Looking and feeling young in every phase of life
Part 3 of 3-Skin and Hydration
By Lori Hudson Bertrand DC, RN
Football on TV, a chill in the air…fall is here and there’s nothing quite like it! A new season is approaching meaning another year has gone by. With it we often think over the last year of what we have accomplished, goals met (or unmet), relationships we’ve acquired, and memories made, but how often do we think about what all our skin has endured over that time? Our skin is our first line of defense – it protects our organs, shields us from germs, absorbs the sun’s rays, and regulates our body during temperature changes. Needless to say, it endures lots of abuse. With all that said, it’s not surprising that our skin begins to change over time. With all the changes the body goes through both physically and mentally over the years, the most obvious evidence of age is wrinkles and age spots. Some of the changes that take place are genetic, while others can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Here are some of the skin changes that take place as we age.
Dry skin – Sebaceous glands begin to produce less oil as we get older. This is common in women and typically begins after menopause. This in return makes it harder to keep the skin moist, and can cause the skin to become drier.
- The subcutaneous fat layer within the skin thins with age. In return, this may cause temperature regulation to be altered, and make it harder to maintain body temperature.
- Medications that absorb through the skin can work differently because the skin is thinner.
- Skin cell regeneration slows down over time, which can be another major factor for thin skin and easily damaged skin.
Wrinkles – Connective tissue changes can cause the strength and integrity of the skin to go out the window. Collagen formation and skin circulation can slow down contributing to decreased elasticity. When elasticity within the skin decreases those dreaded wrinkles appear.
- Melanocytes, cells that give skin its color, decrease over time causing the skin to look pale.
- Moles may appear.
- Age spots or hyperpigmentation changes in the skin can appear at any age but are common in older adults because of the accumulation of UV rays that penetrate the skin altering normal melanocyte production.
Our skin endures abuse from life itself. As we age, more changes within it take place. With that said, we need to take start taking care of our skin now! Hydration has a lot to do with keeping our skin looking younger. Our bodies are composed of roughly 60%percent water so adequate hydration is imperative for proper organ and cell function. Hydration is an important aspect of skin care; it helps keep it soft and smooth, reducing the signs of aging. The water content within the skin is seen as a protective barrier. When not properly hydrated, skin looses its thickness and can lose some of its protective capabilities. The skin can also appear dry, sensitive, and easily irritated. When the skin is adequately hydrated, it can heal faster and recover from injuries/abuse more efficiently.
Water is considered more valuable than food and vital for the entire body. It’s necessary for the body’s chemical reactions, aids in digestion, promotes circulation, responsible for absorption of nutrients, and movement of joints. So how much water do we really need to help our skin and body function optimally? Depending on your physical activity, medical history, age, weight, and other factors, the amount of water can vary, but a general consensus has been made. Some of the daily consumption of fluids can come from the food you eat, but on average, a healthy individual is encouraged to drink between 2-3 liters/day. Drinks containing caffeine, such as tea and coffee, should be consumed in moderation. While there are many benefits from caffeine, too much may cause the kidneys to excrete excess urine and other nutrients. So add water to your diet, and avoid replacing that cup of water for that cup of Joe. And of course alcohol doesn’t count towards that total either!
Keeping the body hydrated is something we all know we should be a doing for our body and skin, but do we always think about the role if plays in anti-aging? Hydration is just one element that keeps the skin looking and feeling young.
What measures are you taking to keep your skin healthy and nourished through every season of life?
DEFINE’s senior instructor and anatomy specialist, Lori Hudson Bertrand D.C., R.N. is a doctor in chiropractic and registered nurse. Her love for helping people through education about anatomy and physiology drives her to continue to share her experiences and knowledge with others as they pursue their journey towards health and restoration!
Taylor, Lillis, LeMone, Lynn, Fundamentals of Nursing, (Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer, 2008), 453, 1186,1422.
(2007). Areas of Age-Related Changes, vol 2. Retrieved from: