Skin Problems In Elderly – Can They Be Treated Naturally?

As you grow old, sagging skin, appearance of wrinkles, age spots and translucent become permanent fixture in life. Is it something which you have to live with or is it something which can easily be taken care of? After a comprehensive study of the research and treatments available we found that prevention and treatment of the age related skin problems are very much treatable. If you want to age gracefully and beautifully, read on.
Natural skin treatments

What happens in the aging skin?
There are many changes taking place in the skin as you continue to age. The outermost layer of your skin becomes thin; there is a marked decrease in the number of cells containing pigments in the skin with the increase in the size of the pigments, reduced formation of oil by the oil glands and changes in the skin’s elasticity. The blood vessels under the skin become more fragile. All these changes may be affected by prolonged exposure to sun, environmental factor and stress of years.

The most significant problem associated with the aging skin is the increased susceptibility of the skin to become injured. Since the skin is thinner, protective subcutaneous fat layer is lost and there may be some skin tears due to pulling or rubbing. Skin in elderly loses its ability to heal and repair quickly when compared with older skin and hence the incidences of problems related to skin are much higher.

The problems of aging skin
Aging skin appears to be thinner, paler and translucent. There is an appearance of large pigmented spots which are called as age spots or liver spots in the skin area which are exposed to sun. The aging skin loses its elasticity and appears tanned and coarsened. The elderly skin is prone to bruising, bleeding (known as senile purpurea), and cherry angiomas. Following menopause, the skin of women and men become more dry and itchy due to the reduced production of sebum and oil. Skin tags, warts and blemishes are also commonly found in older people.

Is it too late to care?
Prevention of skin problems is a lifelong process. Protection from sun exposure, use of sunscreen when outdoors and clever use of protective clothing to prevent skin from sun damage should be the part of daily life style. It is never too late to begin caring for your skin and you should make realistic targets for creating a healthy and fresh skin.
The integration of healthy lifestyle in day to day life is also helpful. Good nutrition and adequate fluids prevents dehydration of the skin.

Nutritional deficiency may lead to skin rashes or lesions and hence a healthy diet can avoid these problems.

Use moisturizers to keep the skin moist. Elderly should not use heavily perfumed soaps. Mild, moisturizing, herbal based soaps works efficiently with the elderly. Oil baths should be avoided since it may raise the risk of slipping or falling.

Treatment of aging skin
There are many treatments available for the problems of aging skin including wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and dryness. All the therapies described below are non-invasive and natural .i.e. you can get rid of wrinkles without having to go under the knife!

Antioxidants
The effect of sun damage to skin over the years may be prevented by using antioxidants which have been found to be very effective. Both oral and topical antioxidants may be used for the treatment of skin. Research studies have also recommended that antioxidants should be sued in sunscreens as well. Vitamins C and E have both antioxidant and sunscreen properties and are found to be very useful in treating and preventing the skin aging related to the damage due to the radiation from the sun. Some of the most notable anti-oxidant compounds which are deemed favorable to be sued in the elderly are green tea, tea tree oil, grape seed extract, Vitamin C and E, ferulic acid and an extract pycnogenol which is an extract obtained from pine bark, grapes and apples.

Light therapy
Application of pulsed light to the skin has been used effectively to restore the elasticity of the collagen and skin and hence treat the aging skin. It employs the use of a transparent substance such as ice or gel to protect the skin by cooling while applying the pulsed light. It is sued with caution in elderly since due to skin thinning their skin is more sensitive to temperature changes. The duration of the pulse and filtering and controlling the light spectrum are the standard protocols followed in the treatment of the skin.

Microcurrent
Microcurrent is a technique used to apply current in very small amounts to treat the effects of aging such as wrinkles, age spots, increase the collagen and hence the elasticity of the skin. It also improves hydration of the skin and hence alleviates all the signs of aging to produce a younger looking and rejuvenated skin.

The treatment is ideally suited for adult clients over the age of 35 years. For clients over the age of 50 years the numbers of treatments needed are more. It is a widely applauded technique since it is non-invasive, inexpensive, and without any side effects. It has been found to be very effective in removing facial wrinkles, skin dropping and reducing facial surface spots. This treatment is also found to be effective in improving the skin texture on the face especially forehead.

Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion technique exfoliates and hence wears off the outermost epidermal layer. This involves the application of very low frequency radiofrequency energy applied through a saline medium on the skin. This brings about a superficial injury to the skin and instantly triggers a healing response in the skin. Microdermabrasion improves the appearance of skin, texture, oiliness and clarity of the skin.

Botulinum toxin A
It blocks the nerves in the muscular system and brings about a reduction or removal of the wrinkle lines. It is considered to be ideal for men and women in the age group between 40 to 60 years. Anecdotal evidence exists for the use of Botulinum toxin A in elderly over the age of 65 years. It is sued to treat the lines between the eyebrows, bridge on the nose, crow’s feet at the corner of the eyes, and lines on the forehead. It may help in softening the wrinkles which can be noticed even without muscle contraction, but owing to their delicate skin the older patients are more likely to get bruises as a result of Botulinum toxin A injections.

References

  1. Baumann, L. (2007). Skin ageing and its treatment. Journal of pathology, 211, 241-251.
  2. Cheng, C. M. (2007). Cosmetic use of botulinum toxin type A in the elderly. Clinical interventions in ageing, 2(1), 81-83.
  3. Dugdale, D. C. (2012, September 4). Ageing changes in skin. Retrieved from MedlinePlus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004014.htm
  4. Eckhouse, S. e. (1999). Patent No. 5964749. United States of America.
  5. Rabe, J. H., Mamelak, A. J., McElgunn, P. J., Morison, W. I., & Sauder, D. N. (2006). Photoageing: Mechanisms and repair. Journal of American academy of Dermatology, 55, 1-19.
  6. Saniee, F., Shirazi, H. R., Kalantari, K. K., Yazdanpanah, P., Soltani, A. R., Shirazi, N. G., . . . Karimpour, F. (2012). Consider of Micro-current’s effect to variaotion of facial wrinkle trend, randomized clinical trial study. Life science journal, 9(3), 1184-1189.
  7. Singh, M., & Griffiths, E. (2006). The use of retinoids in the treatment of photoageing. Dermatologic therapy, 19, 297-305.

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