Seasoned Skin... It's a Fact of Life!
We don’t always notice how the passing of time shows on our own faces or on the faces of those we love. We see below the surface and beyond all the etchings life has made on our physical canvas. But, when it comes to our skin, living does have its effects.
Aging skin is a fact of life. It happens. Skin goes through changes as we get older. Not only the skin on our faces, but everywhere else as well. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and more fragile. It loses elasticity and begins to wrinkle and sag. It often becomes dry, rough, and itchy. Dark spots and skin tags begin to appear as if by magic. And, the older we get, the more prominently our veins and tendons stand out in our hands and feet. Our skin also bruises much more easily than when we were younger, and it takes longer for the bruises to heal.
Although it may be impossible to turn back the clock or jump into a time machine and retrieve the softer, firmer, smoother, unlined skin of our youth, it’s not all gloom and doom. There are things we can do to take care of our skin and protect it so it stays as healthy and youthful as possible as we age.
Many products and procedures are available today that are specifically geared toward revitalizing and/or repairing aging skin. There are lotions, creams, oils, scrubs, herbal mixtures, plant extracts, injections, laser treatments, surgical procedures, etc. Some have merit. Some do not. If you are interested in any of these options, speak with your doctor about finding a route most appropriate for you.
It’s never too late to start taking better care of our skin. The following are some basic skin care tips that are especially helpful for those of us in our seasoned years.
A few basic skin care tips for women and men…
- Don’t forget sunblock. Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you’ll be in the sun. Apply often and liberally. Use a sunscreen even when you’re only going to be in the sun for a limited time. Also protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays by staying out of direct sunlight. Keep to shaded areas whenever possible, and wear sunglasses, a hat, and protective clothing.
- Use mild soaps. Many soaps and shower gels are too harsh for aging skin and strip our skin of its natural oils. Liquid soaps that are fragrance-free, moisturizing, and PH balanced are gentler.
- Don’t overdo it. If you take frequent baths or showers, try cutting back a bit. Wash with warm water instead of hot, use a soft washcloth, and avoid vigorous scrubbing. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Always avoid rubbing your skin.
- Moisturize. Apply moisturizer regularly everywhere, face and body. Smooth your moisturizer gently over your skin. Don’t forget your neck, hands, and feet. There are extra rich and medicated moisturizing lotions, creams, and ointments that can help soothe dry, rough and/or itchy skin. Your doctor can provide recommendations.
- Be wary of products with “anti-aging” ingredients. Some contain ingredients that may be too harsh on thinning skin. Test products on a small area of skin and wait to see if there’s a reaction. It’s wise to use stronger products under the guidance of a doctor or health professional.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is important for your skin and body. The human body is mostly water. As we age, the average water content of an adult reduces significantly.
- Use a humidifier in your home. It will add moisture to the air, which can be especially helpful for dry, rough, and/or itchy skin.
- Don’t overdress. Wear clothing that’s loose and breathable. Stick to cotton whenever you can and avoid polyester or other synthetic fabrics.
- Check your habits. Do not smoke or consume excessive amounts of caffeine and/or alcohol. These habits can affect skin tone, increase wrinkling, decrease moisture, and cause discoloration.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. What you put in your body shows in your skin. Proper nutrition will give you a healthier glow and help keep your skin from looking pasty or sallow.