No matter how old we are, taking care of our skin – our body’s largest organ – can sometimes feel like a sizable job. Just as we leave the season when everyone seems to be worrying about sunscreen application, the air cools down, we turn the heat on, and all of a sudden we’re dealing with dryness, itchiness, and redness.
It’s easy to get caught up in how our skin feels on any given day or during a specific season, but the truth is that skincare is crucial all year: we need to use sunscreen in the winter, moisturize our skin in the summer, and continually be aware of any changes in our skin.
Since our skin changes as we get older, seniors need to care for and check-in with their skin – but this can be overwhelming.
To help both seniors and caregivers, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 tips to know when caring for senior skin.
Not just in the summer, or when planning to spend the day outside – always. Getting into the habit of applying sunscreen every day is one of the best ways seniors can protect the health of their skin.
Additionally, the NIA recommends seniors avoid spending too much time outdoors during the sunniest hours of the day, and that they provide extra sun protection for their skin by wearing hats, long sleeves, and long pants or skirts.
Good Housekeeping magazine interviewed a dermatologist who advised that eating healthy, balanced meals is good for our skin.
According to the dermatologist, omega-3 fatty acids help maintain the level of moisture in one’s skin. Incorporating foods like walnuts and flax seeds into seniors’ diets can help provide these nutrients. Another suggestion was a common one that we know is good for our bodies in so many ways: eat vegetables!
Protect your hands
Seniors should wear gloves when using chemical cleaners or submerging their fingers in hot water.
Gloves prevent injury, irritation, dryness, and excessive sun exposure, all of which can have negative impacts on one’s skin. The skin on our hands is often treated more roughly than the skin on other parts of our bodies, so it’s important to protect it when possible.
This is particularly important as we get older as our skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to injury.
Try to protect skin from bruising
Our skin starts to bruise more often in our sixties. It also takes longer for our skin to heal. Skin can also be more susceptible to skin bruising due to certain illnesses.
Since bruising can indicate medical issues, seniors (or their caregivers) who notice a sudden increase in the amount of bruising on their skin should speak with their doctors.
Though we might not typically think of our skin as an organ smoking affects, it is. Not only does smoking have aesthetic consequences for our skin, leading to faster aging and quicker wrinkling, it also reduces skin’s elasticity – which, as mentioned previously, already happens as we grow older.
The Mayo Clinic also notes that smoking increases one’s risk of developing skin cancer. Living a smoke-free life is beneficial to our health in all sorts of ways, including the health of our skin.
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