Skin Changes after 40
No doubt you have noticed skin changes after 40. Indeed you may have inspected your face in the mirror and asked yourself “how did my mother get in my mirror”, or is that just me? I noticed changes as early as my 30’s and was certainly distressed. Our society values youth and there is a plethora of products for you to apply, inject, and ingest to stave off the inevitable. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthy foods and sweating also play a role in healthy skin. My ebook, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, reveals the best eating plans and movement plans for those over 40.
Good skin care starts in your twenties to be sure. Avoiding sun, and using skin protectants and creams will certainly help the long term effects and to delay skin changes. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet will make have a positive impact as well.
What are some of the skin conditions that arise in mid-life?
I am glad that you asked. Wrinkles for sure, but I am not going to talk about those, that is for another blog. I want to address the changes that occur that may be causing you alarm.
Cherry hemangiomas are one of them. Ok that does sound scary, but those are the tiny bright cherry red (hence the name) spots that you may have noticed on your torso or back. They are bundles of little capillaries. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels. These can develop around middle age and more may crop up as you continue to age. Sudden appearance of many of them warrants further evaluation by your doctor. Some studies attribute the appearance of these to iodine deficiency (which can also been shown to be related to hypothyroidism), estrogen excess and bromine exposure. To be sure, consult your doctor.
Sun spots are darkened spots that usually arise on the outer cheeks, or hands, arms and decollete. Just like the name implies, they are from sun exposure. They often have an irregular boarder and are smooth, but generally the same color across the lesion. You can try skin lightening creams, avoidance of the sun or see a dermatologist for more intensive treatments.
Seborrheic keratotses. These are what one of my nurse practitioner friends called “barnacles”. These are raised, rough looking lesions. They are typically on the upper body, the back, neck and temples. They are usually tan, brown or black. You may feel tempted to just pluck them off, because they look like they are just on the surface. Not so. They are also harmless. No treatment is necessary, unless they are unsightly to you or they are in a spot that irritates them.
Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that is noticed around the nape of the neck and around the armpits. This is a brown discoloration that appears to be dirty skin, like ring around the collar It is a velvety feeling skin, that does not come off with cleansing with a cloth. It is considered outward sign suggestive of high insulin level. High insulin levels are a precursor to diabetes type 2. This is common after 40 (but can be present in obese children) in people who have a BMI of over 30. This sign that you should see your doctor and be evaluated for pre-diabetes or diabetes. This can actually resolve with weight loss and blood sugar management.
What to do?
I recommend an annual skin scan by your primary care doctor or provider, who may then refer you to a dermatologist.
If you even suspect a skin lesion, or have a hint of worry…that is enough reason to go got it checked out.
If you think you have acanthosis nigricans, seek evaluation right away. You will likely be directed to lose weight and increase your activity levels to avoid medication.
These skin changes are certainly not the only ones that can arise.
Take care of your skin inside and out. You take care of your skin from the inside with proper nutrition, limited sugar and processed foods, and exercise. You can take care of your skin by keeping it clean, preventing sunburns, moisturizing as needed and getting skin health check ups regularly.
I can help you with finding the right eating and exercise plan for you, and doing so will benefit your skin!
Some good reading for more in depth descriptions of the conditions I talked about.
Age Spots. Retrieved from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging#agespots
Cherry Hemangioma. Retrieved from https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/dermatologic-look-alikes/vascular-nodules-and-papules/article/206967/3/
Seborrheic Keratoses. Retrieved from: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/bumps-and-growths/seborrheic-keratoses