Skin concerns by seniors in Joliet

No matter what, skin ages because of too much cold weather, too much sun, and too many years. Most people make a point of taking care of their skin, using moisturizers and creams to keep inevitable damage at bay as long as possible. But as aging takes place, skin dilemmas happen to nearly everyone.

According to the Mayo Clinic wrinkles happen due to many years of ultraviolet rays and gravity. The skin becomes less elastic and subsequently sags and wrinkles. Habits like frowning and smoking can cause wrinkles around the mouth.

Seniors are prone to dry skin which is rough and scaly skin that appears on the lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. A few causes of dry skin include:

  • Dehydration due to not drinking enough fluids
  • Staying in the sun for long periods of time
  • Being in very dry air
  • Smoking
  • Experiencing stress
  • Losing sweat and oil glands which happens naturally with age
  • Some health problems like diabetes or kidney disease
  • Using excessive amounts of soap, antiperspirant, or perfume
  • Taking hot baths

Dry skin can lead to itching, bleeding, and infection. It can also contribute to sleep problems. Such problems can be treated by medication, so it is encouraged that one seek medical attention before itchy skin leads to more serious conditions. Men and women can also use lotions and ointments, take fewer baths, use milder soap, use cooler water when bathing, or use a humidifier in order to treat dry and irritable skin.

Age spots, which are sometimes referred to as liver spots, are brown spots that can appear on the hands and body. They are harmless signs of years of sun exposure.

Skin tags are flesh-colored growths of skin that can grow anywhere, but the neck is a likely spot.

Although these age spots and skin tags are harmless and are simply due to aging, it is important to alert the doctor as it may be difficult for those without medical training to discern between these and irregular growths. A dermatologist can remove both of these types of growths if they are bothersome.

With age, men and women can bruise more easily and take longer to recover from bruising. Seniors with excessive bruising should see a doctor.

Psoriasis. This skin condition is marked by a rapid buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells that form thick scales.

Thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormones, reduces the activity of sweat and oil glands, leading to rough, dry skin.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and is mainly caused by exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or UV light in tanning booths. People with fair skin are more at risk for developing skin cancer. If diagnosed early, skin cancer can be cured.

According to SeniorAdvice.com , some ways to prevent skin conditions are as follows:

  • Sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the brightest, should be limited. Cloudy skies or staying in water does not mean you are not being exposed. UV rays travel through these translucent surfaces to reach the skin.
  • SPF15 sunscreen and higher should be reapplied at least every two hours with long periods of sun exposure.
  • Hats and sunglasses can help protect the face and eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Purposefully exposing the skin to direct UV rays without protection is discouraged.
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