​How Skin Changes With Age?

05-25-2018

Photo Credit: Photo by Oleg Sergeichik on Unsplash

With aging, skin also changes. The changes in skin are both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic changes are those that appear with aging of body. Extrinsic changes are those that occur because of external factors such as sun, smoking, gravity and bad skin care. We cannot stop any intrinsic change because that is programmed in our body, but we can surely change habits and reduce changes due to extrinsic factors.

Let us look at the changes in skin with ageing. As you know skin has three layers- Epidermis (Outermost layer), Dermis (Middle layer) and subcutaneous layer that is below the dermis. As we age, the epidermis or the outermost layer begins to thin. The melanocytes (Pigment containing cells) decrease. Though melanocytes decrease in number they increase in size. This gives a pale look to the skin. Ageing changes due to sun such as liver spots or lentigo appear. They are also called age spots. The blood vessels in the dermis begin to lose strength and easily lead to bruising and bleeding under the skin. The subcutaneous layer that gives fat padding to skin thins. This again increases the risk of skin injury. Both sweat glands and sebaceous glands become less active.

As we age, our skin loses its suppleness, texture and strength. With age spots and other pigmentation, the look is lost. With weakening of strength, it becomes easy for skin to suffer damage easily. Healing becomes very slow. The healing may be four times as slow in old age as compared to youth. Skin turns dry and our sense of touch heat etc. reduces considerably. Other growths such as skin tags, warts, mar the appearance further.

Wrinkles appear on skin at all the places. As the underlying fat in the subcutaneous layer is lost, hollowness appears on the cheeks and eye sockets. Jowls form because of gravity. The hair grays and turns white. Some people lose hair and some grow hair at unwanted places. The nails become thin and half moons on the nails disappear.

As with every part of our body skin ages and brings about changes that mar the look completely. Sun damage can accelerate the skin aging considerably and can also cause skin diseases such as skin cancers etc. regular care of skin is necessary along with protecting skin from the harm full rays of sun to maintain youthful look for a longer time.

Why muscles get sore?

05-07-2018

Photo credit: On Pexels CC0 License

As people age, they begin to complain more of pains in their muscles and joints. They seem to stiffen up with age, and such commonplace activities as bending over for the morning paper can make them wince.

Such pain can grip so fiercely that they are sure it begins deep in their bones. But the real cause of stiffness and soreness lies not in the joints or bones, according to research at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, but in the muscles and connective tissues that move the joints.

The frictional resistance generated by the two rubbing surfaces of bones in the joints is negligible, even in joints damaged by arthritis.

Flexibility is the medical term used to describe the range of a joint’s motion from full movement in one direction to full movement in the other. The greater the range of movement, the more flexible the joint.

If you bend forward at the hips and touch your toes with your fingertips, you have good flexibility, or range of motion of the hip joints. But can you bend over easily with a minimal expenditure of energy and force? The exertion required to flex a joint is just as important as its range of possible motion.

Different factors limit the flexibility and ease of movement in different joints and muscles. In the elbow and knee, the bony structure itself sets a definite limit. In other joints, such as the ankle, hip, and back, the soft tissue—muscle and connective tissue—limit the motion range.

The problem of inflexible joints and muscles is similar to the difficulty of opening and closing a gate because of a rarely used and rusty hinge that has become balky.

Hence, if people do not regularly move their muscles and joints through their full ranges of motion, they lose some of their potential. That is why when these people will try to move a joint after a long period of inactivity, they feel pain, and that discourages further use

What happens next is that the muscles become shortened with prolonged disuse and produces spasms and cramps that can be irritating and extremely painful. The immobilization of muscles, as researchers have demonstrated with laboratory animals, brings about biochemical changes in the tissue.

However, other factors trigger sore muscles. Here are some of them:

1. Too much exercise

Have you always believed on the saying, “No pain, no gain?” If you do, then, it is not so surprising if you have already experienced sore muscles.

The problem with most people is that they exercise too much thinking that it is the fastest and the surest way to lose weight. Until they ache, they tend to ignore their muscles and connective tissue, even though they are what quite literally holds the body together.

