Over the years, skin evolves and changes. And taking care of your skin shouldn’t be a priority just to keep it looking nice — it’s also necessary to protect your health. That’s why it’s important to adapt your skin-care routine as you age to ensure you’re meeting new and different needs as they arise.
So, what can seniors do to take better care of their skin? Here are five easy skin-care tips.
1. Wear Sunscreen and Limit Time in the Sun
While some sun exposure is actually good for your body, it’s still important to protect your skin while you’re getting your dose of vitamin D.
In addition to limiting your time in the sun during peak hours, wearing sunscreen should be a daily habit. Look for a broad-spectrum version with an SPF of at least 30. Additionally, you can protect your skin by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or loose clothing that covers more of your body.
2. Use Moisturizer Daily
Dry skin is a common problem for older adults — especially in the arid Arizona climate — so it’s important to use a lotion or cream that will keep your skin moisturized. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to speak with your doctor about a natural or medicated brand that will suit your unique skin needs. Ideally, look for a moisturizer that includes vitamins A and E, as well as other natural antioxidants.
Other ways to combat dry skin include staying hydrated, using a humidifier at night and using a milder soap in the shower. Most importantly, try to avoid itching dry skin. It’s not an aging myth: Skin does tend to thin with age and scratching skin can more easily break it, causing bleeding and increasing the potential for an infection.
3. Perform Regular Mole Checks
In addition to annual check-ups with your dermatologist, older adults should also perform monthly mole checks on themselves to ensure no unusual growth has occurred. To know what warning signs you’re looking for, remember the ABCDEs:
- Growth that appears ASYMMETRICAL
- Mole BORDERS that look unusual
- Changes in COLOR
- A mole DIAMETER greater than that of a pencil eraser
- EVOLVING growth, shape or symptoms
4. Quit Smoking
There are nearly countless reasons to quit smoking, and the health of your skin is certainly one of them. Don’t wait — just quit. If you’re having trouble breaking the habit, talk to your doctor about methods for safely weaning off nicotine.
5. Eat Foods that Promote Healthy Skin
What you eat can exert an impact on how your skin looks and feels. Including more green vegetables and foods containing healthy fats — like walnuts, salmon and avocado — can help improve the appearance and health of your skin.
As always, if you are experiencing unusual skin discomfort (excessive dry skin, skin-tag growth, bruising), don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor. And remember: Your skin is your largest organ. By focusing on your health, you’ll enjoy skin that looks and feels better longer.
Looking to cultivate healthier habits so you can feel your best? Get your copy of our free wellness resource, The Vitality Guide.
(Originally published April 26, 2017; last updated Jan. 11, 2019.)