Common Skin Conditions In The Elderly

common skin conditions elderly skincare

Skin conditions are more common as people age and can be prevalent in nursing and long-term care homes. Paying close attention to bathing and hygiene, along with regular check-ups, can reduce outbreaks and improve the quality of life for patients. 

Dry, Itchy Skin 

The skin loses the ability to retain elasticity and moisture as you get older. Additionally, it becomes drier, thinner, and more delicate, which can easily lead to rough areas that are red and itchy. Compulsive itching of dry skin can increase the intensity and lead to infections from scratches. Also, pay attention to the weather; cool, dry conditions can increase dry skin. Make sure to apply moisturiser daily, with some areas needing more attention throughout the day, such as hands. To reduce dryness during cooler months, consider using a humidifier. Some bathing products can increase dryness, try and use mild cleansing products and take fewer baths or showers to keep skin moist. 

Age Spots 

Age spots are more cosmetic than medical. However, depression and anxiety increase at any age when patients feel embarrassed by their skin issues, including age spots that can be unsightly on the face, neck, arms, and hands. They appear as small, flat, dark areas on the skin that vary by size and can be tan, brown, and black in color. Once a medical practitioner determines they are age spots and not melanoma, treatments to lighten or remove them will proceed if needed. 

Skin Growths 

As long as they are benign and not cancerous, they're treated similarly to age spots, as a cosmetic procedure that a physician can remove if necessary. These occur from sunlight exposure over the years and vary by type. The most common are, 

● Seborrheic keratoses 
● Cherry angiomas 
● Stucco keratosis 
● Melanocytic nevus 
 Actinic keratoses 
● Blue nevus 
● Lentigo 
● Porokeratosis 

Bedsores 

Unlike aging spots and skin growths, bed sores are of particular concern because they can lead to further medical issues. Also referred to as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers, they're caused by long-term pressure on the skin from prolonged periods of bed rest. 

Bedsores are more severe than other conditions and occur in four stages. During the first stage, the sores are only on the upper layer of skin, but can still cause pain and itching and may feel different than the surrounding skin. If found during this state, treatment can prevent it from getting worse. During the second stage, there will be broken skin that has a blister-like appearance, and it is red, swollen, and painful. 

Treatment is necessary at this point to avoid infections. These can still heal but can take a few weeks. There are two more stages of bedsores, with the final one being the most serious and will require extensive medical care. 

To reduce your loved ones' skin issues and help them feel more comfortable, it's essential to have regular care from a geriatric specialist in Rock Hill that can identify problems quickly and start a treatment to clear up itchiness, prevent bed sores and remove unsightly skin growths and age spots to help them feel better about their overall appearance wherever they go.