Aging is a natural process of the body under the influence of time and the environment. Both of these weaknesses cause the body to weaken over time.
Time cannot be changed, but the only factor that can be changed is the body’s exposure to environmental stressors. UV exposure, carcinogens, a poor diet, and mental stress can all lead to premature aging. These environmental factors accelerate the aging process in the human body and organ systems.
In this article, resTORbio will show you How Does Aging Affect The Integumentary System and how you can support the integumentary system.
What Does the Integumentary System Consist of?
There are four types of tissue in the human body. These include connective, epithelial, and muscle tissue, as well as nervous. These types of tissue are used throughout the body for unique and vital functions.
The unique bodily system of the integumentary system covers a large portion of the body. The Integumentary system consists of skin and nails, hair, as well as exocrine glands. These tissues are directly exposed and act as the first-line defense against environmental stressors.
The largest component of the integumentary system is the skin. Skin is multilayered tissue. It consists of the epidermis and dermis as well as the subcutaneous layer. The skin’s three layers protect the body from the outside world.
The skin plays a protective role and is constantly exposed to stress and damage from the environment. The skin’s constant need to protect our bodies has resulted in a high rate of cell turnover. This process continues throughout your life, as new skin is constantly being added to the surface.
The skin’s ability to heal itself and replace itself gradually decreases as you age. In addition to the loss of elasticity, visible signs of aging such as wrinkles, dryness, and diminished radiance are also common.
Another component of the integumentary system is hair. The follicle, root, and shaft are the components of hair. The hair’s root is formed from the follicle, which is located within the skin. Keratinocytes are cells that make up the hair follicle.
Hormonal imbalances can cause hair loss as we age. Hormone changes and aging can lead to both male and female pattern hair loss. As you get older, your hair production rate decreases. The darker and denser follicles in color will be replaced by those that are lighter and thinner.
The integumentary system also includes nails. The nails are located at the tips and toes of the fingers and serve to protect them. The same keratinocytes that make up the nails are used in hair follicles. Your nails will continue to grow throughout your entire life.
The nail structure is composed of the nail root and nail bed. The cuticle is the covering and protection of the nail root.
The rate at which your nails grow decreases as you get older. Nails may also become stiffer and more fragile.
The exocrine glands are the last component of the integumentary system. Three exocrine cells provide skin with specific functions.
This gland is also known as the sebaceous and is responsible for the production of natural oils. These oils are vital in protecting and locking in moisture.
The gland’s ability to create a skin barrier can decrease with age. The skin’s surface may become dry, and certain skincare products can be harmful as they strip the skin its natural oils that aren’t as easily replaced.
The sudoriferous gland, also known as the second exocrine gland, is the name for it. This gland is responsible for sweating. The body cools itself down by sweating.
The sweating process involves the release of water from the sudoriferous gland onto your skin. The skin’s surface is then cooled down as the water evaporates.
According to a new study, sudoriferous cells aid in healing and help regulate body temperature. Aging can also lead to a decrease in the function of these glands.
The ceruminous glands are the third and final glands. These glands are located within the ear. They produce ear wax, also known as cerumen.
Although ear wax can seem annoying because it can be transferred to the earbuds and removed, it is an essential part of the ears. Outside particles can be trapped in the ear canal by wax and hairs.
Aging and the Integumentary System
As we age, subtle changes in our bodies occur to all systems. Figure 4.17 shows the effects of aging on cell division, metabolism, blood circulation, hormone levels, muscle strength, and blood flow.
These changes in the skin are manifested in a decreased mitosis of the stratum basale. This results in a thinner epidermis.
The ability of the dermis to regenerate, which is responsible for the skin’s resilience and elasticity, has been reduced, leading to slower wound healing. The loss of structure in the hypodermis due to reduced fat storage can lead to skin sagging and thinning.
Additional structures have lower activity. This can lead to thinner hair and nails and less sweat. Some elderly may become more sensitive to heat due to a decreased sweating capacity.
The skin’s melanocytes, dendritic and dendritic cell activity also decreases, leading to a pale complexion and lower immunity.
The skin’s structure is being damaged, leading to wrinkles. This can be caused by decreased collagen and elastin production, weakness of the muscles under the skin, and inability to retain sufficient moisture.
Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases. Cancer is a general term that refers to diseases caused by abnormal cell division. The organ or tissue from which cancer originated is the most important indicator of its severity.
Skin cancer is a common type of cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
It has been attributed to the destruction of the ozone layer and the subsequent increase in UV radiation exposure. Exposure to too much UV radiation can damage DNA and cause cancerous lesions.
While melanin provides some protection from DNA damage caused by the sun, it is often not sufficient. Cancer can also develop in areas that are not normally exposed to UV radiation. This suggests that there may be additional factors that could lead to cancerous lesions.
An accumulation of DNA mutations generally causes cancers. These mutations can lead to cell populations that don’t die as they should and uncontrolled cell proliferation, leading to cancer.
While most tumors are harmless and non-threatening, some tumors can cause tumors to grow in other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis. Metastasis is a characteristic of cancers.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma refers to a type of cancer that affects mitotically active stem cells located in the stratum basale. This is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
It’s most commonly found on the neck, back, arms and legs. These areas are the most vulnerable to long-term sunlight exposure. UV rays can cause this type of cancer, but other agents such as radiation or arsenic may also cause it. Open sores, burns, and tattoos can cause skin wounds.
There may also be other factors that could contribute to the condition. Basal cell carcinomas develop in the stratum basale. They usually spread along that boundary.
They eventually grow towards the surface, becoming an uneven patch, bump, or growth on the skin’s surface (Figure 4.18).
Basal cell carcinomas are best treated early, as they respond well to treatment like most cancers. Several treatment options are available, including surgery, freezing (cryosurgery), or topical ointments (Mayo Clinic 2012.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, affects the keratinocytes in the stratum spinosum. It is commonly seen as lesions on the scalp, ears, and hands (Figure 4.19). It is the second most prevalent skin cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, squamous cells carcinomas account for two out of 10 skin cancers. They are more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma.
These carcinomas can spread if they are not treated. Squamous cell carcinoma can be treated with radiation or surgery.
Melanoma refers to a form of cancer characterized by uncontrolled growth in melanocytes (the pigment-producing cells in your epidermis). A mole is the most common way that melanoma begins.
This is the most deadly skin cancer. It can spread quickly to other organs and is often difficult to spot. Melanomas are usually characterized by asymmetrical brown or black patches with uneven borders and raised surfaces (Figure 4.20). The treatment involves immunotherapy and surgical excision.
Eczema is a common skin condition. Eczema can be characterized as an inflammatory condition that affects people of all ages. Acne is a condition that results in the blockage of pores.
This can cause inflammation and infection. It’s most common among adolescents. Other disorders not covered here include seborrheic dermatologists (on the scalp), cold sores, and impetigo.
Eczema can be described as an allergic reaction. Itchy, dry patches of skin may look like rashes. The symptoms include skin swelling, flaking, and, in extreme cases, bleeding.
Although many people with eczema have antibodies resistant to dust mites in the blood, it has not been shown that there is a link between eczema or allergy to dust mites. Most symptoms can be managed with moisturizers, corticosteroid creams, or immunosuppressants.
Acne refers to a skin condition that occurs in areas with high levels of sebaceous glands (face, back). Acne is more common with the onset and progression of puberty. However, it can also happen in infants and adults. Hormones such as androgens stimulate the production of sebum.
Hair follicles can be blocked by excessive sebum production and accumulation, along with keratin. The plug appears initially white.
When exposed to air, the sebum turns black. Acne is caused by infection with acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium or Staphylococcus). This can cause redness and Scarring due to the natural wound healing process (Figure 2.22).
The skin is vulnerable to injury because it is the most exposed part of our body. Burns, wounds, scars, and calluses are all possible injuries. These injuries can be caused either by heat, sharp objects, excessive pressure, friction, or heat to the skin.
A healing process for skin injuries involves several stages that overlap. To repair damaged skin, the first step is to form a blood clot. This helps stop blood flow and prevents scabs from forming over time.
There are many types of cells involved in wound healing, particularly if a large area is to be repaired. The stratum basal stem cells cannot recreate the epidermis.
Fibroblasts mobilize quickly and divide rapidly to fix the damaged tissue through collagen deposition. The fibroblasts are followed by blood capillaries, which increase blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the area. Macrophages, immune cells that roam the area engulf foreign matter and reduce the risk of infection.