2. Aging and inactivity

Connective tissue binds muscle to bone by tendons, binds bone to bone by ligaments, and covers and unites muscles with sheaths called fasciae. With age, the tendons, ligaments, and fasciae become less extensible. The tendons, with their densely packed fibers, are the most difficult to stretch. The easiest are the fasciae. But if they are not stretched to improve joint mobility, the fasciae shorten, placing undue pressure on the nerve pathways in the muscle fasciae. Many aches and pains are the result of nerve impulses traveling along these pressured pathways.

3. Immobility

Sore muscles or muscle pain can be excruciating, owing to the body’s reaction to a cramp or ache. In this reaction, called the splinting reflex, the body automatically immobilizes a sore muscle by making it contract. Thus, a sore muscle can set off a vicious cycle pain.

First, an unused muscle becomes sore from exercise or being held in an unusual position. The body then responds with the splinting reflex, shortening the connective tissue around the muscle. This cause more pain, and eventually the whole area is aching. One of the most common sites for this problem is the lower back.

4. Spasm theory

In the physiology laboratory at the University of Southern California, some people have set out to learn more about this cycle of pain.

Using some device, they measured electrical activity in the muscles. The researchers knew that normal, well-relaxed muscles produce no electrical activity, whereas, muscles that are not fully relaxed show considerable activity.

In one experiment, the researchers measured these electrical signals in the muscles of persons with athletic injuries, first with the muscle immobilized, and then, after the muscle had been stretched.

In almost every case, exercises that stretched or lengthened the muscle diminished electrical activity and relieved pain, either totally or partially.

These experiments led to the “spasm theory,” an explanation of the development and persistence of muscle pain in the absence of any obvious cause, such as traumatic injury.

According to this theory, a muscle that is overworked or used in a strange position becomes fatigued and as a result, sore muscles.

Hence, it is extremely important to know the limitations and capacity of the muscles in order to avoid sore muscles. This goes to show that there is no truth in the saying, “No pain, no gain.” What matters most is on how people stay fit by exercising regularly at a normal range than once rarely but on a rigid routine.

​Preventing Premature Wrinkles

05-01-2018

Photo Credit: By Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels CC0 License.

When do you think skin begins to wrinkle? You look into the faces of small children and see perfectly smooth, dewy skin without a wrinkle in sight. You look into the faces of teenagers and you might see acne, but you sure don't see wrinkles. You look into the face of a 20-year-old ó no wrinkles, not a single one. You look (very carefully) into the face of a person over 30 and you might see just the teeny, tiny hint of a wrinkle forming around the eyes. But you'd have to look really closely.

So at what age to wrinkles start forming? Is it at 30? Not really! The fact is that from the time we are born, the way we treat our skin has a great deal of effect on when the first wrinkles become visible. The groundwork for premature wrinkling can be laid very early in life.

Overexposure to sunlight is one of the leading causes of premature wrinkling. UV rays such the moisture right out of our skin. You know how fast a wet bathing suit dries when you are in direct sunlight. What makes you think that you skin isn't drying at the same alarming rate? It IS! And overexposure to harmful UV rays begins very early in life.

At about the same time a child is old enough to play in a sandbox, his skin is being exposed to sunlight. Parents need to be certain that their children's skin is protected. Kids don't need a driver's license before they need sunscreen.

Diet is also important in preventing premature aging. The skin is a body organ. It has nutritional needs, and those needs aren't met with fast food and junk food. A diet that is high in whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables will feed the skin and protect against premature wrinkling.

​ABC For Tired Toes

04-19-2018

Photo Credit: By Stokpic Pexels. CC0 License.

Feet: They take us anywhere and everywhere we want to go, but they also take lots of abuse. A typical day of walking exerts a force equal to several hundred tons on your feet.

One of the best ways to revive your tired toes is a pedicure - either at home or at the spa. Because when your feet feel good, your whole body feels refreshed and energized.

According to a recent American Podiatric Medical Association survey, 25 percent of women perform at-home pedicures, while 34 percent have indulged in salon or spa pedicures. Whichever way you pamper your feet, do it safely. Here are some tips from APMA member podiatrist Dr. Marlene Reid:

1. Soothe your soles. Smoothing away calluses on the heels, balls and sides of your feet will make them feel better. Use a pumice stone, foot file or foot scrub. You can make your own scrub by combining olive oil and sea salt. Avoid using a foot razor, which can remove too much skin and cause infection and permanent damage if used incorrectly.

