Aging With Grace
Were you a proud owner of a baby oil with iodine tan? Have you seen your skin get more fines lines and wrinkles as the years go by? What about those brown spots on your hands? White spots on your arms that once were a golden bronze? What other characteristics of your skin are changing with age? Sun damage results in wrinkles, dryness, age spots, and potentially skin cancer or melanoma. As skin ages it thins, fat is lost, and volume diminishes in some areas and expands in others – usually where you don’t want it. The smooth contours of youth seem to disappear, and veins and bony areas become more prominent. The natural healing process slows and collagen production all but stops.
Johns Creek Dermatology wants you to be aware of changes in your skin, what may cause the change, and how to minimize superficial conditions of aging.
Itchy Dry Skin
Dry, itchy, rough or scaly skin affects many older people, men and women, particularly on lower legs, elbows, hands and lower arms. What are common causes of dry skin
- Sun exposure
- Dry air
- Reduction in sweat and oil glands
In addition to external factors, health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can contribute to dry skin. Hot baths, certain kinds of soap, deodorant, body sprays/perfume and even medicines can exacerbate dry itchy skin. Scratching can lead to bleeding and possibly infection due to thinning skin as we age. Dr. Timani recommends some ways to alleviate dry, itchy skin:
- Use moisturizers, lotions, creams, or ointments daily
- Limit baths, substitute warm water for hot showers, and use mild soap.
- Invest in a humidifier to replenish moisture in the air.
Are you noticing more bruises on your appendages and body and can’t figure out how in the world you got them? As you age, your skin bruises more easily than when you were younger and it usually takes longer for bruises to heal. Certain medication and illnesses may also cause bruising. If you notice bruises on parts of your body usually covered by clothing, and don’t recall bumping it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Timani.
Wrinkles are a dreaded side-effect of aging. External factors such as UV sun damage, and dry or windy climate reduce elasticity in the skin. Gravity is a major culprit of sagging skin and wrinkles. Smoking, stress and certain repetitive muscle movements also can wrinkle skin. Although multitudes of creams, lotions and at-home potions claim to make wrinkles go away, the truth is most of them don’t work. The product ingredients simply cannot reach the subcutaneous skin depth necessary to be effective. Dr. Timani can recommend options such as injectable muscle movement inhibitors like Botox, dermal fillers, microdermabrasion and peels that do reduce the appearance of wrinkles and creases, as well as pharmaceutical grade products to enhance and sustain the quality of your skin.
Age Spots and Skin Tags
Age spots, or referred to as “liver spots,” are flat, brown spots larger than freckles usually caused by sun damage. They are commonly found on areas like the face, hands, arms, back, and feet. Dr. Timani may recommend use of a topical retinol cream, laser, peel or series of microdermabrasion sessions to reduce their appearance. And as always, use of broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against future damage and new age spots.
Skin tags begin to appear as we age, especially for women. These small, flesh-colored growths of skin with a raised surface are most often found on the eyelids, neck, and body folds such as the armpit, chest, and groin. Although age spots and skin tags are harmless if they make you self-conscious, or become irritated, talk to Dr.Timani about having them removed.
Anyone, regardless of skin color, can develop skin cancer. Johns Creek Dermatology emphasizes that the number one cause of skin cancer is the sun, and prevention and protection from sun damage helps reduce the potential from carcinomas. Tanning beds cause even more damage. People with fair skin that burns and freckles easily are at greatest risk. As you age, the cumulative effects of years of sun exposure may lead to two types of slow growing, typically benign cancers that found mostly on parts of the skin exposed to the sun, like the head, face, neck, hands, and arms. At Johns Creek Dermatology, some of the visible effects of the sun, including fine lines, hyperpigmentation, dark spots and keloids can be minimized with microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
- Your skin changes with age – it’s an undeniable fact. But with the help of Dr. Timani and her staff, there are things you can do for your skin to help yourself age gracefully. And remember to check your skin often, and if you notice any changes that concern you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Timani. One of Dr. Timani’s specialty areas is dermatopathology, where she develops a diagnosis of skin eruptions and cancers through the examination of skin biopsies. Therefore, it is important to also visit our office annually for a full body skin exam to detect any potential skin cancers. Our office is conveniently located in Johns Creek, serving patients all throughout the North Fulton area, as well as South Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties, and surrounding areas.