What Happens to Skin as We Age? Characteristics of Aging Skin

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Candi Randolph

Every time I look in the mirror I’m reminded of my age. The signs of my mid 60’s life, those characteristics of aging skin, are impossible to ignore. Even so, I want to look as youthful as I can, naturally, with no invasive procedures. It’s a bit of a conundrum.

What happens to skin as we age? Well, those of us over 50 know that as time goes on our skin takes on a life of its own, ignoring our pleas to hold it’s shape and retain the supple feeling of our younger, collagen rich days.

what happens to skin as we age, characteristics of aging skn

But why does this happen to mature and older women? Why does the skin under our eyes, on our arms, décolletage and legs undergo such a transformation?

Let’s delve into the question of how our skin changes as we age, so we will be better equipped with the remedies and skin care routines to protect our skin and body as the years go by.

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What Happens to Skin as We Age

Characteristics of Aging Skin

Characteristics of Skin in Our 20’s

what happens to skin as we age, in our 20s

Remember when you were in your 20’s? I do. Young, naive, didn’t really have a clue as to what I would do with my life. But my skin looked great. 🙂

At that age, our skin has an abundance of estrogen, so it is smooth and firm, with plenty of collagen, the building block of skin. Ah…those were the days.

I didn’t give much thought to caring for my skin. Although I wasn’t a sun worshiper, I remember many sunning sessions as I sought the ‘healthy glow’ of tanned skin.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the look of a tan on my little body. My brain seems to think it means I’m healthy, even though I know better.

Skin in Our 30’s – First Signs of an Aging Face

first signs of an aging face, in our 30s

Estrogen levels start to dip a little in our 30’s, and the presence of dryness as well as acne can appear during this time in our life.

We might see more expression lines on our forehead and around our eyes, perhaps a few little age spots and even inflammatory conditions like rosacea and the occasional acne flare up.

For me, I was busy working and raising two little ones in my 30’s and didn’t spend much time on myself or my skin. And, it was well before the internet world existed so I continued to use skin care products that were familiar to me, whether or not they were the best for my skin. Who knew??

Characteristics of Skin in Our 40’s

characteristics of mature skin and how it changes as we get older

When we reach our 40’s the fun begins. Estrogren levels are really dropping so our skin is losing its moisture, firmness and elasticity.

And, estrogen related bone loss can start to affect our facial structure, with eyes that are more sunken in and skin that is slackening.

We may see broken capillaries, dulling of the skin, visible wrinkles and age spots. This is a time in our life when our skin changes dramatically.

I sure with I had been more informed as a 40 something woman. My skin was holding up pretty well (I think I have good skin genes from my Italian mother) and I just didn’t know any better.

My work over the last year on a natural face lift would have made such a difference if I’d started those facial exercises in my 40’s instead of in my 60’s!

“A balanced, healthy lifestyle is always important, but becomes critical as we are in our 40’s and beyond.

Characteristics of Skin in Our 50’s

what happens to our skin in our 50s

Well, my friends, this is the stage of our life where we lose almost all of the estrogen post menopause. We lose about a third of our collagen within the first five years of menopause, and as that occurs our skin will lose its glow, moisture and firmness. Collagen and aging go hand in hand.

The lines are deeper, the eyelids are sagging and drooping, age spots may become more prevalent, those pesky skin tags start appearing on our bodies, and we may even see some peach fuzz on our cheeks, chin and upper lip. I know…it can be a bit disheartening to see these things in black and white, but they’re all indicative of this age group.

Hydration, which is important for everyone, is even more critical at this time in our lives and beyond. We have to drink water…lots of it…to help our body, and our skin, retain some moisture. It is no longer happening naturally because our bodies do not have the natural hyaluronic acid that comes with estrogen. Excuse me for a moment while I take a big, long drink of water!

For me, the 50’s was a time of good health and plenty of exercise, as well as some education regarding skin care. It was at this point that I began to search for skin care products that would be helpful to me and decrease signs of aging.

The decision I made, though, to spend time at the pool with my husband when we lived in SW Florida, did not help my skin at all, particularly on my neck. I am paying the price for that now with more neck wrinkles and sagging skin.

Characteristics of Skin in Our 60’s

skin aging prevention - how our skin changes as we age

So now we’re in our 60’s, a time that is very familiar to me at age 64. What is happening with our skin? Well, all of the above, plus:

The circulation in our skin slows down significantly, which results in duller, faded skin. Fewer nutrients are reaching the skin because microcirculation, the passage of blood through the capillaries, is less efficient.

Most of us will also see an increase in skin tags, those bumps that can start small and get larger and thicker over time, more signs that the aging process is at our doorstep. They might be brown, or possibly flesh colored, and can’t be hidden with makeup. But, they can be removed through freezing or cauterizing.

As we’re aging and into our 60’s, the extremely low estrogen levels result in more wrinkles as our skin deflates.

If you watched the video above you’ll want to follow up with these posts to get all of the details about the products I mentioned!

What We Can Do For Our Aging Skin

The very best thing you can do, at any age, is to give your skin the care it needs at the stage of life you are in. That goes without saying, but I said it anyway. We have too much information in our world, at our fingertips (literally), to say that we didn’t know what to do for our skin.

There are good anti aging skincare products that don’t cost a lot of money, if we’re willing to do a bit of research and find them. It doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars to take care of your skin.

