How Does Aging Affect the Skin?


Quick Answer

Aging affects the skin in terms of its texture, transparency, elasticity, fragility, and susceptibility to bruising and lesions, explains WebMD. Growing older results in naturally occurring changes to the skin’s surface as well as beneath the skin in terms of fat loss, cartilage loss and bone loss that can cause puckering around the mouth. Other changes include the effects of gravity, horizontal and vertical face lines, and sleep creases which may appear from positioning the head on a pillow.

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Full Answer

Aging affects the skin primarily in terms of loss of smoothness and the development of abnormal growths, such as benign tumors, according to WebMD and Healthline. Loss of tissue called elastin causes skin to slacken and lose firmness, resulting in a hanging appearance. Thinning of the surface layer, known as the epidermis, also occurs. Beneath the surface there is a flattening of the region between the epidermis and the underlying layer known as the dermis. Blood vessels experience a thinning of the walls.

Aging manifests in skin changes on the face. For example, eyelids and eyebrows look droopy, ear lobes get longer, and jowls and a "double chin" appear. An overall bony appearance can result from loss of cartilage and fat below the skin, creating sunken eyes and a drooping nasal tip. Other factors, such as stress and sun exposure, influence the skin's aging process causing wrinkles and spots.

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