Many seniors have to deal with changes in their skin as they age.
Our skin deals with a lot throughout our lives, and various things can impact the feel, look, and overall health of our skin. One particular condition that many seniors deal with is Eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that results in dry, flaky patches of skin that can cause some discomfort. The dryness associated with Eczema comes from a loss of lipids (insoluble fatty compounds) on the skin that help cells to hold on to water. With a reduction of these important lipids, the skin loses moisture and becomes dry and irritated. Eczema can occur on different parts of the body and can also come in different forms (Atopic Dermatitis and Stasis Dermatitis).
There are various lifestyle and external factors that can trigger bouts of Eczema in seniors. Being aware of the factors that come into play and how they contribute to Eczema flare-ups can be helpful so that seniors can learn to adjust their behaviours and minimize their interaction with things that trigger Eczema to cause them discomfort. The following are some examples of things that might cause Eczema troubles:
- Excess Heat: Heat dries out the skin and removes healthy natural oils that the skin needs.
- Lack of Moisture: The skin requires moisture from outside sources to keep things from becoming dehydrated.
- Harsh Detergent and Soap: Chemicals can irritate the skin and dry it out further.
- Irritating Fabrics: Clothing and linens that are too rough for sensitive skin can cause dryness and irritation.
- Certain Foods: Some people notice more instances of Eczema when they consume certain foods that irritate their skin.
- Stress: The skin is a part of the body that demonstrates symptoms of too much stress.
Eczema is, first and foremost, an issue of skin hydration, so keeping hydrated is very important for caring for the skin. Drinking a sufficient amount of water and applying a gentle moisturizer to the skin can make an incredible difference in keeping things hydrated and healthy. Trying to avoid the triggers listed above is also an important part of trying to prevent or minimize the severity of Eczema flare ups. Avoid taking hot baths or showers, control room temperatures, apply moisturizer and use a humidifier, try gentle soap and detergent, wear comfortable and natural fabrics, keep track of reactions to food, and try to manage stress in order to alleviate skin discomfort and keep Eczema symptoms at bay.
Eczema is, thankfully, a very manageable condition to deal with. Through consultation with a medical professional and a little planning to keep the proper conditions, seniors can deal with Eczema and work to keep their skin feeling comfortable and healthy.