Did you know that November was National Healthy Skin Month? What better time could there be to focus on some of the skin conditions that older people suffer as they age? Obviously, we all know about wrinkles and the fact that they come with age – but what about some of the potentially dangerous and painful conditions that might cause serious problems for the elderly if they are not dealt with early?
This painful condition leads to blistering of the skin and is often brought on by the presence of the herpes zoster virus. It can last for up to one month and will often reoccur after you have got it once. This is very painful and can only be prevented by having a vaccination against the virus. Exposure to the virus is more common in older people, although the shingles may show up many years after exposure.
Anyone who has been bed bound for several days will understand that it is important to keep moving as much as possible, however the elderly find this very difficult and the resultant pressure on the skin can lead to bed sores. These are basically wounds that can become infected if not carefully cleaned and looked after.
The older we get, the more dry our skin becomes, making it increasingly important to use a good moisturiser all over our body. Elderly people stop producing oil and sweat and this is what causes the dryness. The scaly skin that can result from the dryness can become inflamed and itchy and can be extremely annoying and even painful for older people.
The blood vessels under the skin are much more fragile in older people and therefore even the smallest knock can lead to excessive bruising. Preparations that contain arnica can be used topically to treat this, but it is also important to try and prevent bruises as much as possible. Blood vessels can also be permanently damaged leading to capillaries and thread veins that show through the skin.
Skin cancer or melanoma is a huge problem for all ages, but the older we get the more likely it is that our moles will start to change and become cancerous. Older skin is also more vulnerable to the sun, so it becomes increasingly important to use sunscreen and to cover up. Regular mole checks are also a great idea and a regular visit to your dermatologist will put your mind at ease.
We believe in prevention when it comes to skin conditions – especially skin cancer, so we recommend a course of treatment that is ongoing well into your old age. Come and see us for a chat to see how we can help.