How-does-ageing-affect-the-skin

How does ageing affect the skin

The skin is constantly ageing but pronounced changes do not become apparent until a person’s age approaches 50 years.

With ageing, there is a decreased production and function of both the sweat and sebaceous glands leading to an impaired acid protection mantle, and the skin to become dry, fragile, and more likely to break. This leads to an increased risk of infection. (1)(2)

The acid protection mantle is an invisible, very fine, slightly acidic film at pH 4.5-5.5 on the surface of human skin acting as a barrier that is formed by the mix of sebum and sweat. This is a barrier that deflects outside influences such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin.


The pH of the acid protection mantle layer keeps the body’s natural flora within its limits by maintaining the pH at 4.5-5.5. If this pH level is altered for more than a short period of time, it will affect the efficiency of how the flora and microbes are kept out.

In fact, after washing, ageing skin requires more than 6 hoursto restore its acid protection mantle and normal pH while younger skin requires only 2 hours!(3)

Skin comparison
The differences between youthful baby skin and ageing skin are substantial. Baby youthful skin has enough energy and regenerates very quickly. The protective function, i.e. the acid protection mantle and the corneal layer of the epidermis with its lipids work with unimpaired efficiency. Elderly ageing skin, in contrast, can no longer protect itself and needs the assistance of skin-friendly pH 5.5 skin care products that supply energy and the nutrients that it lacks.
By way of explanation of what happens to the skin as it becomes mature and old compared to young healthy skin, the following table illustrates the differences (3):
Skin Table illustrates the differences

For all these reasons, ageing skin is more prone to wounding and heals more slowly when a wound does occur (4). Therefore, the mature skin requires high attention a special skin care regimen (5) with gentle cleansing, skin protection and moisturizing:

  • 1-For gentle cleansing of the mature skin by avoiding the frequent use of soap, water, towel drying, and replace it by water-free pH skin neutral cleansers like MoliCare® skin cleansing foam of the intimate area for incontinent people.
  • 2-Furthermore, the effective skin protection can reduce the rate of Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (Diaper rash) by up to 27% and aims to prevent skin breakdown by providing an impermeable or semi-permeable barrier on the skin, thus preventing penetration of water and biologic irritants found in stool and urine (6) , which is possible with the use of MoliCare® skin barrier cream or MoliCare® skin zinc oxide cream with the unique Nutriskin Protection Complex in the intimate area.
  • 3-Moreover, the routine use of moisturizers such as MoliCare® skin body lotion is essential in people with dry and ageing skin because it replaces intercellular lipids, promotes the hydration of the skin and reduces the likelihood of other forms of skin damage such as skin tears. (7)

(1) Marieb E and Hoehn K; 2007 Human Anatomy & physiology 7th edition Chapter 5 The Integumentary System pages 151-168, Pearson

(2) Benjamin Cummings Carville K 2017; Wound Care Manual 7th edition – Chapter 1 Anatomy of the skin pages 8-14, Silver Chain Foundation

(3) Ghadially et al., J Clin Invest. 1995:2281-90

(4) Extracted Ausmed 2005; Wound Care Nursing: a guide to practice 2005 page 19. Ausmed Publications Pty Ltd, Melbourne

(5) Beeckman, D. (2015) Proceeding of the Global IAS Expert Panel. Incontinence associated dermatitis: moving prevention forward. Wounds International 2015. www.wounds international.com

(6) Gray M., Beeckman D., Bliss D. Z., Fader M., Logan S., Junkin J., Selekof J., Doughty D., Kurz P.; Incontinence-associated dermatitis: a comprehensive review and update; J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2012 Jan–Feb, 39(1): 61–74.

(7) Gray et al. Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis: A Comprehensive Review and Update. CONTINENCE CARE. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2012;39(1):61-74.