As we age, our skin undergoes many changes. We’re not referring to fine lines and wrinkles, rather changes taking place that make the skin drier, thinner and more fragile. Seniors are more likely to have an increase in itchy, scaly, dry skin as they age as well. These variations can make skin more prone to injuries like bumps, bruises and scrapes that take a considerable amount of time to heal. While these skin changes are common with aging, they also put seniors at risk for skin infections and ulcerations which are very serious conditions. Those who have existing medical conditions like diabetes or kidney disease can experience an even greater degree of skin problems.
It is very important that seniors take care of their skin because they are more susceptible to skin infection and other skin diseases. Here are some tips to help seniors protect their skin, and to make them look and feel better about themselves…
- Many seniors suffer from dry skin. This oftentimes occurs on the lower arms and legs as well as the elbows. Taking warm, not hot, baths or showers and the daily use of a moisturizer should improve dryness. There are many ointments, creams and lotions on the market, test several to find what you like best. If your skin is still very dry and itchy, consult with a doctor.
- Be mindful of time spent outside. The sun is typically brightest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and some might say to avoid being outside during these times. However, it’s perfectly fine to go outside, just wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Apparel like a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs will block harmful rays.
- Regularly check your skin for changes and abnormalities. Keep an eye out for new moles, ones that have changed in shape, size or color, moles that bleed and other sores that do not heal. These may be warning signs of something more serious, and it’s recommended to consult with a doctor for further examination.
- Keep an eye out for bruising. Since there is a gradual loss of fat and connective tissue as we get older, the blood vessels are not supported as well and are more susceptible to injury. The skin is also thinner and more fragile so it’s prone to bruise easily. Seniors typically see an increase in bruises on their arms and legs. Some health conditions and medications can cause bruising, but if bruising occurs on areas always covered by clothing, check with a doctor.