We should be able to squeeze in a few minutes of time every day to care for the body that God has given us. It sounds so trite, but it’s true: don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Hydration is essential. Drink water. Period. We need it to live, of course, but we also need to remain properly hydrated as we age, as our bodies are changing and no longer provide natural hydration.

Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will benefit your body, including your skin. Moderate intensity physical activity, like brisk walking, improves blood circulation. It promotes skin health, among other benefits.

Moisturize your skin – your face as well as the rest of your body.

  • use ultra hydrating products that are richer in texture and ingredients
  • apply an oil-rich product 3 times per day, using a circular motion to increase circulation
  • wash your face once a day, with water that is not too hot
  • use a cleanser such as a cleansing milk on your face that will not strip the fatty acids from the skin’s surface. Don’t scrub too hard! Be gentle.
  • use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, all the time. My makeup has this built in (as many do) so I am always protecting my face from UV rays.
  • skin care products with copper peptides will help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, and thicken the dermis, strengthening the skin. Here are some options:

Keep this information handy! Download and print your free reference sheet to stay on top of the changes in your skin and remind you of how to care for it. You’ll find it in the Resource Library, a free resource for you!

What have we learned about what happens to our skin as we age?

Well, most importantly, it’s going to happen whether we like it or not! Gradually…over a period of years… but it will happen. And, coming from a natural aging approach, using artificial injections, surgeries or fillers is not part of the plan here.

What we CAN do, however, is to educate ourselves at every phase of our life, committing to giving skin care a high priority, the time and attention it deserves, so we can age naturally and look as youthful as possible throughout the years!

Linking up with Nancy’s Fashion Style

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what happens to skin as we age

23 thoughts on “What Happens to Skin as We Age? Characteristics of Aging Skin”

  1. Hi Candi, I’ve always believed in moisturizing my skin although living in Queensland the sun can play havoc and I don’t always wear a sunscreen which is bad. My husband and I stopped drinking alcohol in March 2018 and that has certainly made a difference to my skin. I only drank moderately but that still made my skin appear red in some areas. Since I’ve cut out alcohol my skin is much clearer and I can see a difference. I drink loads of water and exercise so I can tick off those boxes. I’ve tried to teach my daughter early in life about the benefits of a good skincare routine. You look great and I’m always inspired to take care of myself when I read your posts. Have a great week. x

    1. Hi Sue, I know what you mean about the sun from my years of living in S. Florida. It can be brutal. I didn’t always do what I was supposed to either, so am trying to make up for that time now. Thanks so much for your kind words! xo

  2. Thanks for the great tips! I was terrible about taking care of my skin and living in Arizona my skin is now showing the neglect for so many years! I am going to try some of the products you recommended thank you so Much!

  3. Thanks for the tips. I was just picturing my skin going through the changes over the decades. Oh yeah and drinking water while I read.

    1. Hi Anne, I know…the years definitely change how we look, don’t they? But it’s good to have the knowledge and some healthy ways to keep it looking young. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I love how you broke this down by decade! It makes it easy to understand what happens and when. I’m in my early forties and I already have an age spot and plenty of forehead wrinkles. I’m so thankful that you have shared these wonderful ways to keep our skin healthy and young looking. I’m going to go reapply my moisturizer right now!

  5. Great info! I really need to follow your advice with the natural facelift. I know times flies and I’ll be 50 in a blink of an eye. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Flor, the natural facelift is the best thing I’ve done for my face. You will be amazed at the results, especially at your young age. I wish I had known about this years ago!

  6. I always learn so much from your posts, Candi! I really need to drink more water. I believe I was fortunate to get decent genes as well, but haven’t taken care of my skin like I should have. Thanks again for some great info to motivate me to do better!! : )

  7. I’m an Aussie with the resultant sun exposure too Candi. I’ve been fairly careful since my teens to wear a hat and sunscreen if I’m going to be in the sun for any length of time (wish I’d started in childhood – like my kids and grandkids though). I also believe that you can only make the best of things with our skin, living life and ageing both affect our faces – I’m happy with my laugh lines and as much as I’d love to have flawless, glowing skin, I recognize that I’m not 20 anymore and that I’m doing okay for my late 50’s. My plan is to keep slapping on the moisturizer morning and night, staying out of the heat of the sun and trying to age gracefully.
    Thanks for linking up to #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

    1. Hi Leanne, I agree that there is a balance between healthy, wise skin care and enjoying life. We can’t change how we treated our skin in the past, but still want to look our best and have fun! Thanks for sharing on SM.

  8. I have never worried about my skin and except for drinking a lot of water and wearing sunscreen religiously, I don’t do a lot. I am starting to notice wrinkles under the chin and moisturizing helps that. I have partially oily skin, even in my late fifties. I am starting to look my age, which I never have before! It is time to think about how I care for my skin.

    1. You’ve been good to your skin, Michele, and hopefully your skin will be good to you going forward, although you are correct…things start to happen as you get closer to 60! It’s all good, though.

  9. I use natural plant oils and they’ve made an enormous difference to my skin. I’ve got my glow back and my skin is firmer! I spent my youth baking in the sun – always after a good tan! I have all the resulting freckles to remind me. If only I had the wisdom I have now. Regardless, I’m doing all I can now to preserve my skin as best I can and have it looking at healthy as possible. Thanks for a very informative post!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Min. It sounds like the natural plant oils are doing a great job for you, even with those years in the sun. Yes, I think we all wish we had a bit more smarts in our younger days! But we can make wise decisions now, and going forward. 🙂

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