As we come full on into summer, skin care is on our minds. Regardless of age, skin care is important, but as we grow older, it becomes even more so. The cumulative effects of a life well lived in years of sun can’t be undone, but good skin care can start at any age.
Our skin changes over the years and the things we did in the past may not work as well, even if we have taken good care of our skin along the way. Our skins thins and provides less cushion between muscles, bone and the outside world. It’s also susceptible to more overall dryness and damage.
Common issues for mature skin
While a number of these are common and just a matter of age, there are some conditions that we need to look out for:
Itching, dry skin and/or peeling (Dermatitis) Dry skin can be common, especially in winter, but when dry skin turns itchy or begins to peel or flake, this could be early signs of dermatitis. Extreme itching can lead to infection. In rare occasions, dry, itchy skin can be a sign of deeper internal, medical conditions.
Skin growths (Tags, moles) These are most common as we age and are usually nothing to be worried about. However, it’s best to always keep an eye on any new growths (or for changes in existing ones) and have them checked by a doctor, just to be on the safe side.
Wrinkles No one loves these, but by far these are the least to worry about, medically.
Age spots (also known as “liver spots”) While many of us do not love the little brown spots that pop up all over our bodies as we age, they usually aren’t a sign of anything serious. As with skin growths, you do want to keep an eye on any spots that seem to change shape over time, increase in size or have raised “edges”. See a doctor if any of these changes occur.
Skin disorders such as shingles (herpes zoster) Anyone over the age of 53 should be getting a shingles vaccine where available. Speak with your doctor or local pharmacy for more information about the vaccine.
Important skin care routines
Nothing can undo the damaging effects of the sun, but steps can be taken to care for the skin you have now:
Moisturize (often and all-body)
This is the number one skin care tip that you can provide for yourself. Time, sun exposure, wind, heat and many other things take a toil on our skin. Look for moisturizers that are scent free (or only lightly scented) and that are very hydrating. The more natural the product is, the better. Here is a really terrific list of quality moisturizers for mature skin.
Don’t forget to apply to you whole body, those arms, legs, feet, shoulders, back and rest of your body need to be hydrated too.
Regardless of age, sunscreen should be the one thing we all do before walking out the door. It’s also changed greatly from the days of being heavy and smelly. Have a look here for a list of sunscreens that work well for mature skin.
Change bathing habits
Frequent, long or even hot showers can irritate skin. Avoid long, hot baths and swap them out for more tepid, brief showers. Completely understandable if you don’t want to stop soaking in your tub altogether, but turn the water temperature down and stay in a little less time. Hot water can strip the skin of oils that protect and keep the skin drier than you want it.
Change from a body scrubber to a washcloth
Many women and men alike use body scrubbers, such as loofahs or abrasive sponges thinking this is good skin care. Even natural products that are abrasive can wear on the skin over time. They can even irritate mild skin conditions, when unneeded.
If you don’t smoke, or have already quit, congratulations! If you’re still smoking, even quitting now will improve your skin’s chances. Many people may not connect smoking with skin care, but click here to see the affects of smoking on the skin (and not just the skin on your face).
Change to a natural soap or cream cleanser
Skin care routines tend to center around cleansers. Stop using “general” bar soap and switch to natural (more gentle) soaps or better yet, cream cleansers. This one is also for your whole body, not just your face. Find some terrific gentle body washes here.
Drink lots of fluids
Hydrating, while important for our overall health, is also very important for skin health. Our bodies consist largely of water, so think of it as moisturizing from the inside.
Small changes to your skin care routine can make a big difference for the overall health of your skin.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
*No information in this article is to be taken as medical advice. This post is not sponsored, but may contain external links to websites, articles or product examples. External links are used for example or refence purposes only and these links do not indicate specific product or website endorsement by CareGivers of America.