As we age, our skin becomes drier, thinner, itchier, easily irritated, slower to heal, easily bruised, and blotchy due to the thinning of our protective fat layer and thinning blood vessels. I swear I find a new “fine line” or spot every day and I’m only 31. I know most of these are nothing to worry about and that it is part of becoming older (and wiser), yet there they are. 

I have educated myself on what to look for when it comes to moles and birthmarks, should I have a concern, and it goes back to childhood; the ABC (DE’s).  A is for asymmetry, if one half of the growth looks different from the other, there is cause for concern. B is for borders, borders that are irregular and not smooth are not normal and should be investigated. C is for color, if a birthmark or mole changes color or is more than one color, make a note of it. D is for diameter, if a growth is greater than the size of a pea, be cautious. E is for evolving, meaning be on the lookout for changes in size and shape. Should any of these symptoms occur, it is recommended that you see your doctor or dermatologist right away to rule out skin cancer. 

Simple ways to keep your skin healthy include limiting your time in the sun, using sunscreen (15 SPF or higher), wearing protective clothing, and avoiding tanning. It is important to use warm “not hot” water when bathing or washing your face. Also, use mild cleansers and avoid fragrances as they can irritate your skin. You can avoid dry skin by drinking plenty of water and using moisturizers, lotions, and creams. Reducing stress and getting enough sleep may also help, since stress can harm your skin as well as other body systems. Check your skin on a weekly basis and speak up if you have any concerns! For more information on keeping your skin healthy as you age, visit the National Institute on Aging’s website https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging.

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