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Characteristics of Ageing Skin

Most research into the way skin changes with age focus primarily on the unwelcome aesthetic aspects of ageing, rather than the characteristics of ageing skin and its effects on our health. A paper published by Advances in Wound Care discusses how skin deterioration is more than merely a cosmetic problem. Ageing skin can also reflect and hinder our health and well-being.

Although mortality from skin disease is primarily restricted to melanoma, dermatological disorders are ubiquitous in older people with a significant impact on quality of life. The structural and functional deterioration of the skin that occurs with age has numerous clinical presentations, ranging from benign but potentially excruciating disorders like pruritus, to the more threatening carcinomas and melanomas.

The paper discusses the degenerative changes that occur in the ageing skin, and the recent advancements in understanding them at a molecular and cellular level, which facilitates a deeper understanding of the structural and functional deterioration that these changes produce.

A loss of both function and structural stability in skin proceeds unavoidably as individuals age, which is the result of both intrinsic and extrinsic processes contributing simultaneously to a progressive loss of skin integrity. Intrinsic ageing proceeds at a genetically determined pace, primarily caused by the build-up of damaging products of cellular metabolism as well as an increasing biological ageing of the cells. Estrogen levels strongly influence skin integrity in women as well; falling levels in midlife produce premature ageing compared to similarly aged men. Extrinsic insults from the environment then add to the dermatological signs of ageing.

Understanding the physiological basis of ageing skin – for reasons beyond the aesthetic aspects – ultimately facilitates progress in the cosmetic and pathogenic treatment of ageing skin.

Click here to access the full paper 

Source: Advances in Wound Care
Authors: Miranda A. Farage, Kenneth W. Miller, Peter Elsner and Howard I. Maibach

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