Elderly Skin Care – What You Need To Know
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- Posted on May. 9th, 2010
By Lynn Starner
Elderly people and their caregivers should know about elderly skin care. It is important to realize some of the common traits, problems and solutions. Elderly people will have some specific issues that need to be recognized and treated effectively. This page will help you care best for elderly skin.
Elderly Skin Traits
The most common factor among elderly skin is the fact that it is usually always dry. This is because as we age, our skin begins to thin. As it thins, it is less able to retain moisture, thus leading to dry skin.
Dry skin can lead to problems in a younger person, but can cause even more problems for the elderly. The thin skin is easier torn, and that lets bacteria get in. The elderly have a harder time fighting bacteria off, so you don’t want anything to increase their chances of infection.
Treating Elderly Skin
Elderly skin care will always include caring for dry skin. Treating dry skin is not hard; it just requires astute attention and getting in the habit of taking care of it.Here’s how you do it.
Keep It Clean: Always keep the skin clean. This applies especially to the feet, groin, underareas and armpits. Individuals who sweat should wear loose, absorbent clothing that will wick the wetness away. If skin stays wet too long, it can become prone to fungal infection, rashes and even become extremely dry.
However, avoid hot baths or too frequent showering/bathing. This will dry skin out further. Warm water is the most
effective, and bathing every other day is probably the most frequent to get.
Cream based cleansers for face and body are perfect. Often, only localized areas need to be soaped; the rest of the body can be flushed with warm water. Avoid very bubbly products, as they usually contain harsh detergents that dry out skin.
Keep It Hydrated: Keeping dry skin hydrated is the best way to avoid potential problems like cracking, pain and itchiness (which we’ll discuss below). After showering or bathing, lather all over with a thick hydrating cream. This will help seal in the body’s natural moisture, and help skin be more comfortable.
For the day, invest in a heavy-duty moisturizer with sunscreen. At night, use a hydrating night cream before going to bed.
Keep It From Itching: Elderly skin care is all about dry skin. But what makes skin dry? Well, as we age, our bodies decrease their production of oily secretions, which help keep skin soft, supple and hydrated. This decrease leads to drier skin, which can become itchy and uncomfortable. And when our skin itches, we scratch it.
This can be harmful for an older person, as their skin is more thin, and more susceptible to tearing. Which just leads to a bigger problem. So, to reduce itchiness, try using a bathing oil after bathing. Be very careful to avoid applying to hands and feet so the risk of slipping is minimized. Apply talc to areas that sweat to minimize any fungal growth which can lead to itching. And keeping humidifiers in popular rooms will help relieve itching.
Keep An Eye On It: Elderly skin care should also always include routine examinations of the skin for skin cancer and other skin disorders. Look for moles that are changing shape (asymmetrical), color, or are just looking different. Look for areas that are peeling, red, irritated, chapped, cracked or have severe itching. Keep an eye out for new growths, sores that do not heal, the appearance of new sores and pain. Knowing elderly skin care will help you recognize these potential problems. If you notice any of these conditions, please see a doctor.
Don’t Forget The Feet!
As we focus on elderly skin care, let’s not forget one of the most important (yet often overlooked) area of the body. The feet. The older a person gets, the more prone the feet become to problems. Corns, calluses, warts, dry skin, fungal infections, ingrown toenails, blisters and other foot
deformities are common. Proper care of your feet, including
regular checkups by a doctor, can alleviate most of these problems. The feet are also a great way to tell if a person
is at risk for diabetes.
The Routine: Clean feet thoroughly with warm water, and dry them completely. Remember to get between the toes! Thoroughly massage lotion or moisturizer into the feet, avoided the spaces between toes. Trim the nails straight across, and not right next to the nailbed. Round sharp edges with a file.
If the person is immobile, do daily foot exercises to get blood circulating.
Always wear comfortable shoes, even around the house. This is to protect the feet from outside injury, as well as discomfort caused by inappropriate footwear.
The Inspection: Each day, inspect feet for a change in color, dryness, swelling or tenderness. Check for any of the ailments listed above, from corns to blisters. Be aware of any different sensations, like tingling, numbness or pain. Seek treatment if any of these signs are apparent.
Now you know all you need to about elderly skin care. Go forth, be healthy, and enjoy these years.
Lynn Starner is the proprietor of Beauty Bliss Mineral Cosmetics at http://www.beautyblisscosmetics.com
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