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What to Expect in Your 70s and Beyond

The good and bad. Plus advice on feeling happy, sexy and pain-free

Save Your Skin

The Good News: Your skin is drier, which can be welcome relief for the third of women who were plagued by oily skin and breakouts throughout their adulthood.

The Not-So-Good News: Wrinkles and lines are more plentiful, but so are the options for keeping skin looking bright. Gentle exfoliation and moisturizing are especially important. Pick skin products with antioxidants and glycolic acid, which promote skin thickening and increase collagen production. And apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 every day. Laser treatments can help with dilated superficial blood vessels (called telangiectasias), which tend to appear without warning on the cheeks, nose, chin and legs. (The laser destroys the blood vessels underneath the skin - with no scarring.) And those extra skin tags? Your doctor can remove them through freezing, snipping or cauterizing.

What's Up With That? Non-articular cartilage, the type that gives ears and noses their shape, continues to grow with age, making these appendages larger. But look on the bright side: Such cartilage growth may have evolved to enable people to track and funnel sounds and smells as they age, suggests James Stankiewicz, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

What's Ahead: As you age, the skin around your jawline tends to sag. If you're bothered by it, ask your doctor about skin-tightening radio-frequency treatments, which can tighten skin without damaging the epidermis.

60s; strength; health; training; weight; kettle bell

Studies show strength training can build muscle, which can take force off the joints. — Photo by Craig Cutler

Bone Up for Good Health

The Good News: You can maintain muscle strength through activity.

The Not-So-Good News: About one in three women ages 75 through 85 has osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, which greatly increases the risk of fractures of the hip and spine. Studies show strength training can build muscle, which can take force off the joints. Plus, weight-bearing activities stimulate the bones to grow stronger and denser. 

What's Up With That? Although worn joints may benefit from anti-inflammatory drugs and activity, surgery may become necessary as cartilage loss begins to accelerate. Regenerative techniques such as platelet-rich plasma and autologous (self) stem cell injections may also help, according to Nathan Wei, M.D., a rheumatologist in Frederick, Md.

What's Ahead: Joint-replacement surgeries are common; one study showed that patients 75-plus recover just as quickly as those 65 to 74.

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