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Does Aging Skin Require Special Care?

Posted: 6/14/2017 9:06 AM by Interim HealthCare
When people are younger, their skin care routine sometimes centers around trying to prevent skin from wrinkling. However, for older adults, the focus of skin care should change to keeping skin healthy since seniors are more prone to skin infections and other skin problems due to changes in the skin. When seniors are cared for by elder care providers or family caregivers, the responsibility for managing skin care falls on their shoulders. To help keep your parent’s skin healthy, it’s important to know about the skin problems that seniors may face and some techniques for keeping skin healthy.
How Skin Changes
As people age, their skin gets thinner. It also becomes less stretchy because the body does not produce as much collagen or elastin. Senior skin also has less fat, so it isn’t as firm as it used to be. Skin can also be damaged from years of sun exposure. All of these changes make senior skin bruise, scratch, and cut more easily. Skin injuries can also take longer to heal.
Types of Skin Problems
Seniors may experience many different skin problems that are related to aging. Some of them are minor, cosmetic issues and some are more serious. Common skin problems include:
  • Age Spots: Age spots are harmless. They are brown spots on the skin that are similar to freckles, but larger. They usually appear on the face, back, hands, feet, and arms.
  • Bruising: Bruising in seniors isn’t uncommon because their skin bruises more easily. Certain medications can make bruising even more likely. If your parent bruises for no apparent reason, talk to their doctor as there may be an underlying cause.
  • Skin Tags: Skin tags are raised skin growths that are the same color as the surrounding flesh. They occur most often in body folds, on eyelids, and neck. Skin tags are harmless, but can be removed if they are bothersome.
  • Dry Skin: Dry skin is very common for older people. As people age, they have fewer sweat glands and their skin produces less oil. Too much sun, dry air, smoking, and not drinking enough liquids can also result in dry skin.
  • Skin Cancer: Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. The leading cause of skin cancer is too much sun exposure. To catch skin cancer early, check your parent’s skin on a monthly basis looking for unusual changes, moles, or growths.
Tips for Healthier Skin
Elder care providers and family caregivers can help seniors to keep their skin healthier by assisting them with skin care and ensuring they protect their skin. Here are some tips for keeping your parent’s skin healthy:
  • Encourage your parent to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Limit time in the sun.
  • Remind your parent to wear clothing, like wide-brimmed hats, to protect them from the sun.
  • Remind your parent to wear sunscreen. If needed, help them to apply it.
  • Apply a daily moisturizer.
  • Use a milder soap.
  • Take fewer baths, which can dry skin. Warm instead of hot water will also prevent skin from drying.
More information about senior care.