When aging and gravity fight

By Melissa Martin - Contributing columnist

What do aging and gravity have in common? Together, they produce sagging skin (along with the sun, lifestyle, genetics, weight loss). Getting older means more exposure to the dreaded dermis droop. Saggy and baggy. Wrinkly and crinkly.

“Gravity is the force by which a planet or other body draws objects toward its center. The force of gravity keeps all of the planets in orbit around the sun…Why do you land on the ground when you jump up instead of floating off into space? Why do things fall down when you throw them or drop them? The answer is gravity: an invisible force that pulls objects toward each other. Earth’s gravity is what keeps you on the ground and what makes things fall,” according to NASA Space Place. www.spaceplace.nasa.gov/.

There you have it—gravity makes things fall. And aging does the rest.

Let’s review basic skin anatomy and physiology. The skin is the largest organ of the human body; around 20 square feet with 300 million skin cells. The skin helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold. And protects us from germs. Our skin is astounding!

But, what happens to our skin? In the senior years gravity visits, but never leaves. Even Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein experienced the collision of aging and gravity. What goes up must come down—that’s a universal law.

Gravity plays havoc on the human body. Faces sag while bathing suit areas sag on women, and belly blubber sags on men. Oh, I need to mention the saggy skin that sways in the wind when arms are held sideways. Body parts plummet and plunge when aging and gravity wrestle. Ahh, ow, argh. Gravity is a major downer (pun intended).

What’s the solution? Anti-gravity products: pampering potions, skin-care creams, fanatical facials, miracle moisturizers, booster botox. Surgeries: eyelifts, facelifts, liposuction, tummy tucks, breast and buttock elevations.

Some home remedies to tone and tighten are hilarious. Ice massaging to regain firmness in sagging breasts. A cucumber and egg yolk mask for mammary fat. Scrub with sea salt to tighten flabby arm skin. Really?

Is there any uplifting news? (pun intended). NASA is conducting a human physiology experiment labeled SkinCare (i.e. hydration grade, transepidermal water loss, skin surface video imaging) because astronauts experience skin changes during spaceflight. “SkinCare is designed to examine these changes and use the data collected to create a model for skin aging.” www.nasa.gov/. Will gravity and aging learn to play nice on Earth?

The Golden Girls, a television sitcom, received critical acclaim and won several awards. The storyline revolved around four older women; three widows and one divorcee sharing a home together. Actresses: Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia approached aging with humor, sarcasm, and an attitude of acceptance while making the most of their remaining years. Who knew a show about four old ladies would become so popular?

What aging person has skin without wrinkles? I’m reminded of immortalized wax figures of celebrities in museums—that’s not an aged look. Bodies age and die; skin decays in caskets.

Human beings age. It’s called lifespan development. From conception to birth to death, our minds and bodies continue to change. We only get one body in this lifetime. How do we learn to accept the aging skin we live in or how do we get on a reality television show for free cosmetic surgery? Let’s ponder these two questions.

“As much as I loathe this aging thing, I’m beginning to recognize that I am now a healthier person in terms of self-worth and knowing who I am and where I fit in the world. That’s been a good trade-off for the wrinkles.”—Patty Duke


By Melissa Martin

Contributing columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.