How old is your skin? Take the pinch test.

by | Mar 5, 2021 | Longevity

Unfortunately there’s NO debating the fact that as we age our skin loses its elasticity, becomes wrinkled and for some quite leathery (hello sun goddesses!).  According to the powers that be “this is the result of free-radical destruction and is a sign of degeneration and loss of function” – or more simply AGING!

It’s well noted that a significant change in the skin becomes evident at about the age of 45 – since I’ve passed that magical milestone I thought it might be time to take a “skin elasticity test” to see how my skin age rates compared to my actual age.  My amazing brother, Dr. Peter Abramson, is a phenomenal plastic surgeon – and person – so I was thinking if all else failed and my skin turned out to have the elasticity age of a 90 year old he was my plan B (I know shameless plug for Dr. Pete!).

It’s super easy to take the skin elasticity test – just pinch the skin on the back of your hand with your thumb and forefinger and hold it for five seconds. Let go and time how long it takes for the skin to flatten back out. The shorter the time, the younger the ‘functional age’ of the skin.

In case my instructions are confusing here’s a video of the test I did – I’m thinking my elasticity was a little under 3 seconds so my skin is (apparently) younger than my chronological age – YEAH!

So please share – how did you fare in the skin test?  Is your skin elasticity older or younger than your true age or were you right on target?

You can compare your results to the table chart below:

Time (Seconds)         Functional age (Years)

1-2                                under 30
3-4                                30-44
5-9                                45-50
10-15                            60
35-55                           70
56 or more                over 70

If you’ve noticed your skin elasticity isn’t what it used to be, (and this test confirmed that observation), you can make some small changes and you’ll see a significant difference.

For starters, decrease your sugar intake – try to keep your sweets to a minimum at definitely no more than 10 percent of your total calories.  Also, avoid high fructose corn syrup and be careful how many pieces of yummy fruit you eat each day (I limit my intake to two pieces a day).

Make sure you always wear sunscreen, especially on your face, neck, arms and upper chest (ok just put it everywhere!), as skin elasticity is lost more quickly when left unprotected and overexposed to the sun.  Many daily moisturizers now contain SPF so if you use this type of lotion you don’t even have to take the extra step of lathering on SPF.

Also, in order to maintain your skin’s elasticity, avoid harmful and damaging lifestyle choices like smoking, drugs, excessive alcohol consumption and using products that are harmful to your skin.  If you’re feeling super stressed try some relaxation techniques to lessen these feelings.  Why not try the practice of mindfulness – if for no other reason than for the sake of your health, beauty, happiness and longevity.

Sleep is also a big one when it comes to looking and feeling your best – as someone who suffers from chronic insomnia I can tell you a good night’s sleep takes a decade off when it comes to your appearance (ok at least a year or so!).  Here’s a link to a Huffington Post blog I recently wrote about all that insomnia stuff….SLEEP!!!!

In addition, what we eat really does have a HUGE impact on our skin and the beautiful bright and shiny glow we all want (and love)!  It’s no secret that eating healthy foods can help ward off disease, keep you feeling good on a daily basis and provide a healthy-looking appearance.

Antioxidants is a word that pops up constantly when talking about skin elasticity and anti-aging – these compounds are said to be the “weapon against cell-damaging free radicals that can lead to premature aging” – who knew?  Eating healthy foods like cranberries, walnuts, red peppers and red grapes can help save skin elasticity and maintain suppleness and youth.  Antioxidants can speed up the cell replacement process and neutralize the harmful free radicals in your body.

Here are some other healthy foods that are both easy to incorporate into your day and they’re good for you!

Leafy greens: Folate, calcium and other nutrients are good for bone density and they help keep cognitive functions strong.
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries and cranberries are packed with antioxidants, which can help ward off disease.
Tomatoes: They contain lycopene, an antioxidant compound that research indicates will reduce cancer risks and heart disease.
Nuts: Almonds and walnuts are filling and offer healthy fats, vitamins and protein. It’s an easy snack for when you are on the go.
Red wine: In moderation, red wine is a healthy pleasure. It contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. That being said…it takes a great deal of daily red wine to benefit….
Wild salmon: Omega 3s are plentiful in this delicious fish. Research suggests that this these fatty acids can lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and stroke.
Green tea: Another great way to get antioxidants. Go for the higher end loose leaf teas, which pack a rich flavor that may even replace your coffee habit.
Beans: High in fiber, protein and antioxidants, beans aren’t just good for the waistline, they may aid in disease prevention.
Carrots: Of course they are good for your eyes, but don’t forget – they’re also good for your hair and scalp, thanks to Vitamin A.
Eggs: Full of biotin and iron, which give that healthy glow in your skin and hair.
Water: Drinking an adequate amount of water daily is important for overall good health because water aids in digestion, circulation, absorption and even excretion.

Whether or not the elasticity test indicated your skin is older than your true age, or that you are right on target, it’s always important to prevent further degeneration and perhaps even regain some youthfulness in your skin by changing bad habits and being proactive!