As we grow older and our bodies continue to undergo various changes related to health and age, it is necessary that we adapt our behaviours and routines to better meet the needs of our bodies as they evolve.
Our skin, for example, becomes both weaker and increasingly sensitive as we age and this means that the ways in which we attend to and care for our skin must be reevaluated and altered accordingly to better address the specific care needs of older, aging skin. Skin care routines and the practices that were sufficient and applicable in younger age might not have the same positive results on older skin, and the worries that exist related to skin-health are also different as our skin ages.
The process of growing older causes the skin to become thinner, drier, less flexible, and, as a result, more susceptible to infections, injuries, and issues of varying intensity. While problems such as mild dryness, itching, discolouration, or rashes may be easier to manage, there are some more worrisome infections and skin-related health issues that can impact seniors’ lives.
- Stasis Dermatitis: Itchiness and dryness of the skin.
- Skin Viruses: Such as shingles.
- Skin Infections: Parasitic infestations or bacterial infections.
- Skin Cancer: Growth of abnormal skin cells. Cancer of the skin.
- Senile Purpura: Purple coloured spots and discolouration as a result of thinness of skin and fragility of the blood vessels that lie beneath.
- Exfoliative Dermatitis: Skin peeling, shedding, and redness that affects multiple or large areas of the body.
Skin Care Tips
Making sure that sufficient attention is directed towards attending to the health of seniors’ skin can help to prevent the development of pervasive skin conditions and can help contribute to the promotion of overall wellbeing. The following are some strategies and tips that can be easily integrated into seniors’ lives in pursuit of healthier skin:
- Wash Gently: The fact that seniors’ skin is more fragile means that it is important to avoid rough scrubbing, overly-hot showers or baths, or harsh soaps and products. Ensuring that washing is done with a gentle touch and mild products.
- Use a Humidifier: Dryness is a common feature of elderly skin, and seniors are often prone to redness, chapping, and cracking. Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air that can help re-hydrate the skin and reduce uncomfortable dryness.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can make skin dry and discoloured, can impair blood-flow to the skin, and can deplete important nutrients that are pertinent to skin health. Only through quitting smoking can seniors stop experiencing the side effects that are caused to the skin.
- Protect Against the Sun: Protecting against the sun is necessary for skin of all ages, but the increased vulnerability of older skin means that it is especially important for seniors. Seniors should always use sunscreen with an appropriate SPF, should choose clothing that covers most of their skin, and should wear hats and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
- Moisturize: Moisturizing the skin adds additional hydration, prevents dryness, and helps the skin to remain glowing and healthy. Choose products that use natural ingredients and are gentle on seniors’ sensitive skin.
- Eat Healthy Foods: Nutrient-rich foods are important for the body as a whole but can also impact the health of skin directly. Consuming a diet of foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as avocados, berries, green veggies, and nuts) can help maintain better skin-health.
- Drink Water: Hydration is important for health of the entire body, but can be particularly helpful for skin-health by ensuring the skin is hydrated and supple.
Every individual senior will have their own personal experiences with the health of their skin, and some may have few problems while others may face greater concerns. Whatever the case may be, there are resources, advice, and support available to seniors in Edmonton that can help seniors and their caregivers as they work to cultivate a sense of awareness, consult with doctors to address skin-related health concerns, and keep themselves and their skin happy and healthy.