Dry, Itchy Skin in the elderly can be prevented

Dry, Itchy Skin in the elderly can be prevented

Dry skin (Xerosis) is caused by a condition with reduced oil coating of the skin. Causing water loss in the skin makes the skin lose moisture. As well as the sebaceous glands produce less oil. The skin will look dry, flaky, not smooth together with itching. In normal conditions, the body has a skin barrier to keep the skin moist. Which will depend on:

The epidermis (stratum corneum) consists of dermal cells, pigment cells, proteins (amino acids), water, and fat. Which fat has an important function is to retain moisture in the skin and prevent water evaporating from the skin Importantly, Ceremide is the main ingredient in combination with fatty acids and cholesterol.

The dermis is composed of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, which has the ability to absorb water in the dermis. Makes the skin firm and flexible. In addition, in the dermis, there are sweat glands that create and expel water from the body to adjust the temperature. and sebaceous glands that excrete sebum to protect the skin does not dry out the skin.

If there are disturbing factors that cause the skin barrier to losing balance, it can lead to dry, peeling skin.

Intrinsic factors, such as the elderly, postmenopausal women, thyroid hormone deficiency, dehydration, or receiving certain medications for the treatment of diseases such as diuretics, vitamin A.

Extrinsic factors, such as low humidity in winter, living in the air-conditioned room. Take a shower often or contact substances that are acidic, Such as soap with alkaline or cleaning solution containing alcohol Including wearing clothes that are rough on the skin.

In the elderly, all skin layers will naturally change. In the epidermis, the ability to generate new cells to replace old cells is reduced. Normally, the epidermis exfoliation cycle takes about 4 weeks, but in older people, this cycle takes twice as long and the ability to retain water in the skin decreases.

The epidermis is up to 50% thinner, especially in areas that are regularly exposed to sunlight such as the face, neck, back, hands, and outer arms. In the dermis, collagen and elastin fibers are thinner. The interlocking fibers lack flexibility, wrinkled skin. Sweat and sebaceous glands are reduced, it makes the skin in the elderly look dry and flaky with flakier and easier to rough.

Dry skin in the elderly (Xerosis) is therefore common, it is scaly, dry, or flaky, like fish scales. Which can be found all over the body but clearly around the limbs, Found in both males and females in equal proportions. This indicates that hormones are not the main cause of dry skin. But caused by older age Resulting in decreased skin fat production, especially in postmenopausal women. In addition, bathing frequently.

Take a warm shower and use regular alkaline soap. Causing the loss of fat that is the outer layer of the protective barrier, is a major cause of dry skin in the elderly. Especially in winter, due to the low humidity in the air, the skin can lose more water. The skin is therefore more dry and itchy.

Treatment for dry skin
Apply a lotion to moisturize the skin, reduce itching, and increase the skin barrier and reduce water loss. In case of skin, inflammation, or have a bacterial infection from scratching (There are wounds and pus) recommend that you see a doctor for treatment.

Self-care to prevent dry skin conditions And avoid the factors that provoke dry skin by:

  • Avoid products containing alcohol and perfume.
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the itchy area. Because it will provoke inflammation and infection of the skin.
  • Choose the right skin cleansing products It has low alkalinity that should have a pH of about 5 and should contain skin moisturizers with no surfactants.
  • Wear clothes that are light on the skin.
  • Drink enough water to moisturize the skin.
  • Refrain from taking a hot shower or take a long bath
  • Avoid being exposed to the sun for a long time and should prevent sunlight by wearing sunscreen, wearing a hat, spreading an umbrella, and wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Apply lotion, cream, or oil to moisturize the skin after showering immediately, morning and evening, or apply frequently in case of very dry skin and should choose a moisturizer without fragrance. To reduce the chance of allergic reactions to those substances.

Summary:

  • Taking a bath often, Take a warm shower, and use regular alkaline soap. Causing the loss of fat that is the outer layer of the protective barrier is one of the leading causes of dry skin in the elderly.
  • If there is inflammation of the skin or have a bacterial infection from scratching with ulcers and pus Should not be left, should see a doctor for treatment.
  • Elderly people with dry, itchy skin should choose a skin cleanser with a low alkaline pH value of about 5 and should contain a skin moisturizer. No surfactants.

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