Today is my birthday, not that I am proud of it, but it is the anniversary of the day I was born nonetheless. While we age minute by minute, we get older year by year. Not that I mind. Life is exhausting and I look forward to the day when my age catches up with the way I feel as I drag my old butt out of bed each morning. By midday, though, at least mentally I feel like I did when I was twenty-five. I am the same. My emotions, my reactions, my thoughts are the same. Why does my face, then, look so different? I walked into a bar with my college girls on Friday night and the bouncer asked for ID. “You’re kidding?,” I asked, secretly hoping he was serious. “Of Course!” he replied. Funny guy. He may as well just added “ma’am” and offered me his stool. I don’t know if my birthday is the best time to write about aging skin or if it is the worst time. I’m not thinking clearly. It must be the senility setting in.
Today, understanding your skin so that you are better equipped to make it do what you want.
1. The largest organ in our body, the skin does a lot more than just hold everything together. Among other things, it is the immune system’s first line of defense, controls the body’s temperature, excretes waste, metabolizes vitamin D and manages our sensation.
2. The skin is made up of three layers. Moving from out to in, they are the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis.
3. The skin has remarkable regenerative powers but as we age, the normal wear and tear on the skin starts to outrun the natural reparative processes.
4. Aging skin is a result of both intrinsic or genetic factors and extrinsic or environmental factors. (More on this tomorrow.)
5. Normal changes in the skin as we age: Roughness from inability to retain moisture, loosening of skin from loss of elastic tissue, transparency from the thinning of the epidermis and increased susceptibility to injury from a decrease in the skin’s support structures.
While beauty may be only skin-deep, my mirrors only allow me to see skin-shallow –shallow, of course, being the operative word. No matter how small your ego, the signs of aging on your skin can take a big toll. There is a line from a Bon Jovi song (I am becoming such a Jersey Girl), “There isn’t one of these lines that I would erase.” He is a better person than I because I would erase them all if I could. On a good day, I can look at all the changes and see the remnants of all the smiles and tears and laughter. On my birthday, I look at my face and see the evidence of another year gone by – for better or for worse. This week, understanding and caring for your aging skin.