- Aging & Longevity
Skin and How Aging Affects It
Skin may not be the most exciting of topics but it is one of the most excitable things about us. The senses in our skin not only tell us about what we are touching, but they can adapt to the sensation. When we touch snow, it is the sense of touch that tells us how cold, wet and solid it is. Sure, we can glean much of this information by sight because we have the experience of snow already in our brains.
Skin reacts to our perceptions. If we are frightened, our skin makes the hair on our arms stands up. If we are cold, we get goose bumps; if we are hot, we sweat. When we are stimulated our skin becomes sensitive. If we are sick, our body temperature rises and our skin heats up.
When we step into a hot bath, if the water initially feels too hot, our sense of touch tells the brain and amazingly, the skin will adapt to accept the heat. This is also true of the warm and cold weather seasons. The more you expose yourself to the cold weather outside, the more comfortable your skin becomes in the cold. Yes, blood circulation may be more effective overall at keeping you warmer but consider your face.
The skin on our faces
can brave the cold all winter long, as well as the heat during the summer because
skin adapts to all of the changing environments. The layer under skin controls the amount of blood flow to the face regulating the heat it receives.
Our skin is amazing. Skin is actually our largest organ and constantly renews itself. When we are young, our surface skin is replaced every 2 to 3 weeks by new skin cell growth. This process may slow down a bit as we age, but it never stops.
As is it with everything about us, care needs to be given to our skin. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money either. Americans spend billions of dollars every year on skin care products that promise to erase wrinkles, lighten age spots and get rid of redness, all to produce beautiful healthy skin. Ads portray pictures of 20 year old women and expect us to believe that these young women suffered from age spots and wrinkles and that miracle creams made them beautiful and young looking again.
The truth is, as we age, our skin changes. For years, we were told that aging skin causes dryness, age spots and wrinkles. Studies have shown that this isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, as we age, changes in our bodies affect our skin but they don’t have to, not nearly as much as we once thought. Quite the opposite is true in many cases.
All the ads say that skin tends to get thinner as you get older. It isn’t the skin that gets thinner as much as it is the layer of fat cells below the surface of the skin that are depleted. This can cause the skin to sag and become more translucent looking. Try pinching your skin on the back of your hand and compare it to a pinch from your arm. You will notice right away the skin on your hand seems thinner. This is because there are more fat cells on your arm and a stronger stream of muscle than on the back of your hand.
Losing this band of fat cells is caused by aging. But it doesn’t have to sag. The muscle that lies directly under those fat cells can help hold the skin in place to avoid those sagging spots. So, for you women out there, who hate the flabbiness of your arms, keep those muscles toned. Yep, that means exercise. One interesting skin fact to note, the thickest skin you have is on the bottom of your feet and the thinnest is your eyelids.
Dry skin, for most of us, can be managed by moisturizing our bodies. Not only does that mean using lotions and creams, it means drinking water, lubricating skin from the inside and out. A good moisturizer used consistently will aid in preventing dry skin. Specialized expensive lotions and creams that are touted as miracle creams to give your skin that youthful look may include strong chemicals in order to achieve any real advantages.
The important thing to remember about attaining smooth soft skin is to keep your skin clean and moisturized. Using cloths and exfoliating products may also help remove the dry dead skin on the surface which will encourage new skin cells to grow.
Low humidity and air conditioning contribute to dry skin. As we age, our oil glands are not as proficient as when we were younger and this can also cause our skin to dry. Harsh soaps and chemicals added to perfumes and antiperspirants certainly contribute to drying skin. Even some of our daily medicines will cause itching and dryness. But the most common causes of dry skin are smoking and sun exposure.
Home remedies for dry skin
· Apply normal mayonnaise and massage into your skin. Let it soak in for 20 minutes.Wash it off with warm water.
· Spread a thin coat of almond and grape seed oil to the affected areas twice a day. For extra dry skin substitute castor oil and avocado.
