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Maintaining Healthy Skin

Apr 05 2019

By Matthew Boyle

Everyone knows that the body changes as we age, however, sometimes the skin is overlooked as a part of the changing body. Skin is one part of the body that changes quite a bit as we get older. For example, it becomes thinner, loses fat and no longer is as smooth as it once was. Similarly, the veins and bones are more noticeable, and scratches, cuts or bumps take longer to heal. This territory comes with aging and years of suntanning and being out in the sun in general. This leads to wrinkles, skin dryness, aging spots and even cancer.

However, there are methods that you can take to protect your skin against some of these symptoms. Many common ways for protecting the skin, include limiting time in the sun, using sunscreen regularly, avoiding tanning beds and tanning in general, and wearing protective clothing, like hats and sunglasses.

Protecting The Skin

One of the most common skin ailments is dry/itchy skin. Dry skin often affects the lower legs, elbows and lower arms with rough and scaly patches. Not drinking enough liquids, smoking cigarettes and stress can all contribute to dry skin. There are many medications that cause itchy skin, if you are experiencing itchy skin talk to your doctor about prescriptions. Using moisturizer like lotion, taking fewer baths and showers and using a humidifier can all be effective in reducing and managing dry skin.

As the skin ages, it becomes more susceptible to bruising and can take longer for those bruises to heal. If you are experiencing unexpected or unexplainable bruising, speak with a medical professional as it may be caused by medication.

Wrinkles are a common skin effect for older individuals. As we age and are more exposed to sunlight, it, along with gravity, causes the skin to become less elastic and wrinkle. While those problems are essentially unavoidable, there are other ways to prevent wrinkles, most notably is smoking. Overall, smoking is a habit that is horrible for your health, while older individuals may think that quitting at this point in life is unnecessary, this is not true. Quitting smoking can lead to a number of health benefits, even at a late age.

Aging spots, also referred to as liver spots, are flat, brown areas on the skin that are caused by years of exposure to the sun. While these are common and hard to avoid, using strong sunscreen can help protect the body against the sun’s rays and can be effective in preventing more age spots.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States and is primarily caused by exposure to the sun. Sunlamps and tanning booths can cause skin cancer as well. Anyone is at risk of getting skin cancer, but people with fair skin are the most at risk. The problem is curable if it is found before it spreads to other parts of the body. There are three types of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma is the most-rare of the three but is also the most dangerous. Melanoma can quickly spread to other organs and become deadly. It is important to routinely check the skin for signs of skin cancer. Keep an eye out for new growths or sores that are slow to heal.

About The Author

Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top-rated senior living communities in the midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.