Skin changes with age because of a natural decrease in the production of beneficial proteins called collagen and elastin. Years of exposure to sun and harsh weather conditions can also take a toll on skin, and other changes to skin cells can contribute to increased health risks as well. Fortunately, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) offers some suggestions that can help seniors enjoy healthier skin. Here are six of them.
1. Wash & Moisturize Skin Regularly
Aging skin cells need sufficient moisture and clear, unclogged pores to remain healthy. A simple way to achieve this goal is by gently washing the skin every day with warm water and mild soap. A fragrance-free moisturizer can also keep senior skin sufficiently hydrated. It’s also best to avoid harsh soaps, alcohol-based products, and heavily scented moisturizers.
Seniors with mobility limitations or health issues may find it difficult to care for their skin properly. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
2. Be Smart about Sun Exposure
According to the Cleveland Clinic, aging skin is less efficient at producing vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, which is why some regular sun exposure may be good for older adults. However, sun can also damage skin and contribute to discoloration, wrinkling, and an increased risk of certain types of skin cancer, which is why seniors are advised to be smart about sun exposure by:
• Avoiding direct sun exposure when the sun’s rays are strongest (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
• Using broad-spectrum sunscreen with a suitable SPF (15 or higher is commonly recommended for older adults)
• Being cautious even on cloudy days
3. Avoid Smoking
Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke takes oxygen out of skin cells, and nicotine affects skin pigmentation and health by reducing blood flow. Collagen and elastin levels can also be affected by smoking. These are just some of the skin-related reasons seniors who smoke should ditch this habit.
4. Drink More Water
Older skin is less capable of maintaining moisture. While using moisturizers can certainly help with this problem, drinking more water is equally good for skin cells. Water also ensures a steady flow of nutrients to cells within the skin.
5. Eat Nutritious Foods
Even minor nutritional deficiencies can contribute to skin irritations and rashes and affect the overall health of skin cells. Fortunately, this is a problem seniors can correct by eating more nutrient-rich foods with known skin health benefits. Some foods recommended for this purpose include:
• Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids
• Avocados, which are full of vitamin C
• Walnuts and sunflower seeds, which are both good sources of an assortment of nutrients
• Carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and other foods with high amounts of beta-carotene, which helps with the conversion of vitamin A, a nutrient that promotes new skin cell growth and minimizes dry skin
A home caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Flower Mound seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
6. Get Routine Skin Evaluations
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cites research suggesting older adults are experiencing increased rates of skin cancer. This is one of the most serious reasons for seniors to have regular skin evaluations. A dermatologist can also recommend treatments for itchy or dry skin for older adults looking to keep their skin healthy later in life.
Skin care is just one of the many everyday tasks that can be challenging for some seniors. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Flower Mound senior home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (972) 468-6010.