The cold winds of winter can do more than make your teeth chatter. It can also be tough on the skin, especially if you are an older adult. Seniors are already prone to aging-related skin issues, such as Eczema craquelé and Seborrheic dermatitis. Both can leave skin itchy and irritated.
Added to the frigid outdoor elements is how dry the air in your home can become during the winter. When the furnace is running, it often causes the humidity in the house to drop. That loss of humidity can further exacerbate skin problems.
While most seniors have their own skin regimen, there are additional ways to help protect the skin during the frosty months of the year. Here are a few of the best.
6 Winter Skin Care Tips for Seniors
1. Add humidity to the home: Unless your furnace has a built-in humidifier, chances are good you’ll need to find ways to add moisture back into the air. Consider investing in a few humidifiers for the rooms you spend the most time in. Be certain to follow the manufacturer’s directions for care, including using distilled water and cleaning frequently.
2. Bundle up when outdoors: When the weather is frigid, frostbite can occur fairly quickly. It is especially risky when it’s both cold and windy. Avoid skin damage by bundling up before you head outside. Don’t leave skin exposed to the elements. A hat, mittens or gloves, and a scarf to shield your face will help.
3. Stick to shorter showers: A long, hot shower might sound tempting when you are cold. Unfortunately, it can dry out the skin. Keeping the water lukewarm and sticking to a brief shower is kinder on older skin.
4. Drink your water: Many of us are good about drinking water when it’s hot outside, but few of us remember to do so in the winter. In addition to contributing to dry skin, dehydration can cause skin to sag making you appear older. Health experts generally recommend drinking 8 glasses of water every day, but check with your physician to be sure.
5. Change to a heavier moisturizer: While heavy moisturizers can leave the skin feeling greasy when it’s warm outside, winter is just the opposite. A rich, thick moisturizer for the face and one for the body can help protect your skin.
6. Don’t skip the sunscreen: The sunny days of summer are when we typically remember to layer on sunscreen. It’s essential for guarding against skin cancers, like melanoma. Winter can be equally dangerous. The sun’s reflection off the snow can leave you with a painful “snow burn.” Get in the habit of applying sunscreen when you will be outdoors during the winter or riding in the car.
If, despite your best efforts, your skin becomes dry and cracked, scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist may be advisable. They can help determine if there is an underlying medical issue or allergy and take steps to remedy it.
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