As fast as the cold winds blow, winter has settled down upon all of us – and many of us it has hit hard. When winter arrived, for some earlier than the calendar marks the change, winter’s effects blow in also.
Some people love the season for its blowing snowflakes, winter sports, holiday season and warm comfort foods. Many however don’t appreciate winter and its changes.
During this time of year, our senior loved ones can see and feel the effects of the winter climate. Our seniors often find their aging skin drying out, when not only the temperature but also lower humidity levels that come in with the winter weather.
The affects of winter on our skin are not caused just by the cold air outside, but also by the dry warm air we have in our homes as we work to keep the cold outside.
Drier, warm air affects our seniors’ skin, making it dry and sore. It is quite common during the winter months that older adults’ skin needs special care to alleviate the symptoms of winter’s harshness.
Physical Indications of Dry Winter Skin
Skin that has been dried out often isn’t pretty; even worse, it can be painful. These are some of the noticeable signs.
- Flaky skin
- Dry and itchy skin
- Cracking skin
- Bleeding and pain
Tips to Repair Winter Damaged Skin
Here are some suggestions for you senior loved one to protect their skin when winter is here.
- If your senior’s home air feels dry, try using a humidifier to keep the moisture level at a higher level.
- Don’t use hot water on faces and feet, as it tends to sap the natural moisture from one’s skin.
- Take short showers and baths in warm water not hot.
- Use a mild cleanser to clean skin, especially when it is itchy.
- Apply lotions and moisturizers to areas such as face, hands and feet frequently, especially after washing and while skin is still damp. If your senior’s skin is very dry, an ointment or cream may be more effective than lotion.
- Read labels, because for some people the fragrance in lotions can irritate the skin more or trigger allergies.
- Pat, don’t rub, the skin and use soft cloths (take care they’re not harsh) abrasive ones for cleaning.
- If your senior’s hands are the most irritated, apply petroleum jelly before bed and wear waterproof gloves when immersing hands in water for more than brief periods of time.
- If hands need to be cleaned frequently, use a hand sanitizer instead of hot water
- Have them drink plenty of water, even when your senior doesn’t feel thirsty. Don’t let them wait for lips to get dry.
Dermatologist Visit May Be Needed
Your senior’s skin can be affected by things other than the winter dryness, such as aging and changes in hormones causing the skin to become thinner, medications, irritants used in the home for cleaning or laundry, or a medical skin condition such as eczema.
If your senior’s skin does not improve using the tips above, you may want to have them checked out by a dermatologist in case a stronger treatment plan is needed.
Staying healthy and hydrated during the winter months is an important part in keeping seniors healthy so they can keep the life in their years!