Skin is the largest organ of our bodies and probably the one we take most for granted as we carry on in our daily lives. We focus so heavily on keeping organs like our hearts and lungs healthy that we tend to neglect our skin and forget that it’s even a vital organ! But our skin performs a number of functions that are critical to our wellbeing. Among its most vital functions are that it helps maintain an effective barrier between our environment and our internal organs, it helps regulate our body temperature, it alerts us to sensations, and it aids in Vitamin D synthesis.
As we age, our skin and its protective functions change. Over time our skin becomes thinner, loses fat, and no longer looks as plump and smooth as it once did. Thinning skin becomes more translucent, making veins and bones more visible and increasing the probability of scratches, cuts, and other injuries that may take longer to heal. Years of sun exposure could lead to excess wrinkles, dryness, and age spots.
Normal aging of the skin is influenced greatly by past years of use and abuse unique to each individual. There are additional factors that many older adults face, which can wreak havoc on their skin’s functionality. Some examples of these include dehydration, medical conditions/medications, poor nutrition, changes in mobility, activity levels, and vision loss increasing the risk of skin injuries.
Here are some simple tips to consider for healthy skin:
Know Your Skin
Regularly monitor how your skin is doing, how injuries are or are not healing, and if there is anything new or unusual that should be checked out by your physician.
- Keep Hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids each day. Water is the best way to hydrate your body, as the sugars in drinks like fruit juices can be counterproductive to your health.
- Be Active. Move your body as well and as often as you can. Staying active is not only good for your skin’s health, but it’s also good for holistic physical and mental health.
- Stay Clean. Avoid over-washing your skin. Excessive washing and overuse of soap can actually lead to more skin issues, as this actually dries out your skin at a faster rate.
- Use Lotion. Regular use of body lotion can keep your skin more supple and strong. Application of lotion is especially effective immediately following a shower.
- Eat a Balanced Diet. Balanced nutrition is critical for maintaining your skin’s integrity. Good nutrition helps your skin combat the natural aging process and assists in healing processes subsequent to injuries.
- Cover your skin. Covering your skin protects it from scraping and bruising, in addition to the all-important limitations from sun exposure. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts and hats are strongly encouraged, especially in the summer.
As we move into the summer months, it’s increasingly vital to look after your skin. And always keep water around so you can stay properly hydrated. Please reach out to your nearest Bonaventure Senior Living Community for more tips on keeping your skin healthy and supple!