Skin Care in Elderly

Dr. Mubashar Mashqoor Mir
As we age, our skin undergoes numerous changes that affect its appearance and function. The skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic, and it may also develop wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes. These changes make proper skin care especially important for the elderly population. general measures for skin care in elderly.
Cleanse your skin gently:
The first step in maintaining healthy skin is to cleanse it gently. Use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser that does not strip the skin of its natural oils. Avoid harsh soaps and hot water, as they can cause dryness and irritation. If you have sensitive skin, look for a cleanser that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Moisturize regularly:
As we age, our skin becomes drier and loses its natural moisture. To combat this, it’s important to moisturize regularly. Use a moisturizer that is specifically formulated for your skin type, and apply it immediately after showering or bathing to help lock in moisture. Use a good moisturizer that preferably contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin, which help to hydrate the skin and restore the natural barrier function of the skin.
Protect your skin from the sun:
One of the most important steps in maintaining healthy skin is to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The sun can cause wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes, as well as increase the risk of skin cancer. To protect your skin, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply it regularly throughout the day. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, and avoid being outside during peak sun hours (between 10 am and 4 pm).
Stay hydrated:
Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, but it’s especially important for maintaining healthy skin. When we are dehydrated, our skin can become dry and dull-looking. Aim to drink good amount of water a day, and consider adding more water-rich foods to your diet, such as fruits and vegetables.
Quit smoking:
Smoking can cause numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease, but it can also have a negative impact on your skin. Smoking can cause wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes, as well as decrease the skin’s ability to heal. If you are a smoker, consider quitting to improve your overall health and the health of your skin.
Get enough sleep:
Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, but it’s also important for maintaining healthy skin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our skin can become dull-looking and we may develop dark circles or bags under our eyes. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to help keep your skin looking its best.
Manage stress:
Stress can have a negative impact on your skin; it can even help in precipitating acne, eczema, and other skin problems. To manage stress, consider practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Make time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy, and try to maintain a positive outlook on life.
Use products with gentle ingredients:
As we age, our skin becomes more sensitive and may react to harsh ingredients that it used to tolerate. Look for products with gentle ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, and oatmeal. Avoid products that contain alcohol or fragrances, which can irritate the skin.
Don’t forget about the neck and chest:
When it comes to skin care, many people focus only on their face, but the neck and chest can also show signs of aging. Make sure to apply moisturizer and sunscreen to these areas as well, and consider using products specifically formulated for the neck and chest.
Stay active:
Regular exercise is important for overall health, but it can also have a positive impact on your skin. Exercise increases blood flow to the skin, which can help nourish and rejuvenate it. Just be sure to shower and cleanse your skin after exercising to remove any sweat and bacteria.
Consider using a humidifier:
As we age, our skin becomes drier and may benefit from additional moisture in the air. Consider using a humidifier in your home, especially during the winter months when the air tends to be drier.
Stay up-to-date on vaccinations:
Certain infections, such as shingles, can have a negative impact on your skin and overall health. Stay up-to-date on your vaccinations to help protect your skin and immune system.
Take care of your nails:
As we age, our nails may become more brittle and prone to breaking. Keep your nails trimmed and moisturized, and avoid using harsh nail products that can damage the nail bed.
Get regular skin checks:
Regular skin checks are important for detecting any potential skin problems, including skin cancer. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about how often you should have a skin check, and be sure to report any changes or abnormalities in your skin.
Overall, taking care of your skin in later life requires a combination of prevention, protection, and treatment. By following these tips and being proactive about your skin care, you can help keep your skin healthy, vibrant, and youthful-looking as you age.
(The author is Consultant Dermatologist, Asst. Professor ASCOMS Medical College)