How to take care of dry skin of the elderly

Dry skin in the elderly brings various problems, such as redness, irritation, roughness, cracking, peeling, and more chances of bruising, among others.

And even though the skin aging process is common, There are steps that can be taken to reduce these symptoms. and reduce the appearance of dryness. In this article, we will learn how to take care of dry skin in the elderly and which factors we should avoid, as they are the ones that contribute to the worsening of the problem.

Signs of dry skin in the elderly

Age-induced dryness can affect different skin types equally. This, in turn, can be seen more prominently in certain areas, such as the lower legs, elbows and creases.

During this skin aging process, certain changes occur in the different layers of the tissue. For example, the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer, it loses its ability to effectively store moisture.

For its part, the dermis loses elasticity and density, due to the decrease in collagen production, either due to aging fibroblasts or a lower level of mechanical stimulation. And in the deeper layers, adipocytes (fat storage cells) are reduced in size and quantity.

As a result, the following signs can be observed:

  • Wrinkles.
  • Itching.
  • thinner skin
  • Spots form.
  • Moisture loss.
  • Cracks and flaking.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.

Factors that increase the dryness of the skin

Aging and dryness of the skin in the elderly, as well as the aforementioned symptoms, will be much more intense and evident if other factors are added. Some are preventable, so we tell you so you can take it into account.


I agree with you Education, Dry skin is one of the most frequent ailments in diabetic patients (50%), followed by hyperkeratosis or thickening of the outer layer (33.5%). On the other hand, in one 2015 revision Dry skin and itching are said to be among the symptoms of kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis.

Skin of diabetic woman.
The skin of older people with diabetes suffers more than that of those without the disease.

hormonal disorders

Hormonal changes associated with age can also have a major impact on the appearance of dry skin in older adults. In the case of women, with the onset of menopause and declining estrogen levels, the production of elastic fibers is impaired.

Sun exposure

Excessive exposure to sunlight it is associated with the development of various skin diseases. A relationship has even been established between ultraviolet (UV) radiation and skin cancer.


The lack of adequate hydration, in the sense of consume few liquids during the day, it can make your dry skin problem worse. Not just in the elderly.

Cosmetic and hygiene products

Excessive use of soaps, deodorants, perfumes and some creams can contribute to dryness. Furthermore, when the pH of the products is higher at 8, it affects the skin’s natural oils.

genetic predisposition

Factors associated with racial component can make differences in terms of aging and age-induced dryness. According to some people Education, the stratum corneum of blacks has more layers of cells than that of whites. Therefore, the impact of environmental factors may be less in dark skin tones.

other factors

There are other possible reasons dry skin can get worse:

  • Fatigue.
  • Smoke.
  • Live in places with very dry or cold air.
  • Take frequent dips in the hot tub.
  • Drugs such as antihypertensives, diuretics, corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, antineoplastic and retroviral drugs.

How to take care of dry skin in the elderly?

Second research, dry skin care in the elderly must be comprehensive and include various strategies, such as the ones we will see below.

Moisturize and hydrate

On one side, we have to improve the fluid intakedrinking at least 2 liters of water a day. Although this can vary from person to person. Likewise, the presence of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet should be increased.

Instead, the use of topical moisturizing products (creams or gels) is recommended. Preferably, these should be applied after bathing to help retain moisture.

Beware of hygiene products

You need to be careful with hygiene products, as dry skin is sensitive, some reactions may occur. As, it is recommended to avoid alkaline solutions, perfumes, dyes and some chemicalssuch as triclosan, parabens, formaldehyde and oxybenzone.

Avoid cold, dry air

You need to avoid anything that makes your skin dry out more. Therefore, If we are in an environment where the air is very dry, we must get a humidifier.

Also, in the summer when the environment is very hot; or conversely in winter, when the temperature drops; precautions must be taken to avoid upsetting the water balance.

Reduce sun exposure

It has already been said that excessive exposure to the sun can be harmful and that the skin of the elderly is usually more sensitive. But to this we have to add that the effect of ultraviolet radiation is cumulative. The longer we are exposed, the greater the risk of developing melanoma.

Therefore, when going out into the street, certain measures should be taken:

  • Avoid hours of greatest sunlight intensity.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Put on glasses and a hat.
  • Wear clothing that covers and protects.
  • Walk in the shadows
  • Don’t tan, even with tanning lamps or tanning beds.
Wrinkles due to skin aging and dry skin.
Taking care of dry skin will improve the appearance of wrinkles, as collagen production will be boosted with these recommended measures.

Avoid hot water

Whether it’s taking a shower or bath or washing your face or hands, too hot water should be avoided, as it can make the skin drier. Cold water is preferable and, if it is winter, lukewarm, but without exceeding 40 °C.

take care of food

Diet is also important when it comes to dry skin care in the elderly, since a diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the effects of oxidative stress.

In this sense, among the recommended foods for dry skin are the following:

  • With lots of water: watermelon, melon, orange, grape, tomato, cucumber, onion.
  • Rich in beta-carotene: spinach, carrot, pumpkin, bell pepper.
  • With high vitamin B content: meat, eggs, dairy products.
  • Rich in zinc: oysters, sardines, pumpkin seeds.
  • With good sulfur content: asparagus, garlic
  • Sources of omega 3 fatty acids: fish, shellfish, nuts.

When to go to the doctor?

With age, the skin may show some changes in terms of texture or general appearance. However, there are some signs that need to be taken into consideration. For example, itching or redness that lasts over time.

Similarly, although they can be easily formed, it’s important to pay attention to bruises that have no apparent reasonespecially those found on parts of the body covered by clothing.

Conversely, moles, spots or marks should be evaluated according to the ABCDE system:

  • TOsymmetry: the parts of the brand appear different from each other.
  • b.orders: if they are irregular.
  • c.smell: whether it has changed.
  • d.diameter: more than 0.5cm.
  • ANDevolution: grows, changes shape or appearance over time.

If these or other symptoms appear and there is also bleeding, you should visit a doctor to rule out a possible cancerous formation.

The post How to take care of dry skin in the elderly first appeared in research-school.



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