While scientists often refer to it as the largest organ, dermatologists state that it is our natural defense against UV rays, bacteria, and pollution. The biggest challenge people with breakage prone skin often face is the lack of protection against fungal and bacterial diseases. That is the very reason why people with eczema (chronic dryness of the skin) often suffer from secondary infections around the patches of dry skin. Chronic dryness can occur due to genetic factors, environmental factors, lifestyle choices and age-related problems. Studies show that older people face dryness of skin quite often.
Why does old age interfere with good skin?
Healthy skin is akin to a well-constructed brick wall. The cells are close to each other, with almost no gap for even water molecules to pass through freely. Water should only escape through sweat glands in the skin and not the skin itself. Fatty acid molecules occupy the area between these “bricks” or skin cells like cement between the bricks. Without the presence of these fatty acid molecules, the skin cells lose their adhesive power and they tissue loses the integrity. When that happens, moisture can easily escape the system and irritants can easily enter the inner layers of the tissue through the breaks.
Older people are often prone to deficiencies of necessary fatty acids that keep the skin supple. This can be due to their dietary choices, the lack of fatty acid boosting mechanisms in the body and due to the wear-and-tear, their skin has accumulated over the last couple of decades. Old people and their cells lack telomerase. In simplest words – it is a very important cellular enzyme; whose work is to keep living systems young. The onset of old age and old age-related symptoms almost always start with the lack of telomerase. Scientists have recently discovered the role this enzyme plays in the maintenance of skin integrity. As people grow older, their skin surface can become rougher, drier and more prone to breakage. The lack of telomerase enzyme complex can slow down the tissue regeneration and new skin production process significantly. Thus, giving rise to a myriad of skin problems in the older generations including aberrant itching, redness, rashes, secondary infections, soreness and chronic dryness.
How can you treat and prevent age-related skin problems?
As people grow older, they become more prone to the drying effects of regular soap and detergents. These are the first-grade irritants that can exacerbate sporadic itching and redness. This is a case of contact dermatitis that you can avoid by simply wearing gloves while doing the laundry or washing dishes. Even regular skincare soaps and bubble baths can cause contact dermatitis or allergy-like itching in older persons. Therefore, unless it is necessary, do not risk get your hands into soapy water or detergent. You can find several soap substitutes that dermatologists and scientists have developed exclusively for older, sensitive skin. Couple these extra soft skincare soaps with drugstore firming lotion and moisturizing lotion to get the best moisturizing effect.
You have to start treating your moisture boosting cream and lotion as youngsters treat their mobile phones. Carry them wherever you go and check if you need a reapplication every hour. Now, the best way to keep your skin hydrated, non-wrinkly and healthy is by applying super heavy moisturizing agents whenever you get the chance. However, most people do not like that simply because they are greasy and a lot of dust sticks to it throughout the day. Most dermatologists, as well as beauty experts, prefer the use of moderately heavy emollients multiple times a day. Lotions can be ineffective for those with chronic dryness. You need to check out pharmaceutical grade emollients for satisfactory results in case of recurring dryness and contact dermatitis.
The best time to use any moisturizing product is immediately after a bath or a shower. Since you probably use some cleaning agent during the shower, your skin cells lose the moisture after drying. Rubbing your skin dry with a towel often makes the dryness problem worse. Pat dry your skin with a soft cotton towel and seal all the moisture in with an emollient. Applying the moisturizing product immediately after a bath helps to lock in a lot of moisture and prevent dryness throughout the day. Always remember NOT to use your face cream on other parts of your body. The skin on your face is softer than any other part, and the moisture level in a face cream will not be sufficient to hydrate your hands, back or your legs. It also helps significantly to leave a little extra moisturizer on the skin instead of vigorously trying to rub it all in. Good moisturizers, lotions, and emollients always sink into the skin within the next 1 to 2 minutes.
What are the main skin problems people usually face as they mature?
Excessive dryness of palms and feet
As people grow older, their palms and their feet start becoming rough and discolored. This is a result of years of abuse on the skin and the protection they have provided against sharp objects and the sun. Although, our system replaces skin almost every day, in cases like these, the replacement is fast enough to counter the action of environmental stress. You can experience a lot of relief from the untimely itching, redness, and sensitivity by investing in good collagen boosting and hydrating skin creams. Several pharmaceutical companies are coming up with hand and foot creams for the elderly that boost hydration, prevent bacterial and fungal infection, soften the cuticles and remove dead skin cells from the surface. Most importantly, the restore the youthful softness of your skin returning the relief that comes with it.
Age spots on the face
Another problem that plagues the elderly is the “liver spots.” In reality, these spots of hyperpigmentation have nothing to do with the function of the liver. Years of absorbing the UV A and UV B rays of the sun usually give rise to these unsightly spots at the most inconvenient places. Although it comes as part and parcel of old age, it is not correct that it only occurs among the elderly. Due to constant exposure to the relentless sun, some young beachgoers and outdoor workers are experiencing the development of premature age spots on exposed areas of their body. Now, these are quite harmless on their own, and only subsequent exposure of these age spots to the naked sun can cause further irritations.
You can prevent the occurrence of these to a certain degree by the use of broad-spectrum sunscreens. However, the cheaper drugstore sunscreens are sometimes not enough since they do not cover all weather conditions, they do not counter sweating problems, and they cannot withstand exposure to water. Therefore, you need to check if your sunscreen has UV A and UV B protection and SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin. The possible way of removing them is through the use of chemical peels or dermabrasion or laser removal technology. You should only seek the help of an authorized, experienced and well-recommended dermatologist to take care of the age spots. If you are not comfortable with surgeries or cosmetic procedures, opt for a great moisturizing (cream based) concealer from a reputed brand that blends right in with your skin and provides hydration at the same time. Yes, some brands cater to the necessities of the experienced folks, and you should invest some time in researching their products for the perfect smooth finish.
Skin tags everywhere
Skin tags in older people are another very common yet annoying problem. Since they predominantly occur on the eyelids, armpits and neck regions, a lot of people refrain from wearing sleeveless clothing or stepping out without shades after a certain age. Although the cause of skin tags is unknown, they rarely cause any physical discomfort. Thankfully, the complete removal of skin tags is possible, and they do not usually come back in the same place after removal. A dermatologist usually recommends the removal of skin tags if they come in the way of daily activities or you end up irritating them often. Irritating skin tags on a regular basis can lead to secondary bacterial and fungal infections. Therefore, in these situations, doctors often prescribe freezing, snipping and burning these skin tags to remove them completely. These procedures do not hurt, and they do not require general anesthesia. They are not even invasive and even simpler than most dental procedures.
Old age is the time to pamper yourself and enjoy the finer things in life. So, why don’t you start with your skin? After years of protecting you from the sun and preventing the entry of microorganisms into the system, it deserves some extra care. Throw out your harsh soaps and replace them with pharmaceutically approved cleaning agents. Invest in a good emollient rather than a cosmetic lotion. Get the new moles, tags and age spots checked out by a good dermatologist. Keep your skin happy, to look younger forever.