It’s just a fact of life that some things change as you get older. For many people, their memories aren’t as good, they lose strength, and become less active. Skin is not immune to changes with age. As your body’s primary defense shield, the skin absorbs a huge amount of abuse, especially guarding your insides from UV rays, extreme temperatures, water, bacteria, and more.

In addition, skin has to repair itself when it gets harmed, continually healing small scratches, scrapes, and bruises. While everyone starts with smooth, taut skin, they also end up looking slightly more like raisins by the end. While behaviors dictate some of skin deterioration, no matter how careful you are, the effects of aging will always take a toll on your skin, whether through sags, wrinkles, discoloration, and other blemishes.

1)  Your skin becomes drier. As you age, your skin produces fewer moisturizing oils due partly to a decrease in hormone production. Seasonal changes also exacerbate the transformation, but luckily there are lots of ways to combat dryness, such as with a high quality moisturizer. Hot water and harsh soaps can also dry skin out, so it’s important to use warm water and a gentle cleanser, as well.

2)  Your skin thins. This is partly due to your skin losing some of the fatty outer layer, which means less cushioning and skin that breaks and bruises more easily. Sun exposure can also play a role in causing your skin to become fragile and inelastic.

3)  Your skin sags. Part of this is due to the thinning of the skin, decreasing levels of skin fat, collagen, and elastin, but as you age, your body ridding itself of toxins can also result in the breakdown of support structures that keep the skin firm. Smoking can also make this worse. To slow the sagging effects in your face, especially, it’s important to take good care of skin when you’re younger. There are also fillers that can be injected to round out some saggy features, though these are expensive and may be of limited long-term use.

4)  You get age spots. These are new patches of pigmentation that are due to sun exposure. The UV in the sun’s rays accelerates the production of dark pigment and the age spots are actually a defensive reaction from the skin as it tries to protect the deeper layers of skin. They’re harmless, but similar in appearance to the beginning stages of some skin cancers, so if you see an irregular one, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor just to be safe. Some people have a predisposition to age spots and people with fair or light skin or a history of sunburns are at greater risk of developing them. Once they appear, you can try bleaching creams, laser therapy, chemical peels, or dermabrasion to reduce their appearance.

While some effects of aging on the skin are inevitable, by taking good care of your skin from an early age, you can minimize them.

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