When the skin is exposed to extreme heat, radiation, electricity, or other chemicals, it can cause a burn. The skin cells die, which can cause a large loss of fluid.
The consequences can be deadly and include electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, renal and circulatory dysfunction, and dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Injectable fluids are administered to burn patients to counter dehydration. They also provide intravenous nutrients to help the body repair and replace proteins.
Infection is another serious threat to burn victims’ lives. Because of the loss of protection from intact skin layers, burnt skin is highly susceptible to infection.
Sometimes, burns are measured by the area covered. This is known as the rule to nines, which identifies specific anatomical areas and a percentage that is nine percent (Figure 4.23).
The severity of a burn is also a factor. A superficial burn that only affects the epidermis is called a first-degree. These burns can be very painful and swelling, but they usually heal within a few days.
A mild sunburn falls under the first-degree category. A second-degree sunburn is more severe and can affect both the epidermis and a portion of the dermis.
These injuries can cause swelling and painful blistering. To prevent infection, it is essential to keep the area of burns clean and sterile.
The burn should heal in a few weeks if this is done. Third-degree burns can extend into the epidermis or dermis, causing tissue destruction and impairment of sensory function and nerve endings.
These serious burns can appear black, red, or white. They require medical attention but will heal slowly without it. A fourth-degree injury, which affects the bone and muscle underneath, is more serious.
Third- and fourth-degree burns, despite being more severe than the first two, are not usually as painful due to nerve-ending damage.
Because the body cannot repair full-thickness burns, the tissues used to repair the injury are damaged. In severe cases, amputation is required. After excision, the skin can be grafted from a healthy part of the body or tissue culture skin for grafting purposes.
Scars and Keloids
Scarring is a common reaction to most cuts and wounds, except for those that are only superficial (the epidermis); Scarring is collagen-rich, scaly skin that forms after wound healing and differs from normal skin.
Scarring is caused by skin damage that has been repaired but which does not regenerate its original structure. The scar tissue generated by fibroblasts is collagen.
This basket-weave pattern of collagen fibers does not allow for the regeneration of normal cellular structures of the skin. The tissue is fibrous and does not allow the regeneration of additional structures such as hair follicles or sweat glands.
Sometimes there’s an overproduction of scar tissue. This is because collagen formation doesn’t stop after the wound heals.
This causes a hypertrophic or raised scar, called a Keloid. Atrophic scars, which are caused by chickenpox and acne, have a sunken appearance.
After wound healing, scarring on the skin is natural and should not be treated. The formation of scar tissue can be reduced by using mineral oil or lotions.
There are many cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments, dermabrasion, and filler injections to solve severe Scarring. These procedures aim to restore the structure and collagen tissue beneath the epidermis to appear more natural.
Stretch Marks and Bedsores
Excessive pressure can cause damage to the skin and its supporting tissue. A bedsore is one example. Decubitis ulcers are also known as bedsores.
They are caused by unrelieved, constant pressure on bony body parts. This reduces blood flow and causes tissue death.
Patients with debilitating conditions such as dementia or immobility are more likely to get bedsores. To prevent bedsores, hospitals and long-term care facilities routinely turn patients every few hours. Before that is not treated with necrotizing tissue can lead to infection and death.
The pressure associated with rapid growth can also affect the skin. Stretch marks occur when the dermis becomes stretched beyond its limits.
The skin then stretches to absorb the pressure. It is common for stretch marks to occur with rapid weight gain in puberty or pregnancy.
They appear initially reddish, but they lighten over time. Treatment of stretch marks is not necessary, except for cosmetic reasons. They are most common in the abdomen and hips.
If you have shoes that are too tight or cause abrasion to your toes, calluses can form. The basal stem cells of the stratum basale trigger this process to grow thicker skin at the site of contact to protect the rest.
This is a case of minor or local injury. The skin responds and treats the problem independently of the rest. Calluses may form if your fingers are exposed to mechanical stress, such as writing for long hours, playing instruments, or video games. Corn is a special type of callus. Corns are formed from skin abrasions that occur due to an elliptical motion.
How Does Aging Affect The Integumentary System?
Acrochordon affects older women. Tiny pendulous growths on the skin characterize acrochordon. These are also known as skin tags. Skin tags are composed of dermal connective tissue and blood vessels. They may be linked to hormonal imbalances.
