by Charles “Ebbie” Alfree III, Director of Advancement
Keeping our skin healthy is vital to our overall well-being, especially since it is the body’s largest organ.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “Your skin is the organ that comes into contact with the rest of the world. It holds body fluids in, preventing dehydration, and keeps harmful microbes out—without it, we would get infections. Your skin is full of nerve endings that help you feel things like heat, cold, and pain. If you couldn’t feel these things, you could get badly hurt and not even know it!”
As we age our skin becomes thinner and less supple, which causes us to take longer to heal from cuts and scratches. Seniors most commonly suffer with dry skin, bruising, skin infections, pressure sores and bed sores, blemishes, viral skin disorders, and skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests seniors consider the following for maintaining their skin health and looks:
- When bathing use warm, not hot, water; instead of using bar soap, use a gentle and fragrance-free cleanser or emollient; use a soft cloth in lieu of a bath brush; and keep showers and baths to 10-minutes.
- Use a humidifier in rooms with dry air.
- While gardening and/or performing housework, wear gloves. Some products can irritate skin.
- When going outside, use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, try to stay in shaded areas, wear sun protective clothing.
- Refrain from using products that have a fragrance.
- Have regular skin cancer exams by a dermatologist.
In addition, Parent Giving also suggests seniors should stay hydrated, avoid hot and dry places, apply a gentle moisturizer after showers, and not to smoke.
If a skin issue doesn’t heal in a reasonable amount of time or if the issue is causing serious pain or irritation, immediately seek professional guidance.
Printed in the Daily Local News on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.