Most people are well aware of the changes one’s skin goes through with age: It loses its elasticity, wrinkles up, gets thinner, and so forth. As one’s skin grows less resilient, it naturally becomes more susceptible to various conditions, making skin care for seniors extremely important. If their skin is not properly cared for, elderly persons may experience the following issues:
- Dry skin
- Age spots
- Skin tags
- Skin cancer
- Skin infections
In many cases, these occur naturally and are completely harmless. It’s a simple fact that wrinkles will occur as a person ages, as do skin tags and age spots, none of which are dangerous. However, dry skin and irritation can be problematic, especially since elderly skin tends to be less moist and thus less resilient. In some cases, irritated skin may be a sign of a harmful condition such as exfoliative dermatitis (excessive peeling of the skin).
If you care for an elderly loved one or if you are experiencing these changes yourself, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent skin problems down the road. Some tips are:
- Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoke has a drying effect on bodily tissue, including the skin.
- Use a humidifier.
- Stay hydrated.
- Apply sunscreen before going outside.
- Keep bathwater and shower temperatures to a mild temperature. Hot water can dry out the skin and exacerbate irritation problems.
- If bedridden, take care to avoid bedsores. Elderly individuals who are bedridden should be turned regularly.
- Change catheters frequently.
- Use mild soap when bathing. Harsher soaps can dry skin.
- After bathing, use a moisturizer to help skin retain moisture.
- Avoid scratching itchy skin. The older you get, the thinner your skin becomes, and the more likely damage and infection of the skin will be when scratching.
Skin care is at least as important for older adults as it is for anyone else, if not much more so. If you need assistance with this or other aspects of elderly care, there are sources available. Contact us at Senior Care Centers for the help you need.