Skin Care for SeniorsJune 20, 2023
It’s a fact of life that your skin changes as you age. Everyone develops age spots and fine lines. And while we don’t often think of it this way, our skin is actually the largest organ in the body. Throughout the course of our lives, our skin works to protect us from the potential damages of the outside world. As cell turnover decreases with age, this barrier weakens, causing your skin to be drier, thinner, itchy, easily irritated, bruise more easily, be more susceptible to wounds, and heal more slowly among other skin problems.
As the skin starts to mature, some have the unfortunate misconception that they no longer have to take care of it. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Skin care for seniors is not only essential for helping you feel confident, but helping you feel physically healthy too.
Skin care tips for seniors
It’s possible you already have a tried and true skincare routine that you’ve followed for years. While it is great you are taking steps to care for yourself, it is important to reevaluate how your skin’s needs from time to time. You may find that certain measures you took previously aren’t beneficial for your skin now.
Older adults are more likely to experience dry skin in the first place, but your dry skin could be exacerbated by how you care for it. Use a mild cleanser to wash your face as well as the rest of your body, and don’t scrub heavily. Instead, use gentle circles with a soft cloth to cleanse your skin, so as not to irritate it. Remember to use warm instead of hot water, as hot water increases dryness by stripping the skin of its natural oils.
Especially in the drier months of the year, moisturizing your skin often will help restore your its protective barrier. Apply a moisture cream shortly after bathing, and then throughout the day as needed. If your skin is especially dry, consider using an ointment instead, as that retains water in the aging skin even better.
When applying facial moisturizer, remember to apply it upwards instead of down. Doing so helps lift saggy skin and improve elasticity.
Use fragrance-free products
While you may love the scent of certain skin products, they may actually be doing more harm than good. Fragrance, even if created using all-natural ingredients, can actually irritate your skin—especially those who already suffer from sensitivity. If you’re suffering from dry, itchy skin, replace your fragrant products with those marked “fragrance-free” and skip your perfumes or colognes.
How to protect the skin
Though naturally beneficial, skin health is about more than the products you apply to it. Protecting your skin will help keep it healthy, as well as better prepare it for certain products.
Stay safe in the sun
While we all like to soak up the sun’s rays in the spring and summer, this can be to the detriment of your skin’s health. Before spending any time in the sun, apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to your exposed skin. The SPF should be at least 30 and should be reapplied every two hours while you are outdoors.
Don’t forget to protect your scalp too! It’s difficult to get broad-spectrum sunscreen on your scalp, so wear a hat when out in the sun for long periods of time. You should also make an effort to get out of the sun and into the shade every now and again.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Just like your diet impacts every other aspect of your health, it impacts your skin too. A balanced diet rich in the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients you need to stay healthy will help your skin retain its integrity.
Drinking water not only helps your body flush out its toxins, but it is also crucial for keeping you hydrated. Those who are properly hydrated are less likely to suffer from dry skin. One study even found that those who increased their water consumption experienced a positive impact on their skin.
Regularly examine your skin for skin cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. It is most frequently caused by the sun’s harmful rays, though sunlamps and tanning booths have also been shown to cause skin cancer. While those with fair skin are at the greatest risk, people of any skin tone can develop the condition.
There are three types of skin cancer an individual can develop. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma grow slowly, rarely spread, and are easily treatable. Melanoma is the most dangerous type, as it can spread to other organs. Check your skin often—especially moles and birthmarks—for any signs of cancer. As you do so, remember your ABCDEs.
- A = Asymmetry. One portion of the growth looks different from the other
- B = Borders. The borders of the growth may be irregular.
- C = Color. The growth may change or be one than one color.
- D = Diameter. Its size is greater than a pencil eraser.
- E = Evolving. The growth changes in size, shape, color, symptoms (new itchiness, tenderness, bleeding)
A few products that are proven to be great for senior skin
When starting a new skincare journey, many find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of discovering new products. So, instead of shouldering that journey all on your own, consider trying some of these products recommended by AARP.
- Dove cleanser (either bar or liquid)
- La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel
- Neutrogena Healthy Defense Sunscreen
- CeraVe Sunscreen
- Olay ProX Barrier Cream
- Vichy LiftActiv Nuit (moisturizer)
Find the support you need in a caregiver
Aging brings on a diverse array of challenges for older people to tackle. You should never have to manage that on your own. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our dedicated caregivers strive to offer you the assistance you need to age in place. From personal care to companionship, our caregivers can help you manage all the activities of daily living you previously struggled with.
For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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