What Is Healthy Aging?

Sep 01, 2023
What Is Healthy Aging?
Getting older presents certain challenges, especially for your skin. Fortunately, you can take steps to meet those challenges and maintain your health and wellness. Here’s how to keep your skin healthy and beautiful regardless of age.

Getting older is a part of life, ushering in sometimes unexpected — and sometimes unwanted — changes. Anticipating and preparing for those changes can help you improve your physical and emotional wellness, even as the years mount up.

That’s the cornerstone of healthy aging: understanding the effects of aging and then taking steps to prevent or lessen age-related problems while optimizing overall wellness. 

While aging certainly affects your entire body, most of us tend to notice the effects of aging first and foremost in our skin, our largest — and most visible — organ. Awareness of the changes our skin undergoes as we age is essential in maintaining healthy skin and keeping aging signs and symptoms at bay.

As the leading dermatology practice in Portage, Michigan, Southwest Michigan Dermatology is committed to helping individuals enjoy healthy skin at every age and every stage of life. In this post, our team reviews a few basics that can help you maintain your skin as you age.

Aging and your skin

Skin aging can be roughly divided into two types: intrinsic aging, caused by internal biological factors, and extrinsic aging, caused by external factors. Every kind of aging affects your skin in different ways. 

Your genes largely determine intrinsic aging, but other factors, like illnesses and chronic stress, can also play a role. Even your hormones affect skin aging, especially hormonal declines associated with aging (and, for some, menopause).

 As we age, our skin naturally produces less collagen and elastin, two essential building blocks of young skin. That leaves our skin less resilient and firm — and more prone to wrinkles, lines, and sagging. 

Extrinsic aging is primarily influenced by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is responsible for about 90% of our skin's visible signs of aging. Smoking and air pollution can also hasten skin aging. It’s also responsible for skin cancer, which becomes more common with older age.

Keeping skin healthy as you get older

When many people think of skin care for older skin, they think of cosmetic treatments, like Botox®, fillers, microneedling, and laser treatments aimed at helping skin look younger and more resilient. These are certainly important for your complexion. Beyond these, when it comes to keeping your skin healthy, there are other steps you need to think about as you get older.

Regular skin exams

Having routine skin exams is one of the most important things you can do for your skin at any age, but those exams are crucial as you age. During your exam, we look for signs of skin cancer and chronic skin problems that respond best to early intervention. 

Cosmetic skincare

Establishing a regular skincare routine focused on aging skin plays a significant role in keeping your skin healthy and beautiful as you age. Our team offers a complete line of medical-grade skincare products at our practice, including our proprietary line of products. 

Chemical peels

We also offer chemical peel treatments aimed at helping your skin rejuvenate itself naturally. Regular peels also enable topical products to penetrate more deeply. During your routine skin exams, we recommend products and treatments and adjust your routine to ensure it's on track with your skin's unique and evolving needs.


Since the sun's UV rays are a big factor in skin aging, it makes sense to do all you can to limit your skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Using sunscreen every day (even in the winter & on cloudy days) and wearing clothing to protect your skin from the sun helps prevent premature aging while reducing your risk of skin cancer, too.


Your skin requires lots of fluid to maintain its protective barrier and natural moisture. Ideally, it would be best if you aimed to drink about eight glasses of water a day, limiting beverages with caffeine and alcohol that can drain moisture from your skin.

Healthy lifestyle changes

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding junk food and processed foods gives your skin the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Getting plenty of sleep and practicing stress management techniques, like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation, helps the skin stay healthy. 

Learn more about healthy aging and your skin

As a barrier against germs, your skin plays a vital role in maintaining overall wellness as you age. Maintaining your skin supports overall healthy aging while helping your skin look its absolute best.

To learn more about healthy aging and how we can help, call 269-321-7546 or request an appointment online at Southwest Michigan Dermatology today.