The skin, the largest organ in the human body, performs important functions such as temperature regulation, sensation, and protection. With advancing age, changes occur in the structure and integrity of the skin that diminish the skin’s ability to protect the body.
Aging skin is more prone to infection, trauma, and tears.
Your skin becomes thinner, loses fat. Injuries such as cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal. Years of sun exposure or indoor tanning may lead to wrinkles, dryness, age spots, and even cancer. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your skin and to make it feel and look better.
How can you take care of your skin as you age?
Limit time in the sun.
It’s okay to go out during the day but try to avoid being in sun during peak times when the sun’s rays are strongest.
You can also get sunburned if you are in water, so be careful when you are in a pool or the ocean.
When spending any time outdoors, use sunscreen.
It’s best to choose sunscreens with “broad spectrum” on the label. Put the sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours. In addition, wear protective clothing when outdoors.
There are other lifestyle changes that may help your skin as you age.
Practice whole body skin care. It’s important to take note of more than your facial skin. Pay attention to your hands, neck, and chest, as these areas will continue to show signs of aging as they lose volume. Moisturizing these areas can help.
You may also choose to go fragrance free.
Fragrance can irritate your skin. To help heal dry, itchy skin and prevent it from coming back, stop using perfumes, colognes, and skin care products that contain fragrance.
In addition, it is important to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer.
When skin cancer is found early and removed, that’s often the only treatment you’ll need. If the cancer spreads, treatment becomes more difficult. If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
Finally, limit exposure to cigarette smoke and nicotine.
The skin can absorb nicotine from cigarettes. This may cause adverse effects such as premature skin aging, delayed wound healing, and increased infections.