As a person gets older, his or her skin tends to become dryer, thinner, less supple and more sensitive. They are also more susceptible to skin disease and infections ranging from itching, cracking and scaling to dermatitis and ulcerations. Seniors often develop purplish spots on their arms and legs (Senile Purpura) due to the frailty of capillaries and blood vessels just below the surface. As a result, seniors skin needs extra care and protection, especially if they’ve grown up under the harsh Australian sun and have spent a lot of time outdoors.

Enjoy a Healthy Diet 

Everybody, including seniors, should eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These foods not only help the skin look better but also feel good.  Particularly helpful foods for the skin include: green vegetables, melons, berries, walnuts, salmon, and avocados.

Ensure You Drink Plenty of Water 

The sensation of thirst decreases in seniors, particularly in those over 85 years and therefore they are more at risk of becoming dehydrated. Drinking lots of water helps hydrate skin from the inside out, so remember to drink plenty of fluids every day.

Beware of the Sun 

The Australian sun will dry out the skin almost faster than anything else. Wear protective clothing when going out in the sun for extended periods of time for example a practical sunhat is particularly useful. Invest in a good sunscreen with a high SP factor and use when going outside on a sunny day.

Avoid Harsh Soaps and Excessive Washing 

Most seniors do not lead an overly active life and so do not need to vigorously scrub the skin on a daily basis. Frequent bathing and showering can actually aggravate dry skin. Washing the face with water or a mild soap is often sufficient. Purchasing a soft, mild bath soap is also a good idea, and make sure the bath water or shower isn’t too hot!

Use a Natural Moisturiser 

Choosing a good moisturising skin cream is a must. Such a cream should contain natural ingredients such as: vitamin A, vitamin E, aloecucumber extract and natural antioxidants.

Consider Using a Humidifier 

Cold, dry air saps moisture from your skin, which causes all kinds of problems, including dryness, dullness, flaking, and accelerated aging. A humidifier can help prevent all these damaging effects, and help you maintain soft and supple skin.

Keep an eye on your skin

Having spent a lot of their lives in the sun, many elderly Aussies are susceptible to age spots (also called liver spots), skin tags, Bowen’s Disease (a pre-cancerous skin patch) and skin cancers. BCC’s (basal cell carcinoma) and SCC’s (squamous cell carcinoma) are slow growing growths usually found on exposed skin – but can happen anywhere – while melanoma are aggressive cancers that can quickly spread to other organs and prove fatal.

Regular inspections of suspect moles and skin growths by a GP, dermatologist or skin specialist is highly recommended.

Finally, there’s the issue of skin tears. As they age, seniors are prone to these as their skin gets papery and fragile. The tears can be quite painful and nasty-looking, so if you or a senior you know are prone to skin tears, maybe a Home Instead CAREGiver can help.

Call 1300 008 018 now and our friendly staff will connect you to a CAREGiver who might have some helpful suggestions, based on their experiences.