Skin Problems among the Elderly

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that the global population of people aged over 60 years will reach 2 billion in 2050. As the world grows towards an ageing population, we need to shine more light on elderly issues. Skin problems among the elderly is one of the common elderly-related issues. Little did we know that older skin is thinner, less elastic and less oily. This means cuts, scratches or bumps would take longer to heal for an elderly, other than having more visible veins and bones.

Here are some common skin conditions in the elderly you should know.

Common Skin Conditions in the Elderly

  • Dry and itching skin

The main cause of dry skin is the loss of oil glands that help to keep skin soft. It often occurs at the areas of lower legs, elbows and lower arms. 

  • Eczema

Marked by itchy and inflamed patches of skin, eczema often happens due to physiological ageing. Drier skin is more prone to eczema and there are certain types of eczema among the older people, such as atopic, seborrhoeic, discoid, varicose, photosensitive and asteatotic eczema

  • Wrinkles 

A familiar problem that many of us are aware of, wrinkles are a natural part of ageing. It is most prominent on sun-exposed skin, such as the face, neck, hands and forearms.

  • Bruises 

Older people bruise more easily than younger people as our skin and blood vessels become more fragile as we age. It is a form of skin injury that results in a discoloration of the skin. Bruises take place as blood from damaged blood cells deep beneath the skin gets collected near the surface of the skin.

  • Age spots and skin tags

Age spots are flat, brown spots (bigger than freckles) often caused by years in the sun; skin tags are small, usually flesh-coloured growths of skin that have a raised surface.

  • Bedsores

Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers. The problem develops from pressure when one sits on a chair or lies in bed for a long or extended period of time.

  • Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells which most often develop due to sun exposure and sun damage. However, it may also occur on areas of your skin that are not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.

Essentially, it is important to note that skin conditions are also dependent on several other factors such as diet, lifestyle, genetics, and other personal habits. Nevertheless, some skin problems may also have no known or apparent causes.

Common Causes of Skin Problems​

  • Bacteria trapped in skin pores and hair follicles
  • Fungus, parasites, microorganisms living on the skin
  • Viruses
  • Weakened immune system
  • Illnesses affecting thyroid, immune system & etc
  • Genetics

Also, do not fret when coming across skin disorders as they are extremely common in the older individuals and it is possible to treat them in an early stage.

Common Treatment for Skin Problems

  • Use milder soap
  • Use medicated creams, ointments and moisturisers such as lotions
  • Limit time in the sun and avoid tanning
  • Wear protective clothing and sunscreen
  • Prescription medications

All in all, are elderly-related problems should not be taken lightly including skin conditions as they may be indicators or warnings to bigger health problems. Hence, check your skin regularly and talk to your health professionals if irritation or other symptoms are prolonged.

The information above is meant for educational purposes only. Please seek professional advices from your healthcare providers for detailed explanations.

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