With growing older, our bodies and our skin undergo a number of changes. These changes may be big or small, but they are imminent. The way you’ve been previously leading your life (i.e. your lifestyle) will have a major impact on the way age shows on your skin. Your personal habits (such as drinking, smoking, taking various substances, etc), your diet, heredity and your overall lifestyle are determining factors in your skin’s “destiny”.
What are the Main Factors Contributing to Skin Damage?
One of the main and maybe even the strongest factor that directly influences skin damage is sun exposure. The reason skin gets damaged from the sun is due to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is known to break down elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin which then causes sagging, stretching, wrinkling resulting in the skin becoming blotchy, occasionally with pre-cancerous growths and even skin cancer.
Other than sun exposure, there are other factors contributing to skin again like:
– Daily facial movement (i.e. smiling and frowning)
– The loss of fatty tissue between your skin and muscle (subcutaneous support)
What are the Skin Changes that Accompany Aging?
– Bruising easily from decreased elasticity
– Dry or roughened skin
– Thinned or transparent skin
– Loose facial skin, especially cheeks, jowls (jawline) and around the eyes
– Benign growths such as cherry angiomas and seborrheic keratoses
– Bruising easily due to decreased elasticity
What are Common Skin Conditions in the Elderly?
The most common skin conditions that come with age are age spots, wrinkles, bedsores, dry and itching skin, facial movement lines and ultimately skin cancer.
“Age spots” is not a clinical terms but it is often and widely used. It is seen in form of brown(ish) spots and patches that usually appear on sun-exposed parts of the body, most commonly the face, forearms and hands. In some men and women, the spots may appear in early age (in their 40’s) while in other they are not apparent till the age 60.
This most visible and most feared (exclusively for aesthetic reasons as wrinkles aren’t a pre-syndrome of any disease) aging skin sign, is the result of chronic sun exposure as well as the loss skin flexibility. Smokers tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers, although much depends on one’s genetics.
Bedsores (i.e. pressure ulcers)
Pressure ulcers develop from an extended period of applied pressure from sitting in a chair or lying in bed for long periods of time. This “condition” is pretty common for elderly people who have troubles moving on their own. Due to their poor circulation and decreased feeling in their skin, people with diabetes are more prone to bedsores than other elderly. Frequent re-positioning or rotation helps prevent bedsores.
Dry and Itchy Skin
Dry, flaking skin is a frequent problem in adults, especially the elderly. The main cause of dry skin is loss of oil glands which help to keep the skin soft. While itchy and dry skin may be a sign of kidney disease, diabetes or liver disease, this is rarely the case.
Facial Movement Lines
Commonly known as “worry lines” and “laugh lines”, this “skin condition” becomes more visible as the skin loses its elasticity. This happens in the person’s late 40’s or 50’s. The lines may be vertical above the nose, horizontal on the forehead, or curved on the upper cheeks, temples and around the eyes and mouth.
UV radiation, i.e. sun exposure is the most common cause of pre-cancers and ultimately skin cancer, either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
What are the Best Treatments for Skin Conditions in the Elderly?
Each of the skin conditions has its way of being softened, if not cured altogether. Depending on your skin type and the level of your skin damage, as well as the results you are looking to achieve, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with a dermatologist at Concept Cosmetic Medicine, as this way you’ll get best medical advice and won’t further damage your skin with unsupervised treatments.
Is There a way to Prevent these Conditions?
Plenty of these are genetically conditioned but they also depend on your lifestyle. What you can do that will mildly soften your skin damage is:
– Avoid the use of tanning booths and sunlamps
– Use sunscreen when outdoors
– Examine yourself regularly for “changing moles” and new growths.
This guide is a light insight into the most common skin changes. In case you notice sudden and rapid changes on your skin, don’t shy away from visiting your dermatologist.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
What is one thing that you learned from this article on skin problems for elderly?