Posted on Feb 27, 2020 in Healthy Aging
As you enter your golden years, skin issues are part and parcel of life.
Your skin becomes thinner as both the dermis and epidermis diminish.
With aging, skin also loses fat and vascularity while the supporting structures weaken. As collagen fragments along with the skin’s elastic fibers, skin becomes less able to heal and repair itself.
While many skin complaints are considered a normal part of aging, others can point toward underlying health problems.
Today, then, we’ll be outlining the following skin issues you can expect to encounter as you kick back and enjoy your retirement…
Wrinkles are arguably the most widespread skin issue afflicting the majority of seniors.
These lines and creases form in your skin following chronic sun exposure over the years.
Wrinkles are typically more numerous and obvious in smokers than non-smokers.
Heredity and skin type also impact how your skin will wrinkle over the years. Bottom line, though, you can mitigate wrinkling to a significant extent if you throw the cigarettes away and enjoy the sun responsibly.
As you hit your 40’s and 50’s, your skin becomes less and less elastic. As skin becomes less supple, so you’ll notice more movement lines, also known as laughter lines or worry lines, cropping up and giving your face some character.
These lines typically bisect the forehead from side to side. They also crop up around the nose, mouth, eyes, and upper cheeks.
As with wrinkles, the damage created by these lines is purely cosmetic. You’ve got nothing at all to worry about if your skin becomes creased with signs of aging. If you’d like to consider taking action against these signs of aging, take advantage of a wide range of wrinkle treatments.
How about dry skin, though? Is that a cause for concern?
According to MedScape, 75% of over 65s suffer from dry, flaky skin. By the age of 70, almost all adults are affected by dry skin.
Oil and sweat glands become less efficient with aging and the results of dry skin can trigger scratching that leads to possible skin infections.
The medical name for dry skin is xerosis.
Another medical term you might encounter if you investigate dry skin is pruritus. This is defined as an uncomfortable sensation in your skin prompting you to itch. Pruritus is sub-categorized as follows:
In rare instances, dry skin can point toward kidney disease, diabetes, or liver disease. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Here are some simple pointers to improve dry skin:
As you can see, most of the skin issues outlined so far are benign. Cancer, of course, can also be malignant.
Skin cancer starts out in the cells of the epidermis. This is the outer layer of the skin.
As you age, you’ll be susceptible to these types of skin cancer:
You should perform regular self-examinations and also attend regular check-ups with a dermatologist.
Specifically, keep an eye out for any of the following warning signs:
When checking for signs of skin cancer, the ABCDE mnemonic is often used:
Age spots, also known as liver spots, are another sign of sustained sun damage.
Larger than freckles, age spots normally appear on the face, hands, arms, and neck. If you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, this will protect you from both types of harmful UV rays (UVA and UVB rays).
Skin tags are flesh-colored growths with raised surfaces. From the eyelids and skin to the neck and chest, skin tags are harmless but can become irritated.
Eczematous dermatoses in seniors include:
If you’re concerned about any of the above, there’s no substitute for speaking with your doctor and getting a referral to a dermatologist. Skin infections can arise if cases of eczematous dermatoses are not properly managed.
More on infections, then…
Common skin infections for seniors include:
While many of the skin issues we’ve outlined today are harmless, any suspected infection needs prompt medical attention.
Infections tend to appear in inter-digital spaces like wrists, feet, elbows, armpits.
Treatment ranges from topical applications to antibiotics so make an immediate appointment with your healthcare provider if you suspect your skin has become infected.
Shingles is a skin condition affecting both the skin and the central nervous system. Accompanied by a painful and blistering rash lasting anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks, shingles springs from the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Painful enough anyway, if you get shingles when you’re older, you’ll be at heightened risk of infections along with ongoing nerve pain.
You should seriously consider preemptive vaccination against shingles. Your doctor can arrange this for you.
As you can see, your skin is prone to a broad spread of complaints as you get older, most of which are nothing to worry about. You should also be aware of some of the more pressing skin conditions and the importance of seeking medical guidance in the case of skin cancer or infections.
If you’re still concerned about any skin issues or are realizing you might need extra assistance in everyday life, feel free to get in touch with us here at Landmark Senior Living. We have five active senior living communities if you feel you would benefit from some assistance with daily tasks. Call us today and we’ll be happy to arrange a free tour of the most convenient community. You can also request a brochure here.