Aging skin is proof that life is about change. How your skin changes over time is largely dependent on multiple factors, including normal aging, sun exposure, lifestyle, diet, and genetics among other personal habits. Our Gainesville dermatologists are committed to helping patients achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful skin throughout each stage of life. Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery offers a comprehensive assortment of skincare treatments for a wide range of conditions treated, including aging skin.
Contact us today to learn more information about our available services and to schedule a dermatologist appointment.
Visible Signs Of Aging Skin
Aging affects the entire body, including the skin. As we age, the appearance of our skin changes. While natural aging is a normal part of life, there are certain factors that can either speed up or slow down its progression, both intrinsically (internally) and extrinsically (externally). Aging skin over time may become:
- Rough, dry, and itchy
- Wrinkled and saggy
- Slack, due to a loss of elastin and collagen
- Transparent, due to thinning of the skin
- Fragile, due to flattening of top skin layers
- Easily bruised, due to thinner blood vessel walls
- Prone to developing skin lesions
Causes Of Aging Skin
Intrinsic aging occurs naturally, usually starting when a patient is in their mid-20s, at which time the production of elastin and collagen below the skin begins to slow. These changes can result in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkled skin, thinning skin, gray or white hair, hair loss, and additional skin and body changes.
The exact onset of visible signs associated with intrinsic aging typically varies from patient to patient, depending on hereditary factors and medical conditions, among additional intrinsic factors. Extrinsic aging occurs as a result of the following.
Over time, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays damages elastin — certain fibers in the skin responsible for skin elasticity. When elastin fibers break down, the skin sags, stretches, and loses the ability to snap back into place after stretching. This also causes the skin to bruise and tear more easily and require more time to heal.
Sun damage, or photodamage, often doesn’t appear until later in life, when the skin begins to age. While nothing can completely undo sun damage, it’s never too late to begin protecting your skin. Using sun protection is among the best and most effective ways to reduce harmful effects to the skin from UV rays, including melanoma and photoaging.
Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 35 every day. Likewise, consider staying out of the sun and wearing sun-protective clothing.
Dry skin is a common occurrence later in life. More than 85 percent of older people develop dry, itchy, and flaky skin during the winter due to dry, overheated indoor air. The depletion and loss of sweat and oil glands over time and with age may also exacerbate dry skin, while anything that contributes to drying the skin — including skin-stripping skincare ingredients, overuse of soaps, antiperspirants, and hot baths — typically make dry skin woes worse.
Dry skin itches as it is irritated easily. If your skin is dry and itchy, contact our Gainesville dermatology office to schedule an appointment, as dry skin can affect sleep or be a symptom of a disease.
Excess weight due to obesity causes a number of changes with age — it causes the skin to stretch and decreases the strength and health of the hair and nails; skin conditions, such as dark patches on the skin (acanthosis nigricans), skin tags, stretch marks, and varicose veins.
Natural Aging Process
Subcutaneous or below-the-skin changes cause visible aging due to loss of fat below the skin in the cheeks, chin, nose, temples, and eye areas, resulting in loose skin, sunken eyes, and a skeletal appearance.
Additionally, bone loss, which may become evident after age 50, can cause slack skin and a puckered appearance of skin around the mouth. Cartilage loss in the nose area causes drooping of the nasal tip, making the nose’s bony structures easier to see.
Repetitive facial movements may result, over time, in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. As patients reach their 30s and 40s, lines on the face become more visible after the skin starts to lose its elasticity and its ability to spring back to its line-free state following facial expressions and movements.
Lines may appear etched on the face as vertical lines on the skin in the space between the eyes, horizontal lines on the forehead, or as curved lines around the mouth, on the upper cheeks, or near the temples, among additional areas of the face.
A patient’s sleeping position may account for signs of visible aging over time. Sleep creases are commonly seen on the side of the forehead, in the middle of the cheeks, and on the chin. These lines result from the positioning of the head on the pillow and may become more visible once the skin starts to lose its elasticity.
Alternating or changing sleeping positions may help improve the appearance of sleep creases or prevent them from becoming worse.
Smoking cigarettes causes biochemical changes in the body that accelerate the aging process and result in premature wrinkles on facial skin. Patients who smoke tend to have more wrinkles, fine lines, and leathery skin than nonsmokers of the same complexion, age, and history of UV ray exposure.
Smoking likewise interferes with normal blood flow in the skin, which may account for this difference. These signs can be greatly diminished and, in some cases, avoided, by quitting smoking.
Gravity is a force that constantly pulls our bodies downwards. As aging skin loses its elasticity, changes related to gravity become more pronounced causing drooping of the eyelids and eyebrows, looseness and fullness under the cheeks and jaw (jowls or a double chin), lengthening of the ear lobes, and the upper lip’s contour to disappear, among other changes.
Contact us today to discuss preventative methods with a dermatologist.
How Is Aging Skin Treated?
If you are bothered by visible signs of aging or you seek effective treatment options to help prevent signs of premature aging, contact Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery to discuss aging skincare and dermatologist-recommended anti-aging products. Our dermatologists and skincare specialists can help you restore your skin, giving it a smoother, refreshed, and overall more youthful appearance.
Scientific research in the field of aging skin continues to give rise to new and effective treatment options — our dermatologists can help you select the best options for your unique skin type and lifestyle. During a consultation, your dermatologist will examine your skin, discuss your expectations, and recommend suitable treatments.
Anti-Aging Skin Care Tips
While it is impossible to stop the intrinsic aging process, there are steps you can take to prevent premature, extrinsic signs of visible aging. One of the best anti-aging options is to use comprehensive sun protection daily, which includes the following.
Additionally, we recommend that patients avoid smoking and excessive drinking, and eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet to help promote a healthy aging process.
- Avoid deliberate tanning, both outdoors and indoors
- Stay out of the sun when the sun is strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, when outdoors
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 35 or higher year-round and reapply often