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What happens to aging skin?

Endocrinologist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

As you age, your body begins to slow production of two components of the skin: collagen and elastin. This leads to fine lines and wrinkles. The breakdown of these proteins is made worse by sun exposure and gravity, and results in the sagging appearance of aged skin.

Your skin becomes thinner, drier, and more fragile as the inner layer of skin (the dermis) starts to thin. Fat beneath the skin and in the cheeks, chin, and nose disappears, causing skin to sag. Facial hair increases, pores enlarge, and women going through hormonal changes may experience acne and breakouts similar to those in their teen years.

The body's ability to fight free radicals that attack and damage cells and collagen also slows with age.