Elderly Skin Health
You can help to keep your loved one’s skin healthy and at less risk from damage. Maybe you’ve already found a daily skin care routine for them that suits their skin’s condition and sensitivity. In any case, you might find it helpful to learn more about caring for their delicate skin.
How skin changes
You may have noticed how your loved one’s skin has changed over the years. As we age, our skin naturally loses fat and is no longer as smooth as it once was. It becomes thinner and weaker. Scratches, cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal.
Various factors can damage skin over the long-term:
- health condition
- dry air
- not drinking enough liquids
- years of sun tanning
- changes in skin condition can also be as a result of poor nutrition
Also, with age, the skin produces less of its natural protective oils. That can lead to wrinkles, dryness and age spots.
All of those factors put an elderly person’s skin at risk of damage. Which is why you need to protect your loved one’s skin from incontinence as much as you can. If unchecked, urine and/or feces could damage it. Areas most in need of protection are near the hips, genitals, and between the pelvis and rectum (perineal skin).
Protecting delicate skin
There’s a common skin condition affecting elderly incontinent people (Incontinence associated dermatitis, IAD). It’s called perineal dermatitis, and it produces a rather unpleasant rash. It happens when skin has too much contact with the moisture and chemicals in urine and feces. As a result, the skin becomes irritated and breaks down.
The good news is, you can help to protect your loved one from it. Or, if they already have it, help improve the condition so that they feel and look better.
Finding the right products
When your loved one wets or soils her/himself, be sure to clean them with a gentle cleanser (not normal soap, which dries out the skin). Also apply a moisturizer and a skin barrier or protectant.