The final installment of our three-part series on aging skin will take a look at the various superficial dermatologic changes that occur. More than listing how the appearance and texture of the skin transform with age, we discuss why this happens and why it may be a bigger deal than it seems.
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, wrinkles, creases, and looseness all relate to vital substances in the skin, or a lack thereof. Throughout our thirties and forties, we continue to lose the structural integrity of collagen and elastin in the epidermis and the dermis. Furthermore, what exists is degraded by stress, hormones, and sun exposure. This can sound like we’re fighting a losing battle, but we’re really not. When we understand how aging affects the skin, we are better equipped to address them as needed.
An Additional Chemical We Haven’t Talked About
One of the reasons that textural irregularities occur is because the skin gets dehydrated. This doesn’t happen because we need to consume more water. It happens because GAGs like hyaluronic acid are not distributed through the skin as well as they could be. The amount of hyaluronic acid is believed to start diminishing as early as our forties. Without it, the skin loses valuable moisture. Without moisture, the skin loses elasticity. Additionally, loss of hyaluronic acid has been associated with the skin beginning to look scaly. To address this change, we must become consistent in the use of exfoliants (chemical peel, anyone?) and moisturizers.
We often think of skin discoloration as an indication of sun damage. We also think of discoloration as the dark spots that appear in areas we may not have protected as well as we could have. The problem with pigment in the skin is that it can both darken due to erratic melanocyte activity and lose tone. This is referred to as hypopigmentation (the opposite of hyperpigmentation.) Hypopigmentation looks like white spots. As we age, most of us will notice a mix of both pigmented and depigmented tissue, making the skin look mottled. Skin rejuvenating treatments like photodynamic therapy may help with some degree of mottling.
Aging skin is going to be a part of our lives whether we like it or not. We can’t stop it, but we can be ready for it. To correct the signs of aging that are affecting your sense of satisfaction with your appearance, schedule a consultation in our Spring Lake, NJ office.