Skin care is important for all of us, but there are certain skin concerns that seniors should be paying attention to, and for different reasons. Dr. Leslie R. Coker, from Associates in Dermatology, is here to walk us through some of the most common conditions seniors are concerned about.
Keratosis, a very common condition. What is it?
“Well, most every patient I see has at least a seborrheic keratosis, a corn, that they’re worried about. They’re growths. They’re ornaments. They’re benign. They’re seborrheic keratoses, so we call them SKs. Sometimes they’re thick, and they can be pink, brown, or black, and sometimes they’re flat, and they look like little tiny stickers that are stuck on.”
What causes keratosis?
“We don’t have a great explanation. It’s not always sun exposure. We can’t blame that. We just blame the family tree. You accumulate more as you get older, as well.”
Another common issue for skin is tearing and bruising.
“Everybody has a loved one or someone they know or they see whose skin on their forearms ages so much more quickly than anywhere else. It’s the sun, in addition to our general aging. The skin tears and bruises so easily.
The best thing you can do is try to prevent the sun damage first. Wearing sleeves are great. Try to protect your skin from advanced aging from the sun. If you’re already prone to the bruising and the tearing, be resourceful. Make your own sleeve, buy some, and keep them on to protect yourself from the rubbing.
You may consider a shirt that is sun protective and has longer sleeves, as well. These are great shirts. They have mesh woven in, underneath the armpits, vents, and it’s very comfortable. Sun protective clothing is getting bigger. You’ll find more clothing that you’ll like, if you’re willing to try it out. I love it. Then, as far as sunscreens, SPF 20-25 and up, just something you like, something you’ll wear, that’s going to be the best sunscreen for you. Also, think shade. Covering up your forearms and protecting them from the sun is my best advice.”
Another common issue is dry and itchy skin. What can that lead to, and how do we prevent that?
“People don’t realize how easily the skin can dry out. Even if you’re itchy, but your skin doesn’t look dry and ashy, it can still be dehydrated. People are over-washing, using soap in areas that are itchy. They’re not moisturizing nearly as heavily as they should. Soap is the enemy. Keep it for the body folds, and then lube up. When your skin’s well-hydrated right after showering, smooth on thick, greasy, petroleum jelly, a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Lock that water into your skin.”
As we age, our skin ages, as well. It doesn’t bounce back as quick. If you’re older and maybe you get a bruise, it doesn’t bounce back the way it did when we were younger. Is there any way to prevent that from happening? What other steps should we take to protect our skin?
“With bruising there really is not a silver bullet. Your bruise is starts going from this pink spot then it goes to purple, and it slowly fades, but it can leave pigmentation. The best way is prevention. Prevent the damage, the accelerated damage by the sun, and then just try to protect yourself from getting battered.”
Good advice. If you have any more questions or concerns, Dr. Coker has some treatment options and maybe some solutions for you. Make your appointment today online