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Senior Conditions

Senior Conditions

Aging skin comes with a unique set of challenges. In fact, as many as 50% of Americans over the age of 65 develop at least one skin cancer over the course of their lives. Our staff has extensive experience in seniors dermatology, successfully treating skin cancer, dry skin, actinic purpura (bruising), seborrheic dermatitis and other conditions common to seniors.

Older people undergo psychologic, physiologic, and anatomic changes that affect all organ systems including the skin. The elderly are the fastest growing age group in the US. By 2050, it is estimated that 23 percent of Americans will be over age 65, and of these about 25 percent will be older than 85.

Many studies have demonstrated that skin disease is more common in the geriatric population than in the general population. One study revealed that 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 years had a cutaneous disease significant enough to warrant treatment by a physician. Patients older than 74 years old are even more likely to develop significant skin diseases.

Your skin changes with age. It becomes thinner, loses fat, and no longer looks as plump and smooth as it once did. Your veins and bones can be seen more easily. Scratches, cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal.

The Treatment

What is the best treatment for 70 year old skin?

As experts in seniors dermatology, we recommend that you wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing bar soap, cleanser, or body wash. Doing so will help soothe rather than dry your skin. Moisturizing ingredients that can help reduce dryness include ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and lanolin. Use warm (not hot) water and don’t scrub or exfoliate your skin. Over-washing and oversoaping  can lead to dryness.

Why does wound healing get harder as we age?

When you skinned your knee as a kid, the scrape healed on its own with little more than a bandage and mom’s TLC. Now that you’re older, wounds can take much longer to heal — sometimes many months. The body’s capacity to repair the skin diminishes as we get older. There aren’t as many growth factors and stem cells in the skin. Chronic disease, especially blood vessel disease, and malnutrition can also slow the healing process.

What causes flaky skin in elderly?

As skin ages, increased transepidermal water loss leads to dry skin (xerosis) and reduced barrier function. Dry skin is often itchy and prone to dermatitis. Repeated scratching can lead to chronic wounds and infections, particularly on the lower legs and especially if treatment is delayed

What condition causes itchy skin in the elderly?

Chronic itch, especially in the elderly, is frequently a symptom of xerosis (dry skin), which can be caused by atrophy of the skin barrier and diminished hydration. Other common causes in the older population also include dermatoses, such as eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, urticaria, and bullous pemphigoid. Medication can also cause itching.

Can Crepey skin be reversed?

Crepey skin is more than an aesthetic issue. Thin, fragile skin can more easily bruise, break open and bleed. While crepey skin can’t be entirely reversed, there are steps you can take to make your skin firmer and smoother

Why is my skin so itchy? 

Many patients over the age of 65 complain of itch (pruritus). Itching can be attributed to normal maturity and physiological aging. Extrinsic changes result from  UV exposure, cigarette smoking, environmental factors, and exposure to irritants. There are also  concomitant biological changes that occur in the skin including decrease of the epidermis, dermis, and subcutis, as well as immune system changes. During  the aging process, many epidermal skin changes occur such as  decreased elasticity, decreased skin surface lipids and hydration, and decreased skin density and responsiveness.

There are a number of dermatological and metabolic conditions which can contribute to  pruritus, including xerosis and other skin conditions. Other contributors to itch  include drug therapy, psychological causes, and many systemic diseases. Underlying metabolic conditions that can produce pruritus include renal failure, HIV, diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, parathyroid disease, hypervitaminosis A, iron-deficiency anemia, neuropathy, hepatic disease, malignancy, and drugs.

Additional management suggestions include the following:

  • Reduced frequency of bathing with lukewarm (not hot) water
  • Minimal use of a nonirritant soap such as CeraVe soap, 
  • Avoidance of harsh skin cleansers
  • Apply moisturizer of choice directly on skin that is still damp
  • Avoid friction from washcloths, rough clothing, and abrasives
  • Use air humidification in dry environments

Prevention is Key

Prevention is still the best medicine. At The Art of Skin Dermatology we encourage prevention of skin problems in our elderly patients by emphasizing screening and early detection. Sun safety remains important for older patients, and it is impossible to over-emphasize the need for proper nutrition. Adequate nutrition is fuel for the skin which needs all the support it can get to keep it running smoothly.

It is important to  exercise, practice  good nutrition, and protect against obesity, smoking, alcohol, and sun abuse. 

A crucial way to protect our patients’ skin health is to detect an illness early, while it is still easy to treat. At The Art of Skin Dermatology, we encourage our “seniors dermatology” patients to have annual skin examinations. During our visits, we teach our patients to be good observers of their own bodies and health.

We are part of your health care team 

Great, thorough patient care requires cooperation and communication among the dermatologist, primary care doctor, internist, psychiatrists, plastic surgeon, endocrinologist, home health care, and other medical caregivers. The team approach also includes your receptionists, schedulers, medical assistants, nurses, and residents that can each elicit information, identify potential problems, and strive to meet special needs. 

It is important that the dermatologist and staff be overtly caring and offer social support to the elderly patient.

In certain instances it may be important for the Dermatology team to communicate with other relevant physicians before, during, and after certain  surgeries and procedures. For example, anticoagulant agents should not be discontinued at any point without the express permission of the physician who recommended them.

In general, it is not advisable to discontinue anticoagulants given for disease management rather than routine age-related prophylaxis (i.e., a baby aspirin a day), even if the managing physician is amenable. The dermatologic surgeon bears the burden of deciding whether the risk of bleeding outweighs the risk of a catastrophic cardiac, pulmonary, or cerebrovascular event secondary to interruption of anticoagulant therapy. As the team manager, the derma-surgeon is responsible for making sure all members of the team are working from the same playbook.

Videos & Testimonials

Tania is very thorough and answers any questions you have. She always makes you feel comfortable and you leave knowing that if you need her you can email her anytime.

Amy W.

High regards for Art of Skin. Very positive experience. Special thanks to Nicole G., PA-C, for her sensitivity, patience, sense of humor and medical expertise.

Annie C.

Time was taken to answer every question. I never felt hurried and the wait to be seen was minimal. All my concerns were addressed and the overall experience was one of caring about me as a patient. Would absolutely recommend to everyone.

Sue J.

Excellent!!! From the second you walk in, you know you made the right decision to use their services.. highly recommend.

Nando P.

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