Help! When did my young skin disappear?
Skin conditions can pop up at any time - it can be just a normal part of aging or it may indicate underlying health problems. According to Medscape, a medical news website, 75% of people over the age of 65 suffer from some type of skin condition. There are several reasons why one may have a chronic skin condition—environment, health related issues such as diabetes, heart or liver disease, obesity, malnutrition or even a reaction to prescribed or over the counter medications.
Most Common Skin Conditions in the Elderly:
- Dry and itching skin: Dry, flaky and itchy skin occurs due to the loss of oil glands which helps keep the skin soft. There are, however, certain diseases, such as diabetes, kidney, or liver disease that can be the culprit. Because the skin is dry and itchy, one may find themselves scratching or picking at the skin to alleviate the uncomfortable itching sensation. Unfortunately, this can cause bleeding and/or an infection.
- Bedsores: Bedsores or pressure ulcers develop when a person is in bed for long periods of time or even sitting in a chair for countless hours. This can be seen most often in the elderly population due to lack of movement. It is particularly important to monitor your loved one in the hospital or nursing home to be sure they are being rotated and turned on a consistent basis. Diabetic patients also tend to be more prone to bedsores.
- Thinning of skin: As one gets older, the skin tends to thin, making the person more susceptible to injury —bruising, cuts, scrapes and burns or even radiation burns due to cancer treatments.
Tips to Prevention:
- Be sure to check the water temperature for your elderly loved one when bathing or showering - too hot dries out the skin
- Encourage them to use soft washcloths instead of scrubbers or loofahs—this can aggravate the thinning skin
- Remind them to drink plenty of water—staying hydrated is always good for the health of one's skin
- Check to see that the humidifier or vaporizer in the home is in working order—this helps to keep moisture in the air
- If you notice your elderly loved one picking or consistently scratching at their skin, there are natural and organic lotions that can help reduce the urge to itch or pick.
- If the skin is injured, it is critical to not only keep it clean and well protected, but to also apply the proper skin products to help with the healing process—infections in older people can be quite dangerous. Cancer treatments can also cause several skin issues, including radiation burns and rashes due to chemotherapy.
- Who wouldn't want to start their day off being relaxed and rejuvenated? Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for your elderly loved. Consider applying a hydrating lotion to their face, neck and scalp—this will help their skin to feel hydrated and moist.
Skin… it's everywhere…protect yourself and loved ones with the proper treatments and skin nutrients!
Sources: Webmd.com. , Medscape.com
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