How the Skin Changes as You Age
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It is an important barrier as well to protect us from our environment. As a primary defense shield, skin absorbs a huge amount of abuse. Skin guards our insides against the cold temperatures, extremely hot, and the sun’s harmful rays. We all start life with firm, smooth baby skin. But with age, we lose our skin’s radiance and suppleness. Skin changing is the most common visible signs of aging. But, there are many things that we can do to protect our skin and to make it look and feel better.
Common Skin Changes as You Age
Here are some of the most common skin changes you may notice –
Wrinkles: These are the most visible signs of aging. The main reasons behind wrinkles are smoking, heredity, sun exposure and the type of skin.
Age spot: The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases over time. In the age spot, the remaining melanocytes inflate. Aging skin looks paler, thinner and clear (translucent). Large pigmented spots mostly appear on the areas having the most sun exposure.
Laugh lines: They are also known by another name – worry lines. These facial movement lines become more visible during 40-50s as the skin starts to lose its elasticity.
Dry, itching skin: Sebaceous glands reduce the amount of oil production. Men experience a minimal decrease, most often after the age of 70-80s. In the case of women, oil production starts decreasing after menopause. The condition can make it harder for the skin to stay moist, resulting in itchiness and dryness.
Elastosis- When aging, various changes happen to the connective tissues that reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity. It’s more noticeable in the areas that get the most sun exposure. Elastosis creates the weather-beaten, leathery look.
Surface changes: The subcutaneous fat layer gradually thins. Thus, it offers less padding and insulation. Such a situation increases the risk of skin injury and reduces the ability to maintain body temperature. As you have less natural insulation, you are more prone to hypothermia during the cold weather.
Slack skin: Skin loses its elasticity and hangs loosely in places.
Transparent skin: The epidermis – the outermost layer of our skin, thins as we age. That creates a transparent skin condition.
Fragile skin: The blood vessels underneath the skin becomes more fragile. This leads to easy bruising and bleeding under the skin (often called “senile purpura”), cherry angiomas and other similar issues.
Effect of Changes
As you age, your skin is more prone to different injuries. The skin the largest organ of our body becomes thinner and more fragile as we lose the protective fat layer. One may also have reduced sensitivity to different stimulants like vibration, heat, pressure, and cold.
Rubbing or pulling the skin will result in skin tears. As the blood vessels are more fragile, they can break down easily. Bruises and raised collections of blood (hematomas) may form even after a minor injury. Pressure ulcers can also be caused by skin changes, reduced activity, illness, poor nutrition etc. Sores are more common on the forearms’ surface but can happen anywhere on the body.
In addition, aging skin repairs slower than younger skin. Wound healing may slow as much as 4 times! It contributes to pressure ulcers and infections. Other conditions like diabetes, lowered immunity, blood vessel changes, and other factors are also responsible for affecting the healing process.
Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Here are some nutrients recommended to protect our skin the largest organ in the body to make it look and feel better.
We all want to look our best. Healthy skin is a big part of that. It helps us look younger. For a youthful, glowing skin, proper nutrition is necessary, for example, sufficient vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition essentials. Our skin is the fingerprint of what’s going on inside the body. Almost all the skin conditions from psoriasis, acne to aging are manifestations of our body’s internal needs. So, which nutrition is necessary for keeping your skin healthy? For maintaining the best look? Studies have shown that the following vitamins and minerals are extremely helpful for improving skin health and improving appearance.
Vitamin A- Lack of vitamin A or even the slightest level change can trigger skin related problems including wrinkles, flaky complexion. That’s because vitamin A is quite essential for the skin’s maintenance and repairing. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamin A.
Vitamin C- Vitamin C holds the power of reducing the damage caused by free radicals. These are harmful byproducts of sunlight, pollution, smoke etc. Free radicals harm collagen and elastin, contributing to faster production of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Make sure that your regular diet contains sufficient amount of vitamin C rich foods like citrus and vegetables. They can replenish the loss of vitamin of your skin. You can also take vitamin C supplements if necessary, up to 500-1,000 milligrams per day.
Vitamin E- This potent antioxidant reduces the damage of sun exposure. Taking 400 units of vitamin E regularly can dramatically help your skin while also reducing the chance of cancer-causing cells. Vitamin E can reduce wrinkles while also improving the overall look of your skin. However, large doses of vitamin E can be harmful. 400 International units are the safe, universal limit.
Vitamin B Complex- Vitamin B is pretty important as it’s a core element of skin, hair and nail cells. Creams containing vitamin B can provide your skin with an almost instant healthy glow. Niacin, a specific vitamin B, helps the skin to retain its moisture. It also holds anti-inflammatory properties for soothing dry, irritated skin. Foods including bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice are loaded with Vitamin B.
Minerals Beneficial for Skin Nutrition
Selenium- It’s a powerful antioxidant trace mineral that helps the skin for maintaining its firmness and elasticity. The mineral prevents aging, promotes skin glow, less deterioration to the collagen while preventing skin cancer. Dietary sources: brazil nuts, red snapper, walnuts, tuna, wheat germ, liver, herring, seafood, onion, brown rice, whole grains, and poultry.
Zinc- It’s another skin-friendly trace mineral that boosts damaged tissue repairing and wound healing. Dietary sources: oysters, poultry, pecans, ginger, pumpkin seeds, legumes, mushrooms, seafood, and whole grains.
Omega-3s- This mineral effectively manages overexposure of cortisol levels. In turn, the skin remains supple and protects itself from wrinkle formation. Dietary sources: salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, mackerel, flaxseeds, sardines etc. You can also supplement with fish oil pills.
Magnesium- Magnesium is quite an important mineral for our body – bones, teeth, hair, and muscles. It allows the nervous system to run smoothly.
Potassium- Potassium, along with sodium, is responsible for osmoregulation (regulation of water) in our body. Lack of potassium in the diet can cause drier skin and other skin disorders.Dietary sources: oranges, bran, bananas, milk, Lima, kiwi fruit, beans, and lentils.
Our skin the largest organ in the body is like a mirror – reflecting the needs of our inner body. Hopefully, you understand the need of feeding your skin from the inside for maintaining a healthy skin and rejuvenating. When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can be very helpful for not only your health but also your skin. You may even go back to your young age!
You’re guaranteed to notice a big difference in the way your skin looks as you feed yourself with proper nutrients. Happy, healthy skin.
To Your good health!