Senior Living Care Blog

Skin Changes With Aging

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Jan 29, 2019 6:41:00 PM

There are a number of bodily changes as we age. Not only can our muscles lose strength, but our eyesight may worsen. For most people, skin becomes thinner, less fat, and no longer looks as plump and smooth as it once did. Similarly, the veins and bones can become more noticeable and prevalent. When you put enough miles on your body, the skin can start to wrinkle and dry out, blemishes like age spots may start to show as well. Cancer is even a risk for people who are used to being in the sunlight for a long time or have spent many years of their life sun tanning.


Despite these problems that are associated with aging skin, there are somethings that can be done to make the skin feel and look better. There are even a number of ways to protect the skin from further harm and changes.



Common Problems

Not all skin problems are deadly like skin cancer, some are just a mild annoyance. However, learning more about each of these problems, and ways you can treat them or prevent them, can be helpful.


Dry Skin

A woman applying lotion to her hand in order to prevent dry skin

One of the most common problems that older people suffer from as it relates to skin is dryness and itchiness. The dry spots will generally occur on the lower legs, elbows, and lower arms but can come up in other areas as well. Dry skin feels rough and scaly and has many causes. A few causes of dry skin include not drinking enough water, smoking, too much sun time, dry air, and stress. These are some outside, preventable causes, however, as we age, our bodies begin to lose sweat and oil glands, something that most people will have to deal with.


It is important to note that dry skin may also be an adverse health problem caused by other problems like diabetes or kidney disease. Consulting with your doctor or a medical professional may be beneficial.


Using moisturizers, taking fewer baths or showers, and using a humidifier can all be helpful in reducing dry skin.


Age Spots

Age spots, sometimes called liver spots, are a common problem for older individuals and are caused by years of sun exposure. The brown spots on the skin are similar to freckles and normally show up on the face, hands, arms, and back. Age spots are harmless but can sometimes become irritated, in which case it is best to consult a doctor about what to do.


One way to prevent the skin blemishes would be to use sunscreen that would protect the skin against two types of sun rays.



Wrinkles are a common feature on older individuals and is something that most people will have to deal with. As we age the skin becomes less elastic and things like the environment and exposure to UV light can increase wrinkles. Also, some habits, such as smoking, can also reduce skin elasticity.


Wrinkles are a normal feature of aging and while there many claims that are made about how to make wrinkles go away, most are incorrect. If you are worried about wrinkles, the best thing to do is reach out to a dermatologist.



Skin Cancer

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. There are millions of cases of skin cancer each year in the United States and the problem becomes more prevalent as we age.


The main cause of skin cancer is the sun, however, sunlamps and tanning booths are also known to cause skin cancer. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the most dangerous of the three. Melanoma is the most rare of the three types but can spread to other organs and prove to be deadly.


Checking the skin once a month for signs of cancer can be beneficial. Look for changes such as a new growth, or mole, or a sore that doesn’t heal. If you are noticing a blemish that is asymmetrical, changes colors, and is large, it would be best to see your doctor about the problem.



Keeping Skin Healthy

While skin cancer will always be a risk and things like wrinkles are nearly impossible to avoid, there are some things that you can do to take care of your skin and maybe reduce your chances of dealing with things like age spots and possibly cancer.


One easy way to avoid some of these issues is to limit time in the sun. The sun is one of the main causes for these skin issues. While you don’t have to completely avoid going outside, it may be helpful to avoid being in the sun during the times of day when the sun’s rays are the strongest. This, obviously, changes depending on the time of year.


However, if you are inclined to go out in sunlight, using sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher is your best bet. You will also have to use the sunscreen more often if you are swimming or sweating.

Wearing protective clothing when you are outside such as a large hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, and pants can help protect the skin against the sun’s rays.


Just being aware of the effects that the sun may have on the body is important and may make you change the way that you take care of your skin when you go outside.



Now What?

Growing old comes with many adverse health effects. One prominent one is the effect that age has on your skin, causing things like wrinkles, age spots, and even cancer in some cases. Dealing with these things independently may be difficult. However, there are many assisted living facilities out there that can help. At Landmark Senior Living, our staff is equipped with the tools and knowledge that you require to stay healthy and happy later in life. Be sure to reach out to our admissions staff if you have any questions or want more information.



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Topics: Healthy Aging

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