Bizarre Skin Conditions You’re Likely to Get If You’re Over 50
You know your body changes as you age — and that includes your skin. Wrinkles and sunspots are certainly common, and they shouldn’t come as any surprise. But those aren’t the only skin-related conditions that develop post-50 you need to know about.
Here are the bizarre skin conditions that may crop up once you hit middle age and beyond, including one that looks a lot like skin cancer (No. 9).
1. Liver spots
If you’re noticing dark areas on the skin, they could be liver spots (also known as age spots). Mayo Clinic explains these darker spots typically develop where your skin is most exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.
The good news is these age spots are typically harmless, but there are ways of preventing them. Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen whenever you’re headed outdoors so they don’t get worse, too.
Next: Sorry, but this happens to everyone over time.
2. Decreased skin elasticity
There’s a reason youthful skin appears firm — and that’s because it’s more elastic than aging skin. As dermatologist Fredric Brandt tells Allure, “Skin sags when fat, collagen, and elastin break down.” Fortunately, he says there’s a lot that can be done.
If you’re tired of looking at sagging skin, ask your doctor about prescription retinoids. These medications stimulate collagen production and regenerate cells, which helps keep things firm. Also, don’t forget to moisturize and use sunscreen every day.
Next: This skin issue is seriously annoying, but you’re not the only one who deals with it.
3. Skin tags
If you’re wondering if you’re the only older adult who gets skin tags, you’re certainly not alone. These small benign growths are an annoyance many deal with, especially as they get older. MedicineNet.com notes they’re harmless, though, and most people develop them at some point or another.
Areas prone to skin tags include the neck, armpits, eyelids, upper chest, and folds near the groin. And the good news is if you choose to get yours removed, there’s no evidence saying more will likely grow.
Next: You may notice these developing on your legs.
4. Varicose veins
If you have varicose veins, you’ve probably noticed them on your legs and feet. Mayo Clinic explains these enlarged veins are common in older adults, as your veins lose elasticity like your skin. This can cause the blood to pool, making them larger and gnarled-looking.
For many, varicose veins are simply a cosmetic issue. But they can also cause pain and discomfort in others. If you notice veins that are dark purple or blue in color and you’re dealing with aching or throbbing near them, contact your doctor.
Next: The sun can cause this skin issue you’ve probably never heard of.
5. Actinic keratosis
If you’ve spent years in the sun with no protection, you may notice a scaly, rough patch on your skin known as actinic keratosis. Mayo Clinic explains these patches are common on the face, lips, ears, scalp, neck, or back of the arms, and they typically only appear in those over 40.
The good news is these skin patches are typically just uncomfortable and not harmful. But a small percentage of them turn into skin cancer, so you’ll want to have any unusual skin lesions checked by a doctor.
Next: Think you have dry skin? You could have this condition.
It sounds fancy, but pruritis is just a medical word for itchy skin, WebMD reports. A number of other conditions, like dry skin, pregnancy, and a variety of other skin diseases can cause pruritis to occur. It’s also more common as you age.
You should find the underlying cause of the itching in order to heal your skin. If you suspect you could be having a drug reaction, you may also notice a rash along with the itchiness. And if you’re dealing with dry skin, use skin creams regularly and avoid bathing in hot water.
Next: If you have this skin condition, you’ll need to be careful it doesn’t turn into something worse.
7. Psoriasis (and psoriatic arthritis)
You probably know by now if you have psoriasis, as it’s associated with raised scaly patches of skin that may itch or burn. Scientists are totally sure of the cause, the National Psoriasis Foundation says, but they do mention the immune system or genetics can cause the issue to flare up from time to time in those who have it.
Psoriasis isn’t something you’ll likely develop post-50 — but psoriatic arthritis is. WebMD explains about 30% of those with psoriasis get this condition that affects your joints. And it typically gets worse over time.
Next: This rash can be seriously uncomfortable.
8. Contact dermatitis
When your skin comes into contact with a substance you’re allergic to, it’s likely you’ll develop contact dermatitis. Mayo Clinic explains this condition is characterized by a red rash, dry or cracked skin, or blistering. Luckily, if you can figure out what’s causing the issue and avoid that substance, dermatitis will resolve itself within a few weeks.
WebMD explains any medicated creams you’re using for other age-related skin issues can also cause contact dermatitis, too, so be aware.
Next: You might confuse this skin issue with cancer.
9. Seborrheic keratosis
It may have a complicated name, but seborrheic keratosis is actually one of the most common types of skin growths you can develop as you age. Mayo Clinic explains these growths look brown or tan and are often found on the face, chest, shoulders, or back. They’re also usually slightly elevated and waxy in appearance.
These growths aren’t cancerous — but they can certainly look like they are. It’s important to get any unusual skin growths checked by a doctor, but the good news is these are benign.
Next: You may get this skin condition if you have varicose veins.
10. Varicose eczema
If you have varicose veins, you may develop varicose eczema as you age. Medical News Today explains this skin disorder usually affects the ankles first, but then make its way up the calves. You may notice your varicose veins are covered with dry or irritated skin if you begin to develop eczema.
Certain medications can help this condition, as can compression stockings or raising your legs. In extreme cases, you may opt to have your varicose veins removed if they’re painful.
Next: You should definitely stay out of the sun if you have this skin condition.
11. Solar elastosis
You know the sun can do a number on your skin. And one condition you should be aware of is solar elastosis. WebMD explains this condition can turn skin that’s been heavily exposed to the sun over the years yellow, and you may also notice deep ridges.
While the sun only affects the top layers of skin, matters are much worse for smokers. Tobacco smoke damages the skin deeper down, making it appear even worse.
Next: If you notice swelling in your legs, you may have this.
12. Leg ulcers
Notice swelling, itching, or pain in one leg? You could have a leg ulcer. NHC Choices explains this condition becomes more common as you age and can occur from any minor injury to the affected leg. Estimates suggest it affects one out of every 50 people over 80 years old.
Leg ulcers typically take three to four months to heal when addressed by a medical professional. Exercising regularly and losing weight if you’re overweight can help keep them away, too.
Next: This condition looks quite strange, but it’s more common than you think.
13. Cherry angioma
Also known as red moles, cherry angiomas are common, benign, and can grow pretty much anywhere on the body. Healthline explains they’re typically found in people over the age of 30 and give off a reddish appearance — hence the name.
Like many other skin growths on the list, cherry angiomas aren’t typically a cause for concern. If yours bleed often or change in appearance at all, however, you’ll want to ask a doctor about it. There are also ways of removing them if you so choose.
Next: They’re often confused with varicose veins, but they’re not the same.
14. Spider veins
We know they look like varicose veins, but they’re actually quite different. Spider veins are still most commonly found in the legs and feet, but they’re smaller and branch out like a spider web (as the name would suggest). Vein Specialists of the South report spider veins are typically asymptomatic too, whereas varicose veins do sometimes come with an ache or heaviness.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, love high heels, are overweight, or are over 50, chances are good you’ll develop spider veins. Staying active and wearing compression gear can help keep them at bay.
Next: You’ve probably worried about this skin issue before.
15. Skin cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will get skin cancer by the age of 70, making it one of the most prevalent forms of cancer around. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost, though. New research and treatments are coming out all the time, and early detection can save your life.
Doing a head-to-toe self-examination once per month is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. And if you notice any moles or skin spots changing in shape, request a visit to your doctor to get it checked out.
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