Promoting Healthy Skincare For Seniors
May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. For this reason — and with summer fast approaching — it’s the perfect time to address the importance of proper skincare for seniors.
Fine lines and wrinkles are unavoidable — but they’re also completely natural. A proper skincare routine is an essential aspect of healthy aging, and while taking care of your skin might not stop the wrinkles, it can keep it glowing and healthy.
Skin problems occur at every age, but older adults are particularly susceptible to issues like itching, dry skin, bruising, age spots, skin tags, melanoma, and more.
However, a regular skincare regimen goes a long way to ensure your comfort and wellbeing and is relatively easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
What Older Adults Should Know About Melanoma
Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in the U.S. Every day, specialists diagnose 9,500 new cases, and roughly one in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Although the figures are shocking, skin cancer is highly preventable — and treatable. And with more awareness initiatives, the number of diagnoses can fall, which is why Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month is so important.
The Difference Between Skin Cancer And Melanoma
- Skin cancer,
which is most often caused by excessive U.V. exposure from the sun or tanning beds, is an abnormality in the skin cells that results in continuous growth, leading to malignant tumors caused by DNA damage.
- Melanoma, which typically develops as a brown, blue, or black tumor — although some are white, pink, or tan. This form of skin cancer develops in a melanocyte cell, which produces a dark pigment known as melanin. Melanoma causes more deaths than any other type of skin cancer — about one American per hour.
Risk Factors For Melanoma
It’s important to realize that anyone can develop melanoma. However, there are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person developing this disease, including:
- Family history
- Fair or pale skin that is prone to freckling
- Individuals with multiple moles or moles that are large or uneven
Causes Of Melanoma
- UVA and UVB rays: 90% of diagnoses are associated with overexposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or tanning beds, which increase the chance of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
- Moles: Being mindful of any new marks or moles that appear on your body is crucial to recognize melanoma before it progresses further.
- Genetics: You can be predisposed to melanoma if you carry a mutated gene. Knowing your family’s history is important to protect yourself from this disease.
Signs Of Melanoma
- Unusual or atypical moles
- Asymmetrical moles
- Variations in existing moles
- Irregular edges around the mole
- Multicolored moles
- Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser
Although this form of cancer is prevalent, it is highly preventable. The following tips will keep your skin healthy and lower your risk for melanoma:
- Daily sunscreen
- Avoid sunburns
- Wear SPF 50 or higher
- Stay in the shade when possible while outside
- Don’t use tanning beds or sun lamps that emit U.V. rays
- Assess your skin each month
- Schedule a yearly skin exam with your physician
The Skin Cancer has provided a guide for at-home skin assessments. Because it spreads so quickly, it’s essential to take your monthly self-check seriously.
Relieve Age-Related Skin Problems With Healthy Skincare For Seniors
Make sure to discuss these common age-related skin issues with your doctor if they worsen or impact your quality of life.
Itchy, Dry Skin
Older adults often experience dry patches on their skin, particularly on the lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. These spots, which can feel rough or even scaly, can arise for several reasons:
Inadequate water consumption
- Overexposure to sunlight or tanning beds
- Excessively dry air
- Reduced sweat and oil glands, which frequently occur with aging
Certain medications and health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease also cause these dry patches. Furthermore, frequent washing, antiperspirants, perfumes, and hot water (even for baths and showers) can exasperate this issue.
To relieve dry and itchy skin:
- Moisturize daily
- Use milder soaps for washing
- Reduce how often you bathe or shower, and use warm — rather than hot — water
- Use a humidifier
The older we become, the longer it can take for these contusions to heal. Consequently, you might notice that your skin bruises more easily than when you were younger. Additionally, some prescriptions and physical conditions can make you more susceptible to developing bruises.
Skin loses its elasticity over time, and different environmental factors can accelerate this loss. U.V. light, gravity, drinking, and smoking can all lead to wrinkles.
While staying hydrated and moisturized won’t stop wrinkles and fine lines from happening, but it does help the appearance of your skin.
Skin Tags and Age Spots
Those little brown spots appear on your skin after a lifetime of sun exposure. Age spots are generally larger than freckles and typically appear on the face, hands, arm, back, and feet. Regular sunscreen use can help stop these spots from forming.
Skin tags are small, skin-colored skin growths that feel like bumps on the surface of your skin. They often develop with age, particularly in women, and can show up on the eyelids, neck, armpits, chest, and groin.
Easy Ways To Promote Healthy Skincare for Seniors
Maintain A Balanced Diet
Consuming diverse foods that are high in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals promote every function in your body, including healthy skin formation. Eating right facilitates faster skin repair and reduces sensitivity to bruising and other harm.
- Avoid skin damage and infections with vitamin A
- Promote faster wound healing with vitamin C
- Protect cell membranes from damage with vitamin E
Drink Plenty Of Water
Of course, hydration is crucial for staying healthy no matter your age. Water helps remove toxins and moisturizes your skin, which prevents dryness and itchiness.
There are thousands of products aimed at skincare for seniors. But for older adults, moisture-rich soaps and lotions are important.
Avoid excessively washing your skin, as it can aggravate the tissues and lead to further dryness.
Additionally, humidifiers are an excellent way to retain moisture, especially during colder months when the air is dry.
Apply Sunscreen Regularly
A little bit of sun is healthy, especially since it is a natural source of vitamin D. But too much of it can damage your skin and lead to long-term health problems and chronic conditions, including skin cancer.
Older adults, in particular, should exercise caution when outdoors because their skin is more vulnerable to harmful U.V. rays.
- Apply SPF 50 or greater
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure
- Wear protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses, or long-sleeves
Some medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity. For this reason, make sure to take another look at your prescriptions to make sure.
Routinely Check For Skin Cancer
Be aware of new blemishes or spots that appear on your skin and call your physician right away if they seem out of the ordinary.
Meetcaregivers Supports Healthy Aging
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Contact us at 1-888-541-1136.
No senior should go hungry, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of current events, we created a free food delivery program for Boston’s elderly population.
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We update our blog every Monday, so check in regularly to find new and helpful information about senior care.
- AMG, Scripps. “Skin Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need to Know About Melanoma.” Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups, Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups, 8 May 2018, scrippsamg.com/parents/skin-cancer-awareness-month-need-know-melanoma/.
- “Healthy Skin Tips for Seniors.” In Home Personal Services, 13 Apr. 2018, www.ihps.com/healthy-skin-tips-seniors/.
- “Skin Care and Aging.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging.