Skin changes you should know about

Serums, moisturisers, herbal creams, supplements, special diets, lifestyle tips … all come to nothing in the quest to avoid the effects of ageing on our skin – no matter how much the products cost.

But there are some skin conditions that occur as you age that you should know about and watch out for. And some that will be just a new part of you.

Age spots
You love the name, right? Age spots, or liver spots, are small dark patches on areas of the skin that get lots of sun. They commonly appear after you turn 50, but you can get them earlier if you’ve been a sun-lover. They’re a reminder to use sunscreen if you’re out and about.

Red moles
These small, red bumps or growths, also known as cherry angioma, can show up anywhere on the body, but are more common on the chest, belly and back. No treatment is usually necessary, but they can bleed if they get knocked, and can be removed by your GP.

Skin tags
These small growths, often on a kind of stalk, are usually found on the chest, back, neck, armpits or around the groin and especially where skin rubs against skin or clothing. They aren’t dangerous, but if one bothers you, your doctor can remove it.

Actinic keratosis
These are raised, crusty growths, generally on your arms, that again result from sun exposure – or tanning lights. You’ll probably have more than one and most will be red, but they can be tan or pinkish. They commonly occur on the face, neck, chest, backs of hands, forearms and lips, but also on the ears and scalp, which make skin checks important as you might not spot them. They can turn into cancer, so see your doctor.

Varicose veins
These are weakened blood vessels that start to swell and twist or bulge as we age, and are mostly present on the legs and feet. They don’t usually signal a serious problem, but can become inflamed and result in superficial blood clots. And they often ache. Compression garments may help, otherwise your GP may suggest surgery.

Spider veins
These small bundles of broken blood vessels can pop up on your legs, ankles, feet and face. Causes include a backup of blood, hormone changes, or an injury. They don’t point to a major health problem, but they can itch or burn.

Itchy skin
Ageing skin gets drier – and itchier as a result. If the itch spreads across your body and is persistent, you may wish to see your doctor, otherwise moisturise daily. The itch could be a sign of more something more serious such as kidney disease, an iron deficiency, or thyroid or liver problems.

Bruising
It’s a sad fact that as we age, our skin gets thinner, so that even a slight knock will easily bruise it. Some blood-thinning medication can acerbate the problem. It’s usually nothing to worry about. Be more careful and cover your arms and legs in the garden

Skin cancer
A change in the colour or condition of a mole should send you straight to your GP or specialist for a skin check. And remember that you can get cancer in places where the sun doesn’t shine.

Wrinkles
Maybe we should be happy to have them … happy we’ve made it far enough to get wrinkles. They’re inevitable, but maybe healthy food, plenty of sleep, regular exercise, sun protection and a good moisturiser might help.

See Weird Things That Happen To Your Skin as You Age at WebMD.

Are you vigilant about checking for any unusual changes on your skin? Do you have regular skin checks?

Related articles:
Skincare tips for travellers
Seven steps to ageing gracefully
Reviving sun-damaged skin
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Janelle Ward

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