Aging Skin and Sun Safety Health Coaching Session May, 2022 Quality Life Forum Learning Series
Aging skin is normal part of life. It is natural for skin to go through changes during lifespan. Wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, sagging skin and dry areas are all commonly seen associated with inevitable ageing. Many people experience some benign skin growth, such as skin tags, cysts, seborrheic keratosis, cherry angiomas, moles or age spots as getting older.
Skin and body tags, which are known medically as acrochordon, are little flaps of skin that hang from the body on stalks of flesh. They vary in size and usually are brown or flesh-colored. Skin tags appear on both men and women as part of the aging process.
In fact, about half the population gets skin tags. A skin tag is a skin growth that usually forms where your skin often rubs together. Common places for skin tags to form include your armpits, the folds of your neck, and your groin. It is unknown how skin tags are caused, but the friction associated with the skin rubbing together may be a factor. Skin tags are made up of blood vessels and collagen surrounded by an outer layer of skin. Skin tags are usually soft and small, usually no more than 2 millimeters in size. They protrude slightly from the body and hang from a thin pillar of skin. They are not contagious, unlike warts. Skin tags are harmless and rarely cause discomfort. However, they can become irritated or itchy when clothing or jewelry rubs against them. Constant friction can cause skin tags to bleed or fall off.
Skin tags do not require treatment, unless there are other concerns. If you’re ready to have a troublesome skin tag removed, you’ll need to see a dermatologist. There currently are no ointments or lotions on the market have gotten approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat skin tags.
A skin cyst is a fluid-filled lump just underneath the skin. They’re filled with keratin, a soft protein material. They grow slowly over time from a blocked hair follicle or oil gland. Epidermoid cysts are small, round lumps under the skin. Cysts usually grow slowly and have a smooth surface. They can be tiny or very large. Skin cysts are common and harmless, mostly benign and not require treatment.
A seborrheic keratosis is a common benign skin growth. The peak time for developing seborrheic keratoses is after age 50. Seborrheic keratoses are usually brown, black or light tan. The growths (lesions) look waxy or scaly and slightly raised. They appear gradually, usually on the face, neck, chest or back. Seborrheic keratoses are harmless and not contagious. They don't need treatment.
Cherry angioma is most common after age 30, these bright cherry-red or purple benign skin elevations or spots are formed from overgrowths of blood vessels. While their cause is unknown, they tend to be inherited. These lesions can occur almost anywhere on the body; however, they typically appear on the trunk. Cherry angiomas vary in size, and while usually no larger than one-eighth inch (3 mm) in diameter, can be as large as approximately one-quarter of an inch. These benign growths usually do not require treatment.
A mole (nevus) is a flat or raised discoloration, usually dark in color, that can appear anywhere on the body. Moles show up on the skin where pigment cells grow in clusters. Most adults have some common moles, but they often fade by the age of 40. Changing moles or growing a new mole after age 60 can be a sign of skin cancer. The sun can make the skin age more rapidly and exposure is associated with the appearance of new moles.
An age spot is flat and light brown in color; it is common after age 40 years. These skin discolorations develop after many years of sun exposure. Age spots appear most often on areas of skin likely to get UV exposure such as the face, shoulders, forearms, and back of the hands.
What skin lesions may be cancerous? It is recommended to see a dermatologist for a full body skin cancer screening and evaluation for existing lesions, then re-evaluate for new development.
The Sun Safety for Aging Skin Sun exposures provide significant health benefits – improve mood and cognition, regulate sleep and immune functions, and the skin uses sunlight to help manufacture vitamin D, which is important for normal bone formation. Sunlight contains two forms of radiant energy, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVB provides the energy your skin needs to make vitamin D, but that energy can burn the skin and increase the cell damage that leads to cancer. UVA also contributes to skin damage and premature aging.
Of note, you can't get adequate UVB exposure sitting indoors or in a car. Virtually all commercial and automobile glass blocks UVB rays. As a result, you will not be able to increase your vitamin D levels by sitting in front of a sunny window, though much of the UVA radiation will penetrate the glass and may be harmful or cause major damage to the skin.
Both types of UV light are proven to contribute to the risk for skin cancer: Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and is associated with skin aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burning, according to the skin cancer foundation. Both UVA and UVB rays are capable of damaging your skin. UVA rays can penetrate your skin more deeply and cause your skin cells to age prematurely. About 95 percent of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVA rays. The other 5 percent of UV rays are UVB. They have higher energy levels than UVA rays, and typically damage the outermost layers of your skin, causing sunburn. These rays directly damage DNA and are the cause of most skin cancers. Frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays over many years is the chief cause of skin cancer, based on data evidence.
The ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate into the skin. The outer layer of the skin has cells that contain the pigment melanin. Melanin protects skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays. People tan because sunlight causes the skin to produce more melanin and darken. The tan fades when new cells move to the surface and the tanned cells are sloughed off. The sun damage the elastic fibers that keep skin firm, reduce its elasticity, allowing wrinkles to develop and leading to premature aging.
The UV index
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is no scientifically validated safe threshold level of UV exposure from the sun that allows for maximal vitamin D synthesis without increasing your skin cancer risk. The Ultraviolet (UV) Index is a valuable forecasting tool designed to help us make informed decisions for sun damage protection.
Very high (8, 9, 10) 15 – 25 minutes; Minimize sun exposure during the midday hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Skin Protection for Outdoor Swimming Swimming provides an all-over body workout and builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. Swimming is one of the best exercises for older adults. Does water block sunburn? According to science, UV-B, the frequency range of ultra-violet light that causes sunburn, is absorbed by water but you need a few meters of it to provide adequate protection. Half a meter of water will still let 40 per cent of the UV-B through and the cooling effect of the water makes you less aware of the Sun. In addition, be extra careful around water and sand. These surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of getting sunburn.
As the summer fun begins, enjoy the benefit of the sun and take actions for skin protection. Here are few useful tips for sun damage prevention -
Avoid to swim outdoor from 10 am - 4 pm, when the sun is the strongest
Apply water-resistant sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside/getting in the water
Reapply water-resistant sunscreen every 40-80 minutes while swimming or after toweling off
Use sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher and a "broad spectrum", which protects against both UVA and UVB
Or wear UV-protective long swimwear and cover clothing
Protect your scalp with a swim cap while swimming
Wear goggles for eye protection, from water and UV exposure.
To learn more about healthy aging, stay connected with Quality Life Forum. Everyone faces challenges; consider seeking support from trustworthy resources and engage with positive influences. A health coach can keep you motivated for goal achievement and help you to be the best of yourself and deal with setbacks. Contact Qualitylifeforum@outlook.com for your healthy aging needs.
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