Tips for Elderly Skin Care

Tips for Elderly Skin Care: How to Take Care of Aging Skin and Avoid Disease

As we get older, our skin changes. The skin of the elderly is less oily, less elastic, thinner, and more prone to bruises than “normal” skin. As a result, elders may discover changes or concerns with their skin that they didn’t have as a child.

Reasons for Skin aging:

Intrinsic causes

  • After the age of 20, the dermis layer of skin produces one percent less of collagen each year.
  • Collagen and elastin fibers become thinner and looser, resulting in the notorious wrinkling and sagging of the skin
  • The skin’s innate exfoliation process decreases by 28 percent, which causes dead skin cells to accumulate and stick together.
  • In 30s, the transfer of water from the dermis to the epidermis slows and fat cells shrink, leading to dull and thin-looking skin
  • By 50, the skin becomes dry and is easily bruised, damaged, or broken because the oil glands decrease in size.

Extrinsic causes

  • Extrinsic causes are generally a result of environmental damage and free radical production
  • Precancerous changes, skin cancer, age and dark spots, formation of freckles, and substantial losses of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans.
  • Pollution, smoking, and UV radiation

Skin Conditions that Affect Seniors:

  • Senile Purpura: 

Purplish spots that appear most often on the arms and legs

  • Stasis Dermatitis:

A dry, itchy skin condition that affects more older women than males.

  • Exfoliative Dermatitis: 

A severe form of dermatitis that is characterized by extensive peeling and shedding of skin

  • Skin Infections / Infestations:

Bacterial infections and parasitic infestations such as scabies or ringworm.

  • Viral skin disorders:

Examples include shingles and herpes zoster.

Elderly Skin Care Tips:

  • Use soap that contains a moisturizer or is formulated for dry skin
  • Use a moisturizing cream or lotion. 
  • Bathe every other day rather than every day to prevent drying out the skin.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • Limit caffeine which dries you out.
  • Use humidifiers to add moisture to the air.
  • Avoid sun exposure, especially during the heat of the day, between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and wear loose-fitting clothing that covers as much exposed skin as possible.

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