May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Keep your skin healthy with these tips

Maintaining healthy skin is an essential aspect of overall well-being, especially for seniors. As the body’s largest organ, the skin requires careful attention to keep it nourished, hydrated, and protected. As we age, our skin undergoes several changes; it becomes thinner, less elastic, and more prone to dryness, making it vital for seniors to adopt a skincare routine tailored to their unique needs. Here are some tips to help seniors keep their skin healthy and vibrant.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
First and foremost, hydration is key. With age, the skin tends to lose moisture more easily, leading to dryness and irritation. Seniors should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to help maintain the skin’s hydration from the inside out. Using a humidifier in the home can help add moisture to the air, which is particularly beneficial during the dryer, colder months when indoor heating can further dry out the skin.
Harsh soaps and products containing alcohol can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Moisturizing twice daily, especially right after bathing when the skin is still damp, can lock in moisture and protect the skin barrier. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides, which are great for hydrating and repairing the skin.

Defend against sun damage
Protecting the skin from sun damage is another crucial step in skin care for seniors. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can exacerbate skin aging, causing wrinkles, age spots, and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days, can significantly reduce these risks. Wearing protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves, and seeking shade during peak sun hours can further reduce the risk of skin damage.

Healthy diet for healthy skin
Lastly, maintaining a healthy diet rich in antioxidants can support skin health from the inside. Foods high in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants can help protect the skin against damage from free radicals and support its ability to repair itself. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish into daily meals can have a positive impact on skin health. Additionally, regular check-ups with a dermatologist can help catch any potential skin issues early and provide guidance tailored to individual skin care needs.
Incorporating these habits into daily routines can significantly contribute to healthier, more resilient skin in older age. And with the right care, it’s possible to manage the effects of aging on the skin, to keep it looking and feeling healthy for many years to come.

Dr. Ken Sebastianelli has served as Medical Director for Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab, a Jewish Senior Life Community, since 2012. Dr. Sebastianelli is a board-certified Internal Medicine practitioner with Prime Med Medical Group, and is affiliated with Geisinger Community Medical Center and Moses Taylor Hospital. He is also a member of the Medical Executive Committee at Geisinger Community Medical Center.

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