Is this Normal? Questions About Aging That You're Too Embarrassed to Ask
A. Hirsch explains that age makes your blood vessels more fragile, and so does tissue damage due to sun exposure (as if we needed another reminder to wear sunscreen). Blood thinners like baby aspirin, which many doctors prescribe for older patients to take daily, can also make the vessels even more vulnerable. So you'll not only bruise more easily, but the spots may appear darker. The good news is that this type of discoloration is benign and may clear up over a few weeks or months. The bad news is that there's nothing you can really do to make it fade faster, and in some cases, it doesn't fade at all.
Q. Why do I suddenly feel like the Wicked Witch of the West?
A. This question is also known as "Wait—is that a wart on my neck?" It's likely not. Skin tags are small flesh-colored polyps, and while you may start noticing them in your thirties, 60 percent of people have some by the time they are 70, says Isaac M. Neuhaus, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California in San Francisco. Scientists don't know exactly what causes them, but they tend to appear in areas where there's a lot of friction, like the armpits, the neck, and underneath the breasts (they also run in families, and are associated with large gains in weight). Neuhaus reassures that they're benign, but if they bother you, a dermatologist can snip them off with surgical scissors or freeze or burn them off. The procedure is fast and mostly painless.
Q. Is there really nothing we can do to stop breasts from losing their oomph?
A. It's not a bad idea to wear a supportive bra while jogging, but there's no medically proven way to prevent the ligaments from stretching with age, says Ellen S. Marmur, MD, vice chair of cosmetic and dermatologic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Even surgical augmentation is temporary; Marmur says that most women don't realize that implants usually need to be replaced after a decade. What's more, she says, "the skin on top of the implants can also sag, and I've had women come in with nipples pointing down." These patients often opt for a skin lift when they have their implants replaced.
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