It becomes thinner and drier over time, making it more susceptible to infection and diseases. Your skin may also injure more easily and can take longer to heal. These changes can lead to certain skin conditions that you should be aware of.
You may notice that your skin bruises more easily than it used to. These bruises may even appear without any noticeable injury. As your skin thins and your blood vessels become more fragile, these types of bruises become more common, but are generally not a cause for concern. Painful or large bruises, however, may need medical attention if they do not heal within a few days.
Skin cancer is another concern that’s especially serious for seniors, as your risk of developing skin cancer increases with age. According to the National Cancer Institute, 40 to 50 percent of all Americans over the age of 65 will develop skin cancer. Pay attention to the warning signs—such as new or unusual skin growths and large or growing moles—and talk to your doctor right away if you notice any possible symptoms.
While some changes in your skin such as wrinkles and age spots are a normal part of getting older, you can still make adjustments to your daily routine to help protect your skin. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your skin looking and feeling its best:
- Remember to moisturize. Moisturize your skin daily—including your face—to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Using a moisturizer can be especially beneficial after you shower and are still damp, as it helps seal in the moisture.
- Stay hydrated. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking enough liquids throughout the day. Trying drinking an extra glass or two of water first thing in the morning and see how it affects your skin.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Sun exposure not only contributes to wrinkles, but it also puts you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Wear an extra layer to protect your skin when spending time outside, and remember to apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Take shorter baths and showers. While a short shower helps to hydrate your skin, longer showers—over 10 minutes—can start to strip away the moisture in your skin. Hot water can also remove the natural oils from your skin, so try to limit your time showering in extremely hot water.
- Try a humidifier. Using a humidifier—especially in the cold winter months—can help to combat the dry air in your home.
Your lifestyle, eating habits, genetics, and other habits can all affect how your skin changes over time. Take these simple precautions to keep your skin as healthy as possible as you age.
Remember, if you have suspicious moles or growths, or have concerns about skin conditions, you should visit a dermatologist for a complete skin check-up.
This article first appeared in the February 2018 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.