Understanding How Skin Ages

Lincoln City dermatologists

As our Lincoln City dermatologists can attest, our skin faces a lot of adversity due to aging. Fortunately, we can all take steps to help our skin stay looking and feeling its best.

How skin ages largely depends on a variety of different factors that include diet, heredity, lifestyle, and personal habits. For example, smoking can cause free radicals, a type of oxygen molecule that becomes overactive and unstable, to develop that can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging.

There are other factors that can also play a role in how our skin ages. Primary factors that contribute to wrinkles include normal aging, sun exposure, pollution, and the loss of subcutaneous support. Other factors that contribute to premature aging include gravity, stress, daily facial movements, obesity, and even the position in which you sleep.

Fortunately, our Lincoln City dermatologists can help you better understand the risks your skin faces on a daily basis so you can take the proper steps to keep looking your best.

How Skin Changes with Age

Growing older, our skin undergoes some naturally occurring changes:

  • Skin becomes rougher and less smooth.
  • Skin begins to loosen. This loss of elasticity causes skin to sag and hang loosely.
  • Skin appears more transparent. This is due to a thinning of the outermost layer of your skin.
  • Skin becomes less resilient. This is due to a flattening of the area where the epidermis and dermis come together.
  • Skin becomes easier to bruise. This happens as a result of thinner blood vessel walls.

Some changes below the skin also become more evident as we age. A loss of fat below the skin in the temples, chin, cheeks, eye, and nose area may result in the eyes looking sunken, or a skeletal appearance to develop.

The Biggest Threat to Healthy Skin

The sun easily ranks as having the biggest impact on how our skin ages.

Over the years, the ultraviolet rays produced by sunlight damages certain fibers in the skin known as elastin. The breakdown of elastin fibers causes the skin to stretch, sage, and lose the ability to quickly snap back after stretching. Skin also takes longer to heal and bruises and tears more easily once elastin fibers begin breaking down. This means that while the sunburn damage may not develop when you’re young, it certainly will the more you age.

Unfortunately, nothing can completely reverse the sun damage, although our skin can naturally heal some of the damage itself. Certain types of laser procedures can also help reverse some of the damage. But considering the types of problems sun exposure can cause to the long-term health of our skin, it’s never too late to start taking precautions against sun exposure and skin cancer. This is why our Lincoln City dermatologists always recommend that patients wear sunscreen whenever they leave the house, and to cover up if spending the day outdoors.

Other Factors that Impact Skin Health

Facial movements, gravity, and sleep position are factors that also determine how well your skin may age. When your skin starts to lose its elasticity, gravity can cause eyelids or the eyebrows to begin to droop. This can also lead to a loss of fullness in the jaw or cheeks, and longer ear lobes.

Facial movement lines (referred to as frown or laugh lines) begin to appear more visible after the skin starts losing elasticity. Lines may appear on the forehead horizontally, as small curved lines on the upper cheeks or the temples, and vertically on the skin above the root of the nose.

Creases that develop while asleep can be the result of how your head is positioned on the pillow. These morning lines may start to no longer fade as skin loses more of its elasticity. Sleep creases commonly develop on the side of the forehead, starting just above the eyebrows. Sleeping on your back may help to eliminate these types of wrinkles from forming.

 Aging can cause a lot of concern for patients wanting to keep looking and feeling their best. Fortunately, our Lincoln City dermatologists are here to help patients navigate the aging process with grace.