4 Tips for Caring for Aging Skin
As we grow older, our bodies undergo an aging process that reduces the production of collagen and elastin in our skin. The result is skin that is a lot thinner and more sensitive. While this process is completely natural, it can have embarrassing or dangerous side effects if we don’t adapt to it.
For seniors, unaddressed aging skin can pose a series of problems. The best solution is to take as many precautions as possible before said problems have a chance to surface.
Here are 4 ways to care for aging skin so your loved one can stay comfortable all year long:
Seniors have a complicated relationship with the sun. On one hand, normal exposure to sunlight provides the body with much-needed vitamins, as well as to prevent psychological issues like depression.
On the other hand, there’s no natural factor that damages skin greater than the sun’s UV rays. Long exposure to UV rays doesn’t just weaken the skin, but can also cause age spots, discoloration, sunburn, wrinkles, and even skin cancer.
It would be counterproductive to insist that your elderly loved ones avoid direct contact with the sun altogether. Instead, they should make sure to lather on a high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen to protect their more sensitive skin from the sun’s negative effects.
Choose a sunscreen that’s SPF 50, but try to avoid any that contains a lot of alcohol, as this will only dry out the skin further. Instead, look for sunscreens that also act as a moisturizer to keep your loved one’s skin healthy and smooth. If you can, try to pick up sunscreens containing antioxidants as well. These protect and strengthen the collagen in their skin.
It should be simple, shouldn’t it? If something is too dry, you can prevent further problems by making it wet, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t how our skin works, and excessive bathing can be one of the bigger culprits to damaged aging skin.
Spending too much time in a warm shower can be problematic enough, but some seniors are physically unable to stand in such a small, slippery area without possibility of falling, so many take baths instead. While it can feel like a relaxing luxury in the moment, by lying in a tub for long periods of time, you’re severely drying out your skin.
This is not to say that bathing in and of itself is a life-threatening issue. Seniors can and should be able to wash themselves routinely in their baths for short periods of time. The types of soaps used should be mild, as many soaps can exacerbate the skin’s dehydration problem. Upon exiting the tub, a body lotion or moisturizer should be applied to keep the moisture in, strengthen the skin, and prevent severe dryness.
Hydration Is Key
For people of any age, the health benefits of water cannot be overstated enough! It delivers oxygen throughout the body, regulates body temperature, helps lubricate joints, boosts brain and body functions, prevents headaches, and so much more.
One of the biggest and most notable health benefits water can bring is to boost skin health and natural hydration. Your skin – like all of your organs – is made up of cells, which are made up of water. By drinking a healthy amount of water throughout the day (many experts say 2 liters), you’re strengthening your skin and preventing it from drying out.
This is incredibly important for our elderly loved ones, as their skin is already naturally weakened and, thus, more prone to dryness and dehydration. Add in the fact that we naturally lose large quantities of water throughout the day and you’ll understand why drinking water is so crucial.
Vitamin-Rich Meal Plan
Any elderly individual should already be on a more health-conscious diet; after all, it’s not just our skin that weakens as we age. To keep bones sturdy, hearts strong, minds sharp, and organs healthy, seniors should have a very wholesome meal plan consisting of fibers, proteins, and vitamins.
Speaking of vitamins, they are the biggest defense against skin damaged by age. The right vitamins won’t simply keep your loved ones feeling more energetic and focused, but also strengthen their skin, making them more resilient to bruises and skin damage.
A diet rich in Vitamin A (cod, avocados, broccoli, sweet potatoes) promotes skin tissue health, which prevents infection. Vitamin C (brussel sprouts, peppers, leafy greens, plums) strengthens collagen formation, which helps assist in the healing of skin wounds. Vitamin E (sunflower seeds, spinach, salmon) prevents damage to cell membranes, naturally strengthening the skin in the process.
Creating a vitamin-rich diet with a big glass of water is one of the best ways to keep your loved ones’ skin healthy throughout the aging process!
Senior Care Services in Frederick & Montgomery Counties, MD
At Advanced Nursing & Home Support, we know the ins and outs of the aging process, as well as how to consistently combat its effects to ensure a healthier, happier life. Our in-home care professionals can prepare meals for your elderly loved one, as well as provide medication management, assistance with personal needs, transportation, housekeeping, and more. Call us today for more information!