· Take a milk bath. Mix 250 grams of powdered milk with a half a tablespoon of almond oil and a few drops of your favorite perfume in a warm bath once a week.
Seems like we all get wrinkles as we age. The most irritating are the wrinkles that appear on our faces. Well, here is a little tip for you. Every time you smile, frown or laugh you are adding to the creases that form on the muscle tone below the surface of your skin. After years of smiling, the skin eventually molds itself over those creases in the muscle tone and the wrinkles become more pronounced.
Laugh lines around the eyes and mouth are prime examples of this. This is also true for those who consistently sleep on their side. Having half their face buried in a pillow causes crease lines on the side of their faces. These crease lines can start forming at a young age and as the fat cells thin out, the creases become more prominent. Creams and lotion that contain collagen have reported that continued use will slow the effects of wrinkles.
Home remedies for reducing wrinkles
· Puree a green, peeled and cored, apple. Apply as a mask on the face and neck. Let dry for at least 15 minutes and then rinse away.
· Mix 2 tablespoons of honey to the juice of 1 orange and spread all over your face and neck. Leave this on for 20 minutes and gently remove it using cotton balls dipped in milk every night before bed.
· Beat an egg white to form stiff peaks, add the juice of a lime and blend. Apply to face and neck. Let set for 10 minutes and wash it off with warm water.
Age spots are also called liver spots due to the fact that some skin spots are caused by impaired or overwhelmed liver functions. Toxins in the liver can build up and are sometimes expressed by liver spots. Normally, true age spots are caused by the sun and appear as flat dark spots found on the hands, face, shoulders and arms. Occasionally they show up on legs as well. Very common on adults over the age of 40 but they can show up on younger people too.
For the most part, true age spots are harmless. Skin bleaching products have been somewhat successful at lightening these spots. There are also different methods that a dermatologist can use to remove them altogether. The best way to avoid age spots is to stay out of the sun. If the spots are not flat or they look different from other age spots, have your doctor take a look.
Home remedies abound for getting rid of age spots
· Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part onion juice and dab onto spot. Leave on for at least 30 minutes every day for at least 6 weeks or longer.
· Dabbing aloe vera juice or gel onto the spot should reduce the visual appearance of age spots.
· The acid in lemon juice has been successful at lightening age spots. Drip juice onto the spot and leave on for 30 minutes ever day for 2 months. Keep out of direct sunlight as the juice increases skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
· Castor oil rubbed on the spot every morning and every evening should help fade the spots within a month.
You may not be able to control the genetics involved in aging skin but there are things you can do. Some experts tell us that taking certain vitamins will promote skin health. Others claim that you need to inject collagen or Botox to achieve that youthful appearance again. Then of course, there are those who opt for surgery to correct and undo the years that show on our faces. Only you can decide what the best course of action for you is.
The absolute best defense against any of these skin conditions is to limit your exposure to the sun. The most harmful rays to the skin are between 10am and 3pm, even on cloudy days. Using sun screen with the appropriate SPF protection can help if you need to be out in the sun. Wearing a wide brimmed hat is crucial to keeping harmful rays off of your face. Long sleeved, light colored and loose fitting clothes should also be considered if you plan on an extended periods in the sunshine. Using a tanning bed or a sunlamp is counter productive for healthy skin.
Smoking causes damage to your skin. From the wrinkles around the mouth to the drying of the skin, smoking is a major cause of skin related problems. Your complexion can even develop an unhealthy yellow tinge over time due to smoking. The good news is that quitting smoking can undo some of the damage that has already taken place.
Dermatologists have made significant advancements in permanent solutions for removing spots, reducing wrinkles and dry skin. Check with your doctor if you are interested in more permanent solutions.
You know your skin better than anyone else. Use a commonsense approach to skin care. Look for changes in the size and shape of your spots. Changes in color or flat spots that are slowing rising need to be watched. If the changes concern you, check with your doctor. Stay hydrated on the inside and the outside.
Love the skin you’re in.