Updated: Apr 22
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it undergoes a number of changes as we age. As you age, you may notice that your skin is drier, thinner, and less elastic than before. Additionally, age spots and wrinkles become more common. While these changes are natural, there are a few things you can do to help keep your skin healthy. By taking care of your skin, you can help to keep it healthy and prevent problems down the road.
Take Brief Showers
While it’s important to keep your skin clean, you can benefit from taking a gentler approach. Vigorous scrubbing can damage delicate skin, so it’s best to wash with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. And while a relaxing soak in the tub might sound inviting, too much time in the water can strip away natural oils and lead to dehydration. Instead, you should limit yourself to brief showers or baths. Some simple changes to your bath time routine can reduce skin problems like dry skin:
Use a fragrance-free soap or body wash that is gentle on the skin and contains moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin and hyaluronic acid.
Use warm water instead of hot water as the latter can strip your skin of natural oils easily.
Use a soft cloth instead of a bath brush.
Keep bath times between five to ten minutes.
After bathing, apply a moisturizer meant for dry skin within three minutes.
Moisturizing your skin on a daily basis can help to keep it hydrated, healthy, and prevent cracking. In addition, moisturizers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. With a wide variety of moisturizers available on the market, you can experiment to find one that works best for your skin type.
In addition, it's important to make sure you're getting enough fluids every day. When your body is dehydrated, it doesn't have enough water to plump up your cells and keep your skin looking firm and smooth. Drinking plenty of water is a great start, but you can also get fluids from other sources such as fruits and vegetables, soups, and herbal teas. Just make sure to avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices, which can actually contribute to dehydration. By following this tip, you can keep your skin looking healthy well into your golden years.
Stepping outside on a sunny day can feel invigorating, but it's important to be careful about how much sun exposure you get. Too much sun can cause skin damage, and older adults are particularly susceptible to the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Your skin becomes thinner and drier with age, making it more fragile and less able to repair itself after damage. As a result, you should take care to stay out of the sun during peak hours of daylight and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when you do go outdoors. With simple precautions, you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is crucial aspect of skincare, especially as we age. But did you know that it can also improve your skin? That's right, getting enough sleep can help seniors maintain healthy, vibrant skin. Sleep allows the body to repair and regenerate the skin cells so that it looks healthy and refreshed. Lack of sleep, however, can lead to dull, tired-looking skin, and even exacerbate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sleep is also essential for regulating stress levels, which can have a significant impact on the skin. Chronic stress can trigger the release of cortisol, a hormone that can break down collagen and elastin, two essential components of healthy skin. This can lead to sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Getting enough sleep can help regulate stress levels and prevent the release of excess cortisol.
Moreover, sleep is crucial for reducing inflammation in the body, which can also affect the skin. Inflammation can lead to a host of skin issues, including acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. By getting between seven and nine hours of sleep, seniors can achieve the look and feel of healthy, glowing skin.
Eating a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is important for people of all ages, but it is especially crucial in your golden years. A diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants can help to keep your skin healthy and prevent some of the common signs of aging. Vitamin C helps to boost collagen production, while omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E can also help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Including these key nutrients in your diet can maintain your skin integrity as you age.
However, if you’re living alone or require some help with moving around, cooking healthy meals may be a challenge. Consider moving into senior living where all your meals will be taken care of. What’s more? The culinary team can develop a meal plan specially for you, so you’ll get all the nutrients you need for healthy-looking skin.
Adopt a Simple Skincare Routine
Your skin produces less oil as you age, which can lead to dryness. Also, your skin cells turnover more slowly, making it harder to repair damage. That's why it's important to adopt a skincare routine that is simple and tailored to your specific needs. One way to simplify your skincare routine is to focus on cleansing and moisturizing. Cleansing helps to remove dirt, debris, and makeup from the surface of the skin. Moisturizing helps to hydrate the skin and protect it from environmental damage. Another way to simplify your skincare routine is to use fewer products. If you're using a lot of different products, it's hard to know which ones are actually effective. Stick with products that have proven results. And don't be afraid to ask your dermatologist for recommendations.
Use a Humidifier
As you age, your skin is more prone to conditions that can further contribute to dry skin, such as eczema and psoriasis. However, there are steps that you can take to help improve this condition. One simple but effective measure is to use a humidifier when the air feels dry. By adding moisture to the air, humidifiers can help to prevent the evaporation of natural moisture from the skin. This can reduce itching and redness while also making the skin less vulnerable to cracking and infection. It’s a simple way to help get healthier skin.
Wear Protective Clothing before Heading Outdoors
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to protect our skin from the sun's harmful UV rays to maintain healthy skin. Although sunscreen is an effective tool, wearing protective clothing can provide an additional layer of defense against the sun's rays. Sun-protective clothing offers UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings that indicate the level of protection provided against UV radiation. Clothes with a UPF of 50+ offer excellent protection, blocking up to 98% of UV radiation from reaching the skin.
Fortunately, many clothing items offer UPF protection, including long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses. Some brands even offer specialized clothing with built-in UPF protection, such as swimwear, athletic wear, and everyday clothing. These clothes are typically made from tightly woven fabrics that block UV radiation and come in a variety of styles and colors.
In addition to protecting against harmful UV radiation, wearing protective clothing can also help seniors avoid the harmful effects of sunburn, i.e., redness, pain, and peeling.
Household chores such as gardening and laundry mean you need to expose your skin to sunlight, harsh chemicals, or other substances that can irritate or dry your skin. Here’s where a pair of gloves come in handy. They prevent your skin from coming into contact directly with detergent or other chemicals.
Smoking can have a negative impact on skin health, particularly as people age. It can cause premature wrinkles, fine lines, and dryness, and increase the risk of skin cancer. Smoking narrows blood vessels, reducing blood flow and depriving the skin of essential nutrients, leading to dull, uneven skin tone and loss of elasticity. The good news is that quitting smoking can have a positive impact on the skin's health and appearance. Within just a few weeks of quitting smoking, blood flow to the skin improves, and the skin becomes better oxygenated and nourished. Over time, wrinkles and fine lines may start to fade, and the skin may appear brighter and healthier. So, if you're a smoker, quitting smoking can not only improve your overall health but also your skin's health and appearance.
Visit a Dermatologist
Consulting with a dermatologist is a crucial aspect of maintaining optimal skin health, especially for seniors. Dermatologists are medical professionals who help patients diagnose and treat various skin, hair, and nail conditions. Regular check-ups with a dermatologist allow seniors to obtain professional advice on how to care for their skin effectively.
Dermatologists can identify abnormalities in your skin during an appointment.
These issues may be indicative of a more severe condition such as skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, and seniors are susceptible due to prolonged sun exposure throughout their lives. A dermatologist can conduct a comprehensive skin examination and offer tailored recommendations on preventive measures to guard against such skin problems.
In addition to skin cancer, a dermatologist can diagnose other age-related skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, fine lines, and wrinkles. They can also provide guidance on how to care for sensitive or dry skin. If you are concerned about chronic skin conditions like acne or hyperpigmentation, consulting with a dermatologist is recommended. You can learn how to avoid triggers that may exacerbate these conditions.
If you can no longer keep up with household maintenance or prefer to live a life without having to clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, or pull out weeds, perhaps it’s time to consider a senior-friendly retirement community. The best retirement communities provide outstanding housekeeping services which will handle all the cleaning for you. And this also means more time for fun and rest, which both gives you healthier skin!