Saturday, January 14, 2012

Skin Conditions With Aging

Patients often have growths or skin changes that they wonder about.  After examining them, in many cases I say "happy birthday"...it's a manifestation of getting older.  Aging leads to a number of skin and hair changes and when you add the effects of sun, smoking and the environment,  the changes can be profound.
Over time the epidermis thins and by age 60 the dermis is 20% thinner than before.  It is even thinner in areas that have been exposed to the sun.  But even skin that has not been exposed to ultraviolet radiation has 50% fewer mast cells and reduced blood flow, not to mention diminished elastic fiber and collagen.

Pictures are worth a thousand words so here are some to show the changes.
Fine and deep wrinkles are evident on this face.  Thin skin around the eyes causes bags and drooping of the eyelid.


Actinic Keratosis are benign, dry, reddish, crusty lesions that appear on sun exposed ares like the face, ears, hands, chest and arms.  Sometimes a biopsy is needed to differentiate from a squamous cell carcinoma but sun protection from an early age is the best way to avoid them.
 Senile Purpura is really just bruising in older skin.  These dramatic purple blotches form because the blood vessels are fragile and the skin is so thin.  It does not indicate vitamin deficiency or any bleeding disorder.

Healthy skin can be maintained by avoiding cigarettes and sun.  Those are the two most damaging influences for skin and blood vessels.

9 comments:

Raymond Bouchayer said...

Zut Alors !!! not to much fun to look forward at getting old .....What do you say we hop for staying young or getting younger

Toni Brayer, MD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toni Brayer, MD said...

Raymond: Yes,yes yes.

I was telling a friend today that I hated telling people they had "senile Purpura". She suggested I pronounce it "Sen-elle". I like that very much

Lisa said...

Is there anything else that can help avoid the purple skin? If one doesn't smoke or stay in the sun>

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Lisa: not really. Aging skin is a birthday present from nature.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Sunscreen anyone?

cynthia bailey MD said...

Aging has a 'decorative' impact on our skin. The 'snow flakes' of xerosis (dry skin) need to be added to the list here as it's ubiquitous as we age, as are seborrheic keratosis (barnacles). Nice pics to illustrate the conditions.

skin and aging said...

skin conditions are of course the problems especially for women who would like to have a good skin.
thanks,

Anonymous said...

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