcohol: Ever heard of water? How about milk? How about this: moderation?
  • Cigarettes: It’s a tough habit to kick. Kick it, kick the bucket, or try to supplement your lifestyle with vitamins, minerals, and lotion.
  • Stress: “Relax” -Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Sleep: This world has power bars, power walking, and most definitely…power naps. Take some.

A number of treatment methods are available to those with aging skin. You can buy the anti-aging creams, lotions or oils, but results vary depending on the person, so you’ll need to experiment a little. Those with a little more money may want to look into surgical treatments. Treatments include:

  • BOTOX®
  • chemical peels
  • dermabrasion
  • laser resurfacing.

If you’re considering one of these methods, it’s best to talk with your doctor before undergoing any of these procedures. Many of these treatment methods are expensive and come with a few risks.