Thin skin isn’t only evident in older people. Anyone can develop thin skin for different reasons. No matter the cause, thin skin is prone to injury and injury poses a threat to the body’s largest mechanical defense system.
The skin is composed of different layers. As the person ages, the skin’s dermal layer doesn’t develop cells as fast as it used to and the fatty cells in the skin also begin to degrade, causing not only thinning but loosening or sagging of the skin.
How fast or early skin thins depends on the person’s genetic make-up. However, there are causes that can be controlled and hence by controlling certain factors, early thinning of the skin can be delayed.
Thinning of the Skin Causes
There are controllable and uncontrollable causes of skin thinning. These include:
- Aging process. As a person ages, the fatty layers of the skin begin to diminish, collagen and elastin of the skin decreases, and the hormone testosterone decreases causing the skin to thin.
- Genetics. The genetic make-up of the individual can determine whether he or she is prone to skin thinning.
- Exposure to the sun. Increased sun exposure can cause thinning of the skin because sun exposure damages the collagen and elastin fibers of the skin overtime.
- Dry skin. Dry skin is susceptible to thinning compared to a well-hydrated and moisturized skin.
- Underlying medical conditions. Certain diseases can cause the skin to thin especially Ehler’s-Danlos syndrome, Cushing syndrome, Frohlich syndrome, Cockayne Syndrome, Goltz syndrome, Growth Hormone Receptor Deficiency, adrenal cancer and many more.
- Use of medications. Certain medications can cause the skin to thin such as prolonged use of corticosteroids.
Thinning of the Skin Symptoms
Thin skin can be manifested or evident through the following symptoms:
- Skin that appears papery thin.
- Skin that is shiny in appearance.
- Skin that is stretched (especially in cases of edema).
- Skin that is loose and sagging.
- Skin that is easily bruised.
- Skin that is easily cut or injured.
Thinning of the Skin Treatment
Thin skin can be restored in certain individuals. Elderly individuals may no longer be able to restore their skin to the way it was in their youth, but further thinning and injuries can be prevented.
- Moisturize the skin. Applying moisturizer daily to the skin locks in moisture that helps prevent the loss of natural oils that can keep the skin healthy. This also avoids dry skin which leads to thin skin.
- Avoid overexposure to the sun. Apply sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.
- Wear protective clothing. When doing activities that can potentially cut the skin, wear proper clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, protective gloves and the like.
- Eat a proper diet. Eating a diet that is rich in nutrients will keep the skin nourished and healthy.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking sufficient amount of fluids will keep the skin hydrated and moisturized.