What Seniors Need to Know About Healthy Aging Skin
There are many changes to the skin that are common as people age. Some, like wrinkles and age spots or skin tags, might be somewhat superficial, while others — like dry itchy skin or easy bruising — can be downright uncomfortable.
Lose the Fat
As people age, skin becomes thinner, losing the layer of fat padding beneath it. This affects how smooth the skin appears. It results in wrinkles and more visible veins. It also affects how quickly cuts and scratches heal.
The Effects of the Elements
Wrinkles and age spots appear after exposure to the elements over many years. UV rays from the sun is a big culprit. Wearing protective clothing and using a moisturizing sunscreen daily can prevent further environmental damage to aging skin.
Dry, Itchy Skin
Aging skin doesn’t produce as much sweat or natural oil as it did when it was younger. This alone can cause dry skin, but there are also many additional factors that can exacerbate dryness and itchiness.
- Drinking too little fluid
- Spending too much time in the sun
- Living in a very dry environment
- Certain medical conditions
- Hot baths
- Harsh skin products
- Using too much soap, antiperspirant or perfume
To help dry, itchy skin feel better, most seniors should use moisturizing lotion daily. Bathing less often may be helpful, and be sure to use mild skin care products. Using warm water — not hot — can make a difference as well. A humidifier can add moisture to the air indoors, to decrease the dryness of the environment.
Prone to Bruising
In part due to its thinness, aging skin tends to bruise more easily than it did earlier in life. It can also take longer for bruises to heal. Certain medications and medical conditions can contribute to abnormal bruising, so it’s important to discuss any unusual bruises with the doctor.
The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV rays from the sun, sunlamps or tanning booths. Skin cancer is one of the more common forms of cancer. It’s important to identify and treat it early to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Skin cancers are usually found on parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the head, face, neck or hands. Look for sores that don’t heal or moles that bleed or grow irregularly. Bring them to the doctor’s attention if noted.
Pressure ulcers, sometimes called bedsores, are injuries to the skin that can result when vulnerable skin is exposed to persistent pressure, such as when a senior is unable to readjust their weight on their own. Pressure ulcers can be very detrimental and challenging to heal, so it’s important to prevent them to the extent possible. Good nutrition, hydration and frequent repositioning are key to pressure ulcer prevention. It’s also important to keep skin dry. Always clean up promptly after incontinent episodes.
Elder Care can Help
Many seniors find they have more trouble caring for their skin as they age. Professional elder care aides can come to seniors’ homes and assist with bathing, skin care, incontinence care, nutritional support and repositioning. These interventions can go a long way toward comfort, health, and successful aging in place.
If you are considering Elder Care Services in Toledo OH, please contact the caring staff at Med1Care. Located in Toledo and Findlay. Serving clients in all of northern Ohio including Bowling Green, Bryan, Bucyrus, Celina, Defiance, Findlay, Fremont, Kenton, Lima, Lorain, Mansfield, Marion, Mount Gilead, Napoleon, Norwalk, Ottawa, Paulding, Port Clinton, Sandusky, Tiffin, Toledo, Upper Sandusky, Van Wert, Wapakoneta, Wauseon and all nearby areas. Toledo 419.866.0555 | Findlay 419.422.0305