June 29, 2021

5 Evidence-Based Elderly Skin Care Tips for that Youthful Look

Written by: Maki Palad, M.D.
Reviewed by: Mubashar Rehman, PHD

Aging skin is a common concern for most individuals. When you reach the age of 60, you will experience wrinkles, sagging of the skin, and dryness, which are just some of the visible signs of aging. These are results of the several changes that your body goes through as you age, and it is related to both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors [1].

Intrinsic aging is due to the different physiological processes that every individual inevitably goes through [1]. Like any other matter in the world, there is always a determined end. On the other hand, extrinsic factors are more variable and controllable as this includes your sun exposure, amount of pollution, and even your diet and sleeping habits [1]. The skin, being the largest organ in the body and makes up about one-sixth of your weight, obviously becomes the most visible indicator of aging. The interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic aging ultimately results in skin damage.  

 

1) Avoid too much sun exposure

 


Dermatologists recommend that applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF30 or higher every day can protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun [
2]. About 90% of visible skin aging is related to the effects of sunlight [1,3]! This is more noted in individuals who have less natural protection from radiation. Fair-skinned individuals are associated with lower levels of melanocytes and a greater risk for sun damage. Although visible signs of aging are unlikely to be reversible, it is still important to protect yourself from damage to prevent new age spots from occurring [2]

 

2) Moisturize your skin and bathe less frequently

 


Dry skin is very common in old age, and skincare over 60 is still extremely vital. Sebaceous glands produce less oil when you become older, making it more difficult to keep the skin moist and supple [
1]. Taking a bath more often and longer can lead to dry skin. Moisturizers such as emollients or humectants help to trap water in your skin and delay water loss. It also adds softness to your skin, avoiding dryness that can lead to itching. 

 

3) Use soft cloths and protective wraps

 

The skin is made up of layers that serve as a barrier from harmful substances. As you age, the integrity of the skin layers is compromised due to decreased cell turnover and reduced recovery rate; hence, older individuals have thin and fragile skin [4]. Use soft cloths and gentle skin cleansers when bathing. Friction support in the form of protective wraps, especially in parts where there is more pressure, is also helpful. Try applying adhesive dressings on the elbows or heels, to avoid friction rubs from prolonged immobility and repetitive motion.  

 

4) Avoid smoking

 

Cigarette smoking is the second greatest external factor in skin aging next to sun exposure. It has several harmful effects not just to the skin but also to the different vital organs of the body. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and deprives it of its nutrients and proper oxygenation, making it prone to wrinkling and injury. Studies have shown a clear relationship between skin wrinkling and smoking [1]. One even showed that smokers are three times more at risk of wrinkle formation than non-smokers, especially those who have smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for 10 years [1,2]. It can also cause damage to collagen and elastin that make up the skin causing it to be hardened and less elastic [1].

 

5) Feed your skin and your gut 

 


Good nutrition in addition to adequate hydration, is extremely beneficial to elderly skin care. Skin is a window to your inner health status, and the effect of nutrition on skin aging has long been a topic of interest and remains controversial [
5]. Vitamins and antioxidants like carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, omega-3-fatty acids, and probiotics are some of the most common promoters of skin health and beauty [5]. These are also found in health supplements and cosmetic products that promote anti-aging. The most promising role of nutrition in skin aging is paving the way for your body’s antioxidant system, and the healthiest and safest method for this is still from a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  

 

 

Conclusion

Prevention is the most effective way to combat skin aging. Maintaining a well-regulated lifestyle that includes adequate sun exposure, eating a balanced meal, and avoiding the harmful effects of smoking all enhance skin protection and keep that youthful, glowing skin. 

Overall, health is the key to aging gracefully. Living your best life in the later years does not mean looking the same as your 25-year-old self. It is a combination of your physical and mental well being, and your skin pretty much reflects that. Embracing those fine lines and other signs of aging is a reflection of the life you have lived well and fully. 

 

 

References:

  1. Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008;30(2):87-95. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2007.00415.x
  2. Baumann L. Skin ageing and its treatment. J Pathol. 2007;211(2):241-251. doi:10.1002/path.2098
  3. Kennedy C, Bastiaens MT, Bajdik CD, et al. Effect of smoking and sun on the aging skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2003;120(4):548-554. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1747.2003.12092.x
  4. Murphree  RW.  Impairments  in  Skin  Integrity.  Nurs  Clin  North   Am.  2017;52(3):405-417.   doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2017.04.008
  5. Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki  E, Zouboulis  CC. Discovering the link between  nutrition  and  skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876
Article written by Maki Palad, M.D.
Maki is a medical doctor from Manila, Philippines.She also majored in Biology prior to pursuing a medical career. When she is not working, she does freelance writing for health blogs and websites. She also does volunteer work for telehealth consultations and onsite charity clinics. During her free time, she likes to spend it at home reading, binge-watching her favorite shows and working out.

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