Along with aging comes changes in what our bodies require to remain healthy and happy, and that often means changing our behaviors to better meet those new needs.
Our skin, for example, becomes both weaker and more sensitive as we grow older and this means that the ways that we care for our skin must be reconsidered and changed accordingly to better address the specific care needs of aging skin. Skin care routines and the regimens that were appropriate and effective in younger years might not have the same positive results on older skin, and the concerns that exist in relation to skin-health are also different as our skin grows older.
The progression of aging causes the skin to become thinner, drier, less flexible, and, as a result, more vulnerable to infections, injuries, and issues of varying severity. While issues such as mild dryness, itching, discolouration, or rashes may be simpler to deal with, there are some more concerning infections and skin-related health issues that can affect seniors’ lives.
- Skin Viruses: Such as shingles.
- Skin Cancer: Growth of abnormal skin cells. Cancer of the skin.
- Stasis Dermatitis: Itchiness and dryness of the skin.
- Skin Infections: Parasitic infestations or bacterial infections.
- Exfoliative Dermatitis: Skin peeling, shedding, and redness that affects multiple or large areas of the body.
- Senile Purpura: Purple colored spots and discolouration as a result of the thinness of skin and fragility of the blood vessels that lie beneath.
Skin Care Tips
Ensuring that ample attention is paid to the health of seniors’ skin can help to avoid the development of extensive skin conditions and can help to promote overall well-being. The following are some tips and tricks that can be easily introduced into seniors’ lives to work towards having healthier skin:
- 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.
- Protect Against the Sun: Protecting against the sun is necessary for the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drink Water: Hydration is important for the health of the entire body, but can be particularly helpful for skin-health by ensuring the skin is hydrated and supple.
- 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.
Each individual senior will have their own unique experiences and circumstances related to the health of their skin, and some may have few problems while others may face larger issues. Whatever the case may be, there are resources, advice, and support available to seniors in Ottawa that can help seniors and their caregivers as they cultivate an awareness, meet with healthcare professionals to address skin-related health concerns and keep themselves and their skin in the best shape they can.