As we get older, we become more susceptible to skin conditions. Seniors are prone to a wide range of conditions that include bruising, dehydration, shingles, and fungal and viral infections. One of the common reasons for this phenomenon is that older skin is generally thinner, less elastic, and doesn’t have as much protection from the skin’s natural oils.
A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that nearly 76% of seniors aged over 70 had at least one skin condition that required treatment, with skin infections being the most common. Here are some of the most prevalent skin conditions in seniors and what causes them so you know what to be on the lookout for.
1. Dry Skin and Itching
Skin becomes thinner and less supple the older we get. According to some dermatology studies, over 50% of people over 40 have dry skin. A common cause is a reduction of sweat and oil gland function, which can lead to itching and irritation.
Dermatologists encourage seniors to moisturize using an appropriate ointment. A skin care doctor can provide a mild lotion suitable for your skin. If the skin is still dry, you can exfoliate your skin to remove any scaly build-up.
Shingles is a viral infection that develops from the same pathogen that causes chickenpox. It often appears on the sides of the torso. Shingles are accompanied by painful rashes that may develop as one set of blisters.
If you are over 60 years old, you should see a dermatologist at Mahoney Dermatology because seniors are at greater risk of complications from shingles. For instance, if shingles develop near the eye, it could potentially lead to a severe infection or may cause eye damage.
Seniors are also susceptible to Senile Purpura. As the skin becomes thinner, the blood vessels weaken. The condition triggers hemorrhages which appear as purple or red spots under the skin. After the spot has healed, it leaves a dark region on the skin.
Aging is not the only factor responsible for Purpura. Exposure to UV rays without skin protection can accelerate the development of the condition.
4. Melanoma and Skin Cancers
Skin cancer growth in elderly patients is another concern for dermatology professionals. Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma are the most common skin cancers found in senior patients. Early detection can reduce the risk of conditions such as melanoma by up to 50%.
It’s important not to ignore skin issues at any age. If you suspect that you may have something wrong with your skin, be sure to contact a professional dermatologist at your local dermatologist’s today.