As we age the skin’s natural protective barrier becomes less effective. When exposed to irritants like shower gels, washing powders and soap, it becomes dry and flaky. However, you can avoid many of the horrible symptoms that are common in ageing skin by using a few simple skin care strategies.
To make sure that the skin’s barrier is as effective as possible, focus on maintaining a healthy skin.
What is healthy skin?
A complex mixture of fatty acids holds together the skin cells. The skin’s structure becomes unstable when there are not enough of these fatty acids. Irritants can penetrate through the skin more easily. Skin becomes dry due to water loss from the skin surface. To maintain a healthy skin structure there are two key ways.
Firstly, avoid skin irritants like soaps and shower gels. Excessive use of soap can lead to dryness and itching, and skin may become sore. It may also lead to break down of the natural fatty acids.
Two of the main irritant culprits are soaps and detergents. Skin will become dry when you use bubble baths and normal perfumed soaps. Older people should avoid these things. From a chemist you can buy soap substitutes. They will not make the skin dry but will moisturize it.
Washing-up-liquid, fabric conditioners, laundry detergents, and cleaning products will also irritate the skin. While using these substances use protective gloves.
Always use a moisturiser
Secondly, always apply a moisturizer, especially after a bath or shower. It is important to find one that suits you from the dozens of products available in the market.
For very dry skin greasy ointments can be helpful but for every-day use most people find them too sticky. Creams are more cosmetically acceptable as they have a good ability to moisturise and are usually the best bet.
Lotions are a bit less effective as they will get easily absorbed because of watery consistency. Pharmaceutical graded unperfumed products are the best for older people. They are easily available in pharmacies.
Look for products with pump dispensers as they are easy to use and cleaner. After a shower or bath apply a moisturiser. In fact, whenever the skin becomes dry you need to apply moisturizer.
Avoid vigorous rubbing but gently apply moisturizer on the skin. Give it a few minutes to absorb into the skin.
Older people suffer from itchy skin. When the skin becomes dry it can become itchy. It could also be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. Avoid itching and use moisturisers to keep itchy skin at bay.
When an individual is not distracted or occupied itchy skin will become worse. Itching causes anxiety and feeling anxious can make itching worse. It is a vicious cycle. A strategy to avoid this is to focus on something else by keeping busy. You can lessen the impact of itchy skin by using moisturizers. If the condition is getting worse, it is best to consult a dermatologist.
Look after crevices and cracks
And finally… it is very important to take care of skin in crevices and cracks. The dark, moist and warm environment makes certain areas like under skin folds and between toes vulnerable to fungal infections. Drying of these areas and careful cleansing are vital.
Skin breaks when there is a fungal infection and this can lead to more dangerous infections.
Whilst a fungal infection is more of a nuisance than anything, it can lead to breaks in the skin and this may result in more serious infections. Use a hair dryer instead of a towel to dry hard to reach areas.
With proper care older people can maintain a healthy skin.