Science Questions

Sun, 11th Dec 2005

Part of the show Animal Communication, Sexual Signalling and Emotions

Question

Robin in San Diego asked:

How and why does your skin get thin when you get older? Does it really get thin or is there something else going on?

Answer

Skin does get thin as you get older. If you zoom in on skin, you'll see that the two main things that make up skin are collagen and elastin. They get less and less frequent in the skin as you get older. In other words, as you get older, you lose some of the elasticity and you lose some of the matrix that makes up the skin, making your skin thinner and more papery. You can also make your skin thin by using certain drugs, such as steroid creams. This can make your skin very thin and brittle.

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