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Skin is the body’s primary defense system. It serves as a protective barrier from the sun, harmful substances in the environment, bacteria, and other threats. Skin also regulates body temperature and is part of the sensory system. Our skin both protects us from external harm, and supports the life contained within. How it ages is impacted by the sun, the gravitational force of the earth, our environment, and our own habits.
With normal aging, cells produce collagen and elastic at a slower rate. Skin will loosen and thin over time. Sweat glands secrete less sweat, affecting the body’s ability to regulate heat. Those same glands also contribute to wound healing, so they slow with age. The protective layer of fat in the skin thins with age, and the sebaceous glands that produce oil slow in production. Aging skin becomes dry, rough, and itchy. Gravity pulls skin downward into bags and wrinkles. Aging skin is also more prone to wounds and bruises, and is slower to heal. Sensitivity to heat, cold and touch increases. Normal factors of aging lead to skin problems and risks. Sun damage, excessive alcohol use, poor diet habits, and smoking worsen those problems and risks.
Healthy Habits: Quit smoking for healthier skin, and establish healthy alcohol habits . Drink more water to avoid dehydration. A healthy diet and regular exercise are also important. Fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, like avocado and nuts, benefit skin at any age. Exercise increases blood circulation and blood flow throughout the body, and through skin.
Hot showers strip the skin of their natural oils that serve as a protective barrier. Limiting shower time and lowering the heat a little can help preserve the oils. Scrubbing with abrasive sponges damages aging skin. Instead use a clean washcloth and natural skin products to cleanse gently. Apply moisturizer as soon as you get out of the shower. Skin products that sting are irritating and damaging your skin. Don’t use them.
For water recreation, limit pool time, and rinse off with a lukewarm shower after to remove chlorine residue from skin and hair. Moisturize after. A suntan indicates damage. Don’t intentionally sunbathe. Self tanning lotion, and tinted moisturizers are much safer options for sun-kissed skin. Always wear sunscreen. Choose a product with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or greater and reapply regularly. The hands and face are most frequently exposed. Make a habit of applying sunscreen to your hands regularly just as you would apply regular lotion. Wear a hat with a brim, and sun protective clothing. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when rays are the strongest.
Aging skin is a natural part of life. Our hope for you is to maintain the healthiest skin possible at your current stage of life.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.