How Our Skin Changes as We Age

  • Woman and face care
    Common Signs of Aging
    It’s inevitable—as you age, so does your skin. It loses fat, becomes thinner, and may not heal as quickly. But exactly how your skin ages depends on a few factors: your genes, the environment, and your lifestyle choices. While you can’t change your genes, you can make other choices that help protect your skin from these common signs of aging.

  • Woman applying face cream
    When your skin begins to lose the elasticity of youth—typically in your 30s and 40s—it starts to wrinkle. Smoking and UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun or tanning beds can make the skin wrinkle more. Repeating the same facial expressions can also cause lines over time. You can limit wrinkles by protecting your skin from UV rays and not smoking. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines around your eyes caused by squinting.

  • Body Care
    Dry Skin
    With age, many people find their skin becomes dry. It may feel rough, scaly or itchy. Sun exposure, stress, smoking, dry air, and dehydration can make dry skin worse. You can help relieve dry skin by applying moisturizer daily and using warm water for showers and baths instead of hot water. A humidifier can also help.

  • Man Reading Book
    Age Spots
    Also called liver spots, these brown, flat spots can appear on your skin as you age. They are often caused by years of sun exposure. You’re most likely to notice them on your hands, face, back, arms and feet. Help prevent age spots by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever you’re in the sun, even on cloudy days. If age spots bother you, ask your doctor about ways to remove them.

  • Dermatologist Examining Senior Woman
    Skin Tags
    As you get older, you may start to notice skin tags—small, flesh-colored growths of skin—especially on your neck, eyelids, armpits, groin or chest. Skin tags are common, but women are more likely to have them than men. Although they are harmless, skin tags can become irritated. If you have skin tags that trouble you, talk with your doctor about minor in-office procedures to remove them.

  • Elderly Womans Hands
    Older skin often bruises more easily. You may notice bruises and not know how you got them. Bruises and cuts may also take longer to heal. If you notice a lot of bruising, or have bruises on areas of your body that are typically covered by clothing, talk with your doctor. Keep in mind that some medicines can cause you to bruise more easily.

  • Medical laser
    Skin Cancer
    Skin cancer doesn’t happen to everyone as they age, but it is a concern. As many as 50% of Americans will have skin cancer at least once by the time they are 65. You can protect your skin from cancer—and from the other signs of aging—by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.

  • Image of woman wearing a sun hat
    Protect Your Skin
    Even if you’ve already noticed some signs of aging, there are steps you can take to keep your skin healthy. Using sunscreen and moisturizer every day are the most important steps. But exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and not smoking can also lend your skin a more youthful appearance. Cutting back on alcohol can also help, as alcohol tends to dry out the skin.

How Our Skin Changes as We Age

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Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 11
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.