Decubitus ulcers affect those who are bedridden, immobile, confined to a chair, or spend more time sitting than moving. Decubitus ulcers result in cavities of dead tissue forming under the skin.
Constant pressure caused by being immobile reduces blood circulation and irritations the tissue. Bacteria can then attack the weakened tissue.
Although it can affect anyone, herpes zoster is more common in those between 50 and 70. The disease, also known as shingles, is characterized by itching and aching pain followed by small red bumps appearing on the skin.
These bumps become fluid-filled blisters that burst easily and can be very painful. This virus is also responsible for chickenpox. The virus enters the body, causing chickenpox. After years of dormancy, it returns to the body later in life.
Lentigo affects anyone over 50 years old. Commonly known as liver spots, senile freckle, or liver spots, lentigo causes skin blemishes due to aging and sun exposure.
These blemishes can range in color from dark brown to black, and they are found in the areas that are most exposed to the sun, such as the hands, forehead, shoulders, and arms, as well the scalp, if it is bald.
Seborrheic Keratosis affects older adults and middle-aged people. The development of benign epidermal tumors characterizes this condition.
These oval-shaped, flesh-colored, raised plaques are most common on the back, scalp, chest, and chest. These plaques gradually thicken, enlarge and darken. Seborrheic Keratosis can be inherited.
Senile angiomas affect 75% of people over seventy. This condition causes red spots that can be as small as a quarter-inch to larger than a quarter of an inch. These red spots are caused when clusters of dilapidated capillaries form.
Senile keratosis affects middle-aged and older adults. Senile keratosis causes red patches on the skin. These areas appear initially flat but then gradually thicken.
Senile purpura, which is a condition that affects older adults, causes purple patches with irregular shapes. These bruises are usually found on the hands and forearms. As we age, our capillaries weaken, and blood pools under the skin, leaving us with a bruise.
Senile pruritus, which is a condition that affects older adults, causes dry and more pliable skin. This leads to tiny cracks and skin irritation.
This condition is caused by a gradual decrease in oil-secreting sweat glands and sebaceous oils, along with a decrease in skin water content.
How to Support the Integumentary System
There are many parts to the integumentary systems. There are many components to the organ system. However, you can help it. You can help your integumentary system fight against the signs of aging by using topicals, nutrition, adequate hydration, and proper nutrition.
You apply topicals to the skin. Topicals are often used to treat the integumentary systems because they provide targeted benefits where it is most needed.
Dark under-eye circles are a great example of the way topicals can be targeted. The integumentary system shows common signs of aging, such as under-eye puffiness and dark circles.
MitoQ Eye cream is a topical that can be applied to the eye area. This will help reduce dark circles and make the skin appear more radiant.
You can also use topicals to help your skin’s natural oil barrier, which helps maintain its youthful appearance and moisture. Topicals are the best way to support your integumentary systems and keep them looking and functioning at their best.
Supplements work from the inside and affect the whole body, unlike topicals that provide a specific support type. Supplements can be a great way of supplementing nutrition that you cannot get through your diet.
For example, MitoQ Skin Protection Complex contains Polypodium and Pycnogenol(r), and Astaxanthin. These micro-nutrients are beneficial to the skin and not easily found in most people’s daily diets.
These nutrients can be taken as a supplement, which allows you to enjoy the benefits of these micronutrients without the need to cook complicated meals.
Supplements are important for your skin and can be beneficial for hair and nail growth. Hair and nails, just like the skin, need proper nutrition to grow and function well.
You can find a variety of supplements that can correct any nutritional deficiencies. It is worth visiting your doctor to determine if there are any deficiencies.
The outside world is constantly exposure to the integumentary system, and as such, the body is constantly losing water via evaporation.
Even though you don’t actively sweat, water is still being lost to the surrounding environment. Although the natural oil barrier helps retain water, you must ensure that you are well hydrated.
Skin is made up of a lot of water. If your skin becomes dry, it can show signs like reduced elasticity and shriveled skin. The skin can look younger and more youthful by staying hydrated.
The integumentary system, which covers almost your entire body, is the largest of all body systems. The body is protected from external stresses by the exocrine glands, skin, hair, nails, and skin.
You can help your skin fight signs of aging, premature wear, and inflammation by using skincare products, supplements, as well as staying hydrated.
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