Every part of your body changes as you grow older, including your bones, muscles, and hair. Even those microscopic cells that comprise every single part of you.
Of course, your skin is no exception.
Change is permanent. Everyone goes through it. But why do some people age more gracefully than others?
Skin aging is normal, but not all individuals go through it at the same rate. Several factors alter the impact of age on the skin, so getting old can mean different things for different people.
Want to welcome the coming years with healthy and younger-looking skin? First, you need to deal with the following common skin problems that come with age:
1. Wrinkles and Sagging Skin
The body’s collagen production decreases by age 30. This protein lends your skin its suppleness and firmness.
By the time you hit 30, wrinkles and sagging skin begin to appear. This could happen earlier in areas with frequently used muscles, like the forehead and cheeks. Higher sun exposure also contributes to collagen loss.
Of course, every individual has a different experience, so there’s really no solid standard as to what’s normal and what can be considered premature skin aging. Sometimes, the issue may not even be related to age, as other factors like dehydration and dirt could also be potential culprits.
Since sun exposure is a significant contributor to premature skin aging, protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays is one of the best things you can do to deal with premature wrinkles and sagging skin.
Don’t go outside without applying broad-spectrum sunscreen. Be sure to reapply it when you sweat or go for a swim throughout the day.
Besides sun protection, you can also use products with pollution shields and antioxidants to help defend your skin against external aggressors.
Although you can’t reverse wrinkles and fine lines, you can always minimize them by:
- Applying hydrating serums or moisturizers to smoothen out the dips on the skin.
- Using anti-wrinkle serum to improve your skin’s firmness and elasticity.
- Treating the delicate skin around your eyes with eye cream or serum to deal with crow’s feet and laugh lines.
2. Dry and Itchy Skin
As people age, their skin gets drier and drier. In fact, about 85 percent of older people experience winter itch caused by dry air from air conditioning and indoor heating.
To make matters worse, this is also the time when people lose their oil and sweat glands – both of which help hydrate the skin.
Add all that to the overuse of products like perfumes, soaps, and antiperspirants (plus frequent hot baths), and you have a very dry and itchy problem in your hands.
What to Do
As you age, your skin becomes dryer, particularly in your elbows, lower arms, and lower legs. These rough and scaly patches become dry because of the following reasons:
- You don’t drink enough fluids.
- You spend too much time in tanning beds or under the sun.
- You live in a place with arid air.
- You smoke.
- You get too stressed.
Besides correcting these lifestyle-related causes, you can also use creams, lotions, or ointments to supplement your skin moisture. Look for dermatologist-recommended products and make sure they match your unique skin type.
Also, try to take fewer baths (especially hot ones) and switch to milder soap.
You can also use a humidifier if you frequent an air-conditioned room to add moisture to the air around you.
Too much sun exposure can also speed up the skin aging process. The sun’s UV rays damage the elastin fibers of the skin.
When these fibers are damaged, the skin begins to stretch, sag, and lose its ability to snap back after being stretched. The skin also becomes more prone to tears and bruises that take longer to heal.
There’s still no way to undo photoaging, but there are times that your skin can repair itself. To help with its recovery, it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the sun.
Again, apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher before going out and every two hours that follow. It is also better to stick to shaded areas when you go out or use an umbrella.
4. Age Spots
Age spots, liver spots, and sunspots refer to the same thing – those flat black, gray, and brown blemishes on your skin that become darker after being exposed to the sun.
Age spots have the same texture as the rest of the skin. They also mostly appear only on areas exposed to the sun, like the feet, hands, arms, back, and face but aren’t necessarily painful.
As you reach the 40, you may notice these spots growing bigger than freckles. Sometimes, they also emerge in groups, making them more noticeable.
People with fairer skin may get sunspots earlier. The same goes for those who use tanning beds or have a history of frequent exposure to the sun.
Besides applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent more age spots from emerging, you can also apply bleaching creams that contain hydroquinone at your dermatologist’s recommendation.
You may also choose a product containing retinoids and a mild steroid that can help fade these blemishes gradually over a few months. Just be wary of a few possible side effects, such as redness, itching, dryness, and a burning sensation.
You may also undergo laser skin resurfacing to correct age spots. This treatment destroys the melanin-producing cells that cause these blemishes without damaging the skin surface. This procedure usually requires two to three sessions before any significant change appears.
Below are a few other potential procedures you can try:
- Chemical peel
5. Dull Skin Tone
Dead skin cells build up over time, causing that natural youthful glow to fade. When your skin starts to look dull, it may be because its renewal capacity has decreased, resulting in fewer new skin cells.
To make matters worse, you could be doing things that contribute to the problem, such as:
- Not drinking enough water
- Failing to moisturize sufficiently
- Failing to exfoliate regularly
- Applying too much makeup
First, you need to adjust your lifestyle, starting with the amount of makeup you use on your skin.
You should also remove all the pore-clogging dirt and beauty products that have accumulated during the day. However, you must steer clear of drying soaps and harsh scrubs that can cause tiny tears, redness, tightness, flakiness, and skin irritation.
Instead, use cleansing oil to remove your makeup and sunscreen. Then, wash your face a second time using a gentle cleanser to get rid of the excess oil.
It also helps if you skip hot baths and only shower with lukewarm water. And never forget to include exfoliation in your daily routine. Your skin will thank you later.
Here’s to Aging Gracefully!
Skin aging is normal. Everybody goes through it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to slow it down or retain your youthful and healthy skin.
Deal with the common skin problems that come with age using the methods presented in this article, and watch your skin improve as you age gracefully.