Elderly skin care is not only important for the elderly, but also for their caregivers. This article will help point out some of the common traits, problems and solutions. Elderly people will have some specific issues that need to be recognized and treated effectively.
The most common factor among elderly skin is dryness. The skin is almost universally dry and even flaky. Skincare for the elderly should always include caring for fragile, dry skin.
Our skin thins as we age, making it less able to retain moisture, thus leading to dry skin. While dry skin can be annoying to a young person, it can cause serious problems for the elderly.
It Itches! This is a super common symptom. As the skin dries it becomes itchy. Itching leads to scratching. Scratching leads to tearing and possible infection of the skin. Scratching which does not break the skin may also result in bruising.
Thin skin is more easily torn, which makes it easier for bacteria to get in. The elderly already have a harder time fighting off bacteria and you don't want anything to increase their chances of infection.
Elderly skin care is not hard; it just requires astute attention and getting in the habit of the routine.
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.
Use a gentle soap with a mild or neutral PH. Some fragrances and ingredients, such as menthol, can be irritating. Because of this Ivory soap is my recommendation. Remember this?
Bathing: Avoid hot baths or frequent showering/bathing. This will dry skin out further. Warm water is the most effective, and bathing every other day will help.
Because elderly skin doesn’t produce the amount of oil younger skin does, it is often unnecessary to soap/bathe every day. 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.
Using bath oils is a wonderful way to rehydrate and soften skin, but only use them with supervision because they make the bathtub and the skin slick. You don’t want a fall in the bathroom!
The Face: Cream based cleansers for face and body are perfect for elderly skin care. Glycerin soaps are also very good. Or, use Ivory soap here too! Again, avoid anything that has too much lather as it can dry skin out.
Keep It Hydrated: Keeping dry skin hydrated is the best way to avoid potential problems like cracking, pain and itchiness. 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.
Neutrogena Body Oil has good reviews in skincare for the elderly. Aveeno and Cetaphil are also very good for dry, sensitive skin.
Here's a special little elderly skin care trick: If you’re using lotion pour a little pure glycerin (available at your drugstore) in. It not only stretches your bottle of lotion out, but it makes it more hydrating and nourishing to your skin.
For the day, invest in a heavy-duty moisturizer with sunscreen. At night, use a hydrating night cream before going to bed. Oil of Olay has always been a favorite.
Sweating: If you or your elderly person sweats excessively, use a little baby powder in those areas. The powder will absorb the sweat and keep the skin dry. Trapped moisture can lead to fungal growth, which is a whole other set of problems.
Keep An Eye On It: Elderly skin care should also always include routine examinations of the skin for skin cancer and other skin disorders.
Doing this check regularly will help you recognize potential problems. If you notice any of these conditions, please see a doctor.
As we focus on elderly skincare, let's not forget one of the most important (yet often overlooked) area of the body.
The older a person gets, the more prone feet become to problems. Corns, calluses, warts, dry skin, fungal infections, ingrown toenails, blisters and other foot deformities are common.
Proper care of the 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 developing complications from 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 avoiding the spaces between toes. Trim the nails straight across and not right down to the quick. Round sharp edges with a file.
If the elderly is immobile, do daily foot exercises to get blood circulating. This can include rotating the ankle, clenching and relaxing the toes and bending the foot up then down.
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 changes 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 about elderly skin care. Go forth, be healthy, and enjoy these Golden Years!