Skin Problems in the Elderly

As a person grows older, their skin will change dramatically. Most people are very familiar with the first sign of aging: wrinkles. The skin will become dry because oil and sweat glands slow down, and the skin will have less elasticity.

But just like other parts of the body, various factors influence the rate at which your skin will age. Sunlight takes a huge toll on the skin. It's important to wear sunscreen beginning at a young age. The person who spends years of their youth sunbathing will appear much older than the one who spent her youth protected from the harmful UV rays.

Hereditary and racial factors will also influence your skin's aging process, but protection from the sun and proper moisture will help reduce many skin problems.

One skin problem the elderly face is itching. External irritants most often cause itching. Ways to provide comfort from itching are:

If itching does not clear up within two weeks of trying the above suggestions, you may need to see a physician. You may have a more serious problem.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that causes loss of pigment in the skin. The condition itself is not physically harmful but often causes emotional damage. Vitiligo affects about one percent of the U.S. population and currently there is no cure.

Senile Purpura causes hemorrhages on the extremities and the purple color gradually fades and leaves areas of yellow-brown. The skin usually appears thin and transparent.

Other skin conditions include an increase in hair on exposed places such as the upper lip or chin. The hair in the ears and nose often become thicker and more apparent, and the eyebrows may grow thicker. Hair may turn gray or fall out. Men and women alike often use dyes to cover gray hair or treatments for thinning hair such as Rogaine. Your fingernails may also change as you grow older. Some people's become coarse and thick, others becomes thin and brittle.

All grow older; and can't stop the aging process. But there are ways to help relieve skin conditions. You can use creams or lotions to relieve dryness. The best are oil-in-water or water-in-oil mixtures. Most wrinkle creams don't really help much.

As mentioned before, sunscreen will help prevent overexposure to the sun. Hair can be removed in many ways, including shaving, waxing or tweezing. New products are being created every day to help with hair removal. Cosmetics can be used to mask some conditions, and some people will consider plastic surgery. Many types of common surgery are available to help reduce the signs of aging.

One important tip to prevent skin problems is to care for your skin while you are young. Drink a lot of water and avoid damaging products. Remember that the skin is the largest organ in the body. Care for it the same way you would your heart or brain. You'll have it for the rest of your life.

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