As we age, our bodies undergo biological changes. These changes affect how our bodies work and as we get older so does your skin. You’ll notice that your skin isn’t the same as what it used to be. As seniors, it is important to develop a skin care routine to ensure your skin stays healthy and youthful. At Streamside Assisted Living, we see signs of aging skin everyday and we want to educate you on what to look out for and how to start taking better care of your skin TODAY.
Signs of Aging Skin
As we get older, our skin changes in visible ways. Here is what we should look for:
- Rough, dry, or itchy patches
- The elastic and collagen will slowly decrease, making skin become looser
- The layers of skin will begin to thin, making skin more transparent
- Because the skin is thinning, it will become much more fragile
- You will likely notice more cuts and/or bruises
- Increase in spots and blemishes such as age spots, freckles, and moles
If you are caring for a senior loved one or you are aging yourself, it is important to be educated about aging skin care. Aging skin is sensitive and can be prone to certain infections and diseases. Because of how fragile it is, it can also take longer to heal when damaged. If you don’t take proper care of your skin as a senior and even as a preventative measure when you’re younger, you may end up with a variety of problems later in life. Even though everyone’s skin is different, it is important to know what could happen. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these skin conditions, contact a health professional.
Common Skin Conditions in Seniors
Dermatitis is overly dry or itchy skin, seen primarily on the face, neck, and trunk. These red rashes can also appear on lower legs, lower arms, and elbows. There are more mild cases, where there is just some irritation and dryness. Dermatitis can become more serious if you are experiencing peeling and shedding. This would need to be checked out immediately – these symptoms can lead to infection and more serious health problems. The treatment for dermatitis varies depending on the severity. To help relieve rashes, dermatologists recommend rubbing rashes with moisturizing products, such as petroleum jelly. To avoid even more irritation, make sure ALL products you are choosing to use are fragrance free. Do the same with all hand soaps, body lotions, body washes, etc.
Senile purpura is a common condition in seniors. It is characterized by the re-occurrence of bruises of extremities, usually forearms and hands, after a minor trauma. It can also be caused by sun exposure and the use of blood thinners. With age, the tissue in your arms and hands become thin and your blood vessels become much more fragile. The pigmentation you see on the skin after the bruise results from a deposit from a component of your red blood cells. Senile purpura will resolve on its own however, those who have it should be educated on sun protection. Make sure you are wearing your sunscreen and re-apply it every two hours when you find yourself outside for long periods of time. To prevent further damage, it is also important to invest in proper sun-protective clothing as well.
Some skin growths are not necessarily preventative with skin care, but they are important to keep your eye out for. If you notice any unusual growths on your body that you haven’t seen before, it may be time to go see the doctor and get it checked out. While most growths are benign, there is a possibility that it could be cancerous and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We can prevent skin cancer with these skincare tips:
Senior Skincare Tips
- Try not to take an excessive amount of showers. Aging skin is already dry enough and hot, steamy showers can increase the risk of damage. It is important to keep up on personal hygiene, but opt for lukewarm water. One bath or shower a day is fine, but seniors don’t have to bathe daily. Using warm towels to minimize odors works too. However, for some caregivers and dementia patients, bathing is part of a daily routine.
- Try to avoid soaps and lotions that have strong fragrances or artificial ingredients in them. Aging skin is more fragile and fragrances can easily irritate the skin so lean towards more mild products.
- Hydration is key for elderly skin. Make sure you are applying moisturizer after each shower and bath, as well as after every time the face is washed. Water should also be consumed daily, especially if it’s hot outside.
Following these simple steps and incorporating them into your daily routine will help keep senior skin healthy and glowing. A skincare routine is also a step in a positive direction towards a healthier lifestyle overall. Not only will these steps help for seniors, but you can start implementing a skincare routine at any age. We want to see the seniors in Nampa, ID thrive – Streamside Assisted Living offers a supportive atmosphere dedicated to the special care of residents and their families. If you have any questions about the personalized services and health care we provide, call us!