We’re not talking about metaphorical thin skin, but the fragile skin people develop as they age. Shiny patches, bleeding just below the surface and small white spots of discoloration characterize changing skin health in older adults. Collectively, these changes are called dermatoporosis.
Why does thin skin develop?
As the skin ages, the lower layer of the skin (dermis) shrinks while the surface skin layer (epidermis) begins losing the anchors it has in underlying connective tissue. Additionally, the epidermis produces fewer keratocytes, the cells responsible for the keratin protein that keeps skin strong and self-healing.
The result is weaker skin more prone to tearing, even from minor trauma. Thin skin tends to appear around age 60 and is much more pronounced between ages 70-90. Dermatoporosis may affect more than 30% of people 65 or older.
Does low T cause thin skin?
Skin thinning and lower testosterone levels run in tandem — both happen with age. And hormones like testosterone regulate the stretchiness and thickness of skin. In women, fragile skin is a symptom of a low level of testosterone, which despite developing sexual maturity in men, also impacts bone health, sex drive and menstruation in women.
Still, the precise effects of reduced androgen levels, including testosterone, on developing thin skin vary widely based on each individual and require medical guidance and monitoring.
Thinning skin treatment
If you’re concerned about thinning skin or are experiencing symptoms of low T, from reduced body hair to dry, fragile skin, consider consulting a board-certified dermatologist to identify the best treatment plan. There are multiple topical and oral alternatives that can help diminish the effects of low testosterone and hormone imbalances on your skin. Based on your medical history and specific skin type, a dermatologist will recommend a personalized treatment or skincare routine to achieve positive results.
Dermatologists’ ability to diagnose and treat thousands of hair, skin and nail conditions can offer peace of mind and a deeper understanding of the hormonal changes of aging.
Low testosterone, clinically called hypogonadism, can lead to various dermatological conditions — extra wrinkles, less body hair and (perhaps beneficially) the absence of male-pattern balding. While the exact pathway is unknown, psoriasis may be triggered by low testosterone as well.