Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it ages, just as other organs age.
Skin is made up of three layers:
The hypodermis, the innermost layer of the skin, is composed of fat and collagen. The hypodermis insulates the body, which helps in regulating body temperature; and acts as a shock absorber to protect the internal organs. Its fat is often used as an energy reserve.
The dermis, the middle layer of the skin, is the thickest of the three layers, accounting for approximately 90% of the skin’s thickness. It contains most of the skin’s specialized structures, including blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, oil glands, nerve endings, as well as collagen and elastin, which make skin flexible and strong.
Like the hypodermis, it functions to regulate temperature. It also supplies the epidermis with nutrient-rich blood, and contains much of the body’s water supply.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin. It acts primarily as the body’s protection against dirt and bacteria.
Although changes in the skin are related to genetics, nutrition, and environmental factors, the most significant factor affecting skin is its exposure to the sun.
The following 6 skin changes are results from the natural course of aging:
- As a person ages, the epidermis becomes thinner, and the number of pigment -containing cells in it decreases. For this reason aging skin looks more thin and pale, and may even be translucent. Pigmented spots can appear in sun-exposed areas.
- Aging skin also loses its strength and elasticity. Once again, exposure to sun exacerbates this condition.
- As the blood vessels in the dermis become more fragile with age, the break more easily. This leads to bruising and bleeding under the skin.
- The oil glands in the dermis decrease production of oil. This starts after menopause in women, but much later in men. The decrease in natural oil can make skin dry and itchy.
- The fat layer in the hypodermis thins with age, which decreases the skin’s ability to act as a temperature regulator and shock absorber.
- Temperature regulation is also impaired by a decrease in sweat production by the sweat glands.
The thinning fat layer makes an older person more subject to hypothermia; the decrease in sweat production increases their risk of heat -related conditions, including heatstroke.
At Tower Lodge Care Center, in Wall, NJ, our staff is well trained in the care of aging skin. We know that healthy skin is an important factor in healthy living for our residents.
You can also come see for yourself, by contacting us at 732-681-1400, or by clicking here to schedule a tour.