2. Dry up. After soaking feet, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the scrub or other products and pat feet dry. Pay close attention to moisture between the toes, which can can lead to athlete's foot or other fungal infections.

3. Snip the tips. Toenails should be trimmed to just above the top of each toe. Use a straightedged toenail clipper to ensure nails do not become curved or rounded in the corners.

4. Make a clean sweep. Run a wooden or rubber manicure stick under nails to remove any dirt trapped underneath. Be very gentle and never use a sharp tool to clean under your nail or you may puncture the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

5. Shape them up. Smooth nail edges by filing toenails with an emery board. File lightly in one direction to smooth the edge of the nail without drastically rounding the corners of the nail; don't saw back and forth.

6. Care for cuticles. Moisturize cuticles with a cuticle cream or hand cream, and then gently push them back with a rubber cuticle pusher or manicure stick. Cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria entering the body and should never be cut.

7. Polish up. Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn't allow the nail or the nail bed to "breathe." Paint toes only if you have healthy nails and remove polish regularly with a non-acetone nail polish.

​Preventing Age Spots

04-03-2018

Photo Credit: By AnnaGerdt on Pixabay. CC0 license.

Getting older doesn't necessarily cause age spots. Too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun is more likely to cause these unattractive blotches, than maturity. This is why age spots are also called sun spots. Other factors that make you more susceptible to age spots (no matter what your age is) are smoking, a diet high in refined sugars and fats, a lack of vitamins, and over consumption of poor quality saturated oils. Age spots occur when our skin produces too much lipofuscin. Lipofuscinis is a dark substance that colors our skin pigment. Unsightly age spots can begin appearing as early as the late twenties but are most common after the age 55 (thus the name.)

Age spots are also known as liver spots. Other nicknames for age spots are brown spots, lentigo and sun spots. The name sun spot nickname of course comes from the fact that the skin darkens as the result of too much frolicking outside in the summer.

As is the case with most skin conditions age spots are much simpler to prevent than to cure. Your diet has a lot to do with reducing your chances of developing this unsightly condition. Eating a diet rich in orange vegetables (carrot and yams) and green leafy vegetables (collard greens and watercress) may help reduce your chances of developing these spots as you age. These foods are rich in antioxidants that help fight off damaging free radicals that are created as the result of too much exposure to the sun. They are also foods that are rich in Vitamin A and carotene, which also helps keep your skin in tiptop condition and more resistant to ultraviolet rays.

If you already have already developed age spots the good news is that there are some ways to diminish the way they look. There are several products on the market today that can fade them so they are less noticeable. The active ingredient in these over the counter products that is a chemical called hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a mild bleaching agent that helps lighten the appearance of all kinds of dark skin discolorations including age spots, scars and freckles. Some prescription versions of this scream also contain topical vitamin A, which can also help fade the look of obnoxious age spots.

If your age spots are particularly unattractive or forming in an undesirable place where they are too obvious (such as on the face) there are some slightly more invasive ways to cosmetically treat the problem. One of the most popular cosmetic treatments for age spots is a chemical peel. These peels contain anywhere from 70% to 80 % glycolic acid and remove layers of skin to reduce the appearance of the spots.

Yet another option is laser resurfacing. In this procedure the age spots are literally burned away using a sophisticated, targeted laser. However this treatment only works well on very white skin with very darkage spots. This is because laser treatments need a contrast of colors (black on white) to do their job well. Darker age spots on dark skin do not respond well at all to these treatments. If the age spot is lighter, purple or an odd color laser resurfacing may also not succeed in removing it. Black or dark brown age spots on fair skin respond the best to this treatment.

Although most age spots are harmless blotches, the early stages of skin cancer can masquerade as innocent looking dark spots. Your physician or a dermatologist should check any spot that enlarges, thickens, changes color, itches or bleeds. Irregularly shaped dark spots that change in color or increase in size could be the early warning sign of serious skin cancers.

One cost effective and natural way to reduce age spots is to simply keep out of the sun and wear long sleeved shirts. You should always take precautions to protect all of your exposed skin if you know you are going to be in a place where there is likely to be a lot of ultraviolet light. Make sure that you always wear sunscreen when you are out during a sunny day. Limiting your intake of alcohol can also discourage a propensity towards developing the unattractive skin discolorations.

Spots?

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