Your skin changes gradually over time. It may appear thinner, drier, and less elastic. However, there are many simple things you can do to keep your skin looking and feeling as healthy as long as possible.
If you’re wondering why your skin is less supple than it used to be, there are many possible causes. Collagen, which accounts for seventy-five percent of your skin’s dry weight plays a major role in the skin’s appearance. Slowing down the breakdown and degradation of collagen fibers is vital to skin youth.
Repeated exposure to ultraviolet light (UV radiation) from the sun accounts for almost 90% of symptoms of premature skin aging, skin damage and other dangerous skin conditions. The sun also attacks our elastin. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight.
Oxidation and free radicals have a significant impact on our skin as well, creating havoc in every layer of the skin hypodermis, dermis and epidermis.
While a healthy level of inflammation benefits your skin, excessive (chronic) inflammation is one of the most common themes in early onset skin aging. Subtle signs include skin sensitivity, redness and irritation.
Other factors that come into play include your over all health, your dietary habits, and your outlook on life. Sugar is also very hard on the skin as it can cause the skin’s proteins (like collagen and elastin) to lose their ability to function normally and is now well recognized and heavily implicated in accelerated skin aging.
You can help your skin to age more gracefully. Try implementing these small changes and see how much better your skin responds, and how much better you feel –
Take Care of Dry Skin
Xeroderma and xerosis are the medical terms for dry skin. Dry skin can make you itchy, uncomfortable, and self-conscious, and may cause infections if left untreated over time.
Try these tips to keep more moisture in your skin:
Avoid super hot water. Long hot baths dry out your skin. Try soaking in warm water with soothing essential oil infused bath salts instead. When cleaning and hot water is absolutely necessary, wear rubber gloves that can protect you from the heat as well as any chemicals in the cleaning products themselves.
Dry off gently. Older skin requires a light touch. Pat yourself dry with a soft towel and leave your skin a little damp. Use your fingers to wash instead of stiff brushes or sponges.
Moisturize frequently. Apply moisturizer at least once a day, especially after bathing. If your current brands are inadequate, ask your doctor for recommendations. You may need a different formula, or you may want to use larger amounts.
Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day. Your sense of thirst declines with age, so it may benefit you to create other reminders to help you stay on track.
Humidify your home. Indoor heating and air conditioning dry the air. Run a humidifier to bring the relative humidity back to 30 to 50 percent.
Avoid scratching. Try to keep your hands off of irritated skin to avoid infections. If you’re itchy, use cold compresses or find some soothing ointments at your local health or natural products store.
Prevent Sun Damage
It’s a myth that most sun damage occurs before the age of 18. You can reduce your risk of skin damage from the sun even in your senior years. Regular screenings and self-examinations will also help you to receive prompt treatment and increase your odds of recovering from skin issues.
Use these strategies:
Seek shade. Just 10 minutes of sun can help you get the vitamin D your body needs for strong bones and immune functions. Otherwise, limit your exposure and totally forget about tanning beds. If you must have a tan, find a natural way to spray one on.
Apply healthy sunscreen. When you are outdoors for longer periods, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Check the label to be sure the ingredients are safe for your skin. Give yourself a second helping if you swim or perspire. Protective clothing helps too.
Inspect yourself. Most questionable skin blemishes appear after the age of 50. Perform self-examinations in front of a mirror at least once a month. Ask your doctor what screening schedule you may need for your individual circumstances.
Other Helpful Tips
Don’t fret too much over the wrinkles. Crow’s feet and laugh lines are harmless. However, if wrinkles and age spots make you uncomfortable, explore the credible options that are available to you. Many products advertised online or on TV are a waste of money and may even harm your skin. Talk to a professional. Use organic products whenever possible. Remember anything you put on your skin is also going into your body.
Eliminate irritations. Make life easier for your epidermis. Wear natural fibers. Be sure your clothes are not too tight, or that they do not rub or irritate your skin anywhere. Avoid fragrances and harsh chemicals as much as possible. Skip the heavily scented detergent and dryer sheets. Try to find more natural options.
Find ways to heal faster. As people mature, they tend to bruise more easily, and injuries sometimes take longer to heal. Be extra careful about keeping wounds clean and properly dressed. Managing stress, eating a healthy diet, and getting adequate rest may speed up recovery as well.
If you are concerned about anything to do with your skin or your general health, ask a doctor or qualified medical practitioner. Skin issues can sometimes be a symptom of underlying conditions such as diabetes or arthritis. Talk with your doctor about your concerns, especially if you notice a rash that won’t go away or sudden changes in your skin.
We all have skin care needs at every age. If we care for it when we are younger, it will pay off as we mature. Remember, it’s the largest organ in our body. The more you understand about mature skin and what is required, the more you can do to prevent irritations and infections and keep your skin younger looking and in top shape.
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