Weird Things That Happen to Your Skin as You Age

As we grow older, one of the most visible signs of aging is often the condition of our skin. Read on to know what happens to your skin as you age gracefully.

Actinic Keratosis

The ultraviolet light from the sun or from a tanning bed causes these raised, crusty growths. You will probably have more than one. Most turn red, but some can be tan or pinkish. If you spot any of these, you must meet your doctor, a dermatologist who specializes in skin diseases. If you do not treat them, they have the tendency to turn into cancer. Usually what the doctor does is, he prescribes a cream, or performs a surgery to remove them, or he may freeze or burn them off.

Seborrheic Keratosis

These tan or brown spots can appear almost anywhere on your body, especially after middle age. You will probably have more than one. They are harmless, but they can look like pre-cancer growths or skin cancer. So you need to get it checked by your doctor. Most people do not need treatment, but the doctor might remove them if they bother you or to test for cancer cells.

Age Spots

These age spots are also called liver spots. These small dark patches often show up in places that get lots of sunlight, like your face, hands, shoulders, and arms. They are more common if you’re over 50, but you can get them if you are younger and you spend a lot of time outside. They do not require treatment, but your doctor may take a sample to make sure it is not cancer.  He can lighten them with bleaching products or remove them if you want. You can use sunscreen to prevent them and avoid going out in the sun.

Cherry Angioma

These small, red bumps or growths can show up anywhere on your body, but they are more commonly found near your chest, belly, and back. They do not hurt, but they might bleed if they get hit or scraped. They are usually fine left alone, but your doctor can remove them with a laser if you do not like the way they look.

Skin Tags

These small flaps of tissue hang from your skin by a stalk. You will usually find them on your chest, back, neck, armpits, or around your groin. They are not dangerous, but they can get irritated if your clothes or jewelry rub against them. The doctor might cut it off, freeze it off, or burn it off with an electric current or laser if it continues to bother you.

Solar Elastosis

Solar elastosis is a cause of long-term sun damage, which turns your skin yellow and causes bumps and deep ridges. It affects people of all skin tones, but it is more obvious on light skin. It is worse if you light up. While the sun only affects the top layer of your skin, tobacco smoke causes damage deeper down. You should not smoke if you have this condition. Stay out of the sun, or do all you can to protect yourself from it.

Varicose Veins

As your blood vessels start to weaken it can start to swell and twist or bulge. They mostly show up on your legs and feet. They do not usually signal a serious problem, but they can be linked to swollen veins that result in superficial blood clots. And they often ache. Your doctor may give you a pair of compression socks or stockings to add pressure and help get rid of them. If that does not work, he might suggest a minor surgery.

Spider Veins

These small bundles of broken blood vessels often show up on your legs, ankles, feet, and maybe even your face. Causes include a backup of blood, hormone changes, or an injury. They do not point to a major health problem, but they can itch or burn. Try tight compression stockings to put the squeeze on them. If that does not help, your doctor might suggest a minor surgical procedure.

Itchy Skin

As you grow old, skin gets drier. That can bring on the itch. You must visit your doctor if it lasts more than 2 weeks or covers your body. It could be a sign of something more serious like kidney disease, lack of iron, thyroid, or liver problems. The doctor will examine you and might take blood to help figure out the cause and what is the best to treat it.

Leg Ulcers

Blood flow problems make it easy for the skin on your lower legs and feet to get injured. If bacteria gets into the broken skin, the whole area can become infected. If you have a health condition like diabetes that makes you heal slower, you might end up with an open sore, or ulcer. The doctor will keep the wound clean and tell you to keep moving, raise your legs, and, in some cases, put pressure on the area. You may need surgery if they do not go away.

Contact Dermatitis

This itchy and very painful condition comes in two forms:

Allergic dermatitis, after you touch something like a poison ivy leaf or use a scented laundry product.

Irritant dermatitis, which results from things that bother your skin like moisture, chapped lips or diaper rash on a baby.

As you get older, the condition may not respond to normal treatments. Medicated creams that you use for age-related skin problems can also cause a reaction. Your doctor will find out the cause so you can avoid it and he will probably prescribe drugs to soothe the itch.


You get a bruise when tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin break. As you get older, your skin gets thinner and loses fat, which can make you bruise more easily. It is usually nothing to worry about, but it could be a sign of something more serious. Some blood-thinning medicines can also cause more or bigger bruises, so you must tell your doctor about any drugs you take.


Wrinkles will show up as you age, but you might be able to slow the process with healthy food, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise. Protect yourself from the sun and watch out for strong soaps that have the tendency to remove the natural oils from your skin. Do not smoke as it makes them worse. Wrinkles are not bad for you. Chemical peels, injections, laser treatments, and surgery can get rid of some.

Saggy Skin

The first places you notice skin sagging are often your jawline and neck. You might hear it called turkey neck. Sunscreen and moisturizer can help hold it off.  Even exercises for your neck, jaw, and throat muscles can control skin sagging. Surgery and other treatments can help get rid of it.

Skin Cancer

You get skin cancer when the damaged skin cells can grow out of control and become cancerous. One main cause is ultraviolet (UV) light from years of exposure to the sun or tanning beds. But you can get cancer in places where the sun does not shine. That means your genes and toxins in the world around you also play a role. Your doctor may treat cancerous lesions with creams, injections, pills, surgeries, laser treatments, or radiation therapy. Depending on the type of skin cancer, you may need chemotherapy or other kinds of treatment as well.

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