Skincare in Older Adulthood

An older woman with short blonde hair in a robe standing by a mirror and skin performing her skincare routine.

Your body changes as you age, and your skin isn’t immune. The good news is that, armed with a little information, you can manage all these changes.

How your Skin Changes

The skin begins to thin in older adulthood. It may become dry and less supple. The skin may be subjected to minor nuisances, such as itching and dryness, or it may be more prone to develop serious conditions like infections and ulcerations. Untreated, these conditions can even become fatal.

Skin Conditions

A number of skin conditions are more likely to occur as you age. This ranges from different types of dermatitis, which can cause itchy, peeling skin that can eventually lead to infections, to bacterial and parasitic infections. Viral skin conditions are also not uncommon. Older adults may also develop skin growths and skin cancer.

Practicing Good Skincare

The skin is the largest organ in the body, so it’s important to take care of it properly. A good skincare routine and protecting your skin from outside factors can help prevent the development of painful, annoying skin disorders.

  • For starters, older adults need to protect themselves from the sun. Stay in the shade as much as possible and apply sunscreen regularly to prevent skin damage. Sunburn increases your risk for developing skin cancers.
  • Dry, hot air can dry out the skin. Avoid saunas and use a humidifier when the air is dry or hot and especially if you live in a hot, dry climate.
  • Use mild soap. It’s time to toss out those fragrance- and chemical-filled soaps that you may have used in your younger days. It’s more important now than ever to use soap that is gentle on the skin. Choose a fragrance-free, dermatologist recommended cleanser. Skip the loofah, too, and opt instead for a soft cloth.
  • Moisturize regularly. Ideally, you should moisturize just after you get out of the shower or bath using a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer. This restores your skin’s natural protective barrier and can alleviate dry, itchy skin. You should apply moisturizer throughout the day as needed.
  • Skip the hot shower or bath. While a nice bath can help relieve skin discomfort, ensure you are not taking hot showers or baths. The hot water can dry out your skin by stripping away natural oils.

Proper skincare can help your skin feel and look better, but skin disorders can still occur. You should be receiving regular skin cancer screenings after the age of 50. If you notice a problem with your skin, talk to your dermatologist as soon as you can. They can evaluate current meds, prescribe new ones, and provide you with strategies to alleviate any discomfort on the skin.

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