Everyone needs to protect their skin from the sun and seniors are more at risk. As we age, skin thins, becomes dryer, elasticity decreases, the skin can tear easily and the number of cells that produce pigment decreases leaving the skin pale and translucent (even skin of color). This causes the skin to be more vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays.
If you were brought up during an era where applying baby oil mixed with iodine was popular or thought because you had darker skin and did not think you needed sunscreen, today your skin may be leathery, dull, weather-beaten and showing signs of aging (sun spots or solar lentigines). Though we cannot erase the ravages of time, but here are some helpful tips to help protect what you have:
- Bathe or shower every other day to avoid dry skin and do not use extremely hot water.
- Moisturize daily (whether you bathe or not) to help the skin retain hydration.
- Avoid long exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible. We do need Vitamin D from the sun to stay healthy, but be sun savvy and wear a full spectrum sunblock and apply it often.
- Maintain good nutrition and drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause the skin to become fragile and not heal properly if an injury occurs.
- If you are diabetic, the skin is more prone to bacterial and fungal infections and the skin may be slow to heal.
- Do not use harsh soaps or astringents because they can over strip the skin and leave it dryer. Even hand sanitizers, as good as they are, can leave the hands dry. Apply a moisturizer after using a hand sanitizer to keep the hands soft.
To read more on this topic, click on the following link:
Knopp, L. (2013). Morning Star Publications, “Senior Care Connection: Summer Skin Protection for Seniors”. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from: