The skin undergoes many changes throughout one’s lifetime. For older adults, however, these changes become very noticeable. When you age, the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) thins, pigment-containing cells diminish, and connective tissue weakens. Even blood vessels become more fragile. The risk for skin injury and other conditions is especially greater in seniors. They’re so common that over 90% of all older adults have some type of skin disorder. Since aging skin repairs itself more slowly than younger skin, it’s important to give it delicate care and attention.
Choose mild skincare ingredients
Skincare should be part of any grooming routine, particularly for seniors. Skin grows more sensitive as you age, it’s best to avoid harsh and abrasive ingredients. While it may get overwhelming to go through a long list of ingredients, it’s essential that you do.
For one, you want to avoid soaps and cleansers with toxic and synthetic ingredients such as formaldehyde, resorcinol, and synthetic fragrances. These can weaken your skin barrier and have negative health consequences. Choose cleansers with natural ingredients instead, such as natural aloe extract that helps naturally disinfect and clean the skin.
When it comes to serums and moisturizers, look out for gentle yet effective ingredients like rosewater, shea butter, linden blossom extract, and other flower extracts. These would easily penetrate, strengthen, and rejuvenate sensitive aging skin. Additionally, you should also swap out sugar scrubs and cleansers with beads as those may make your skin more susceptible to sagging. Use a soft washcloth or sponge to cleanse your face and neck instead.
Use sun protection
Skin cancer often appears in later decades of life. Older adults over the age of 60 should be doubly diligent with using sun protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that these individuals can expect to live two more decades on average. Within that time frame, they’re vulnerable to skin cancer.
Cancer researchers highly recommend that older adults stay in the shade as much as possible, especially from 10 am to 4 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest. Whenever you go under the sun, it’s ideal to cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and clothes that cover much of the skin. And, of course, put on sunscreen. Take special care to protect one of the most sensitive parts of your skin, too, which is right under your eyes.
You can do this by wearing protective sunglasses and doubling up on vitamin-infused eye cream. Not only is this part of your skin extremely sensitive, but going out under the sun can cause you to squint too, causing wrinkles around your eyes. This is a great way to supplement a skincare routine that already contains natural protective ingredients like grape seed extract and other naturally derived vitamins.
Focus on hydrating your skin
The key to keeping your skin supple and youthful is hydration. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. It also helps prevent cracking and itchiness, common in aging skin.
Moisturizers come in different variants: masks, creams, and gels. Whichever you prefer, ensure that it’s fragrance-free. Several artificial scents are actually harsh on the skin and may cause irritation. But that doesn’t mean that your skincare products can’t have scents. In fact, most all-natural products have a mild and refreshing scent. For one, you can pick up a moisturizer with natural extracts and ingredients like cucumber. Cucumbers are especially effective in boosting skin hydration, reducing wrinkles, and repairing skin damage. It leaves you feeling and looking rejuvenated. Moreover, the skin can benefit from drinking lots of water. It helps flush out toxins and helps promote blood flow into the skin.
Skincare is more than just about the products you use, it’s also about building healthy habits to support the skin. It becomes more important as you age and start to experience skin changes.
Article was specially written for Heliotrope by Alison Butler.