If your parents are getting older, you may have thought about skincare for aging moms.
Aging brings with it new challenges for the skin. Without regular care, these challenges can turn into problems.
Many seniors, however, aren’t in the habit of regularly taking care of their skin—particularly the skin on their bodies. If that sounds like your mom, we have some tips on how you can help her enjoy healthier skin.
Why Skincare for Aging Moms is a Thing
You already know that skin changes as you age. It typically becomes drier, loses elasticity, and begins to develop hyperpigmentation.
These are challenges we all deal with as the years fly by. But aging skin—the type that seniors deal with—is an entirely different thing.
By the time people get into their 70s, 80s, and beyond, the skin has been around for a long time and begins to show some signs of serious wear and tear. These include the following.
There’s dry skin and then there’s really dry skin. Many seniors deal with the latter. Their skin has become thinner because it’s lost a lot of its protective lipid layer. The outer layer is weak and cannot hold onto moisture.
On top of that, sebaceous glands produce less oil with age. This can make it even harder to keep skin moist.
The result is super dry skin. This can cause regular itching which is uncomfortable and can keep seniors up at night. The outer layer is often cracked and damaged, which means it can allow bacteria and other microorganisms in more easily. Infections can develop that can be painful and difficult to treat.
As we age, the number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases. The remaining cells increase in size. As a result, aging skin looks pale and sometimes clear or translucent. Pigmented spots develop, including age spots or liver spots.
This means that aging skin is much more vulnerable to UV damage. Sun exposure at this point can cause dangerous sunburns.
Bruising and Redness
You may have seen more bruises on your aging mom’s skin lately. That’s because the blood vessels in the dermis become more fragile over time. They are less able to bounce back after being compressed. Even small knocks on the furniture or other impacts can cause bruising and bleeding under the skin.
Pressure ulcers can also appear because of reduced activity or illness. Some sores are easily seen, such as those on the arms or lower legs, but these can develop anywhere. Untreated, ulcers can lead to infections.
Older people are more at risk for skin injury. The skin is thin, fragile, and lacking the protective fat layer it had years before. This can cause increased sensitivity to touch, heat, and cold. It can also make skin more reactive to certain types of chemicals or other harsh ingredients in skincare products.
Skincare for Aging Moms: Sometimes It’s Up to Us
Amidst all these changes going on, many seniors are caught unprepared. Different generations have approached skincare differently, and many of our parents did not develop the daily skincare routines that we or our children may have learned.
I’m a caregiver for my mom who is unfortunately bedridden after a serious fall. I know that now, more than ever, it’s important to care for her skin and take preventative measures to keep it healthy and minimize breakdown.
My mom looks beautiful well into her 80s and has always had good skin, but now she’s plagued with dry/flaking skin and patches/dark spots/redness.
She’s never had a skincare regimen. That means it was up to me to introduce her to the idea in a way that she would appreciate.
Another member of our CV Skinlabs team also recently noticed when skincare became more important in her parents’ daily routines:
“In my recent time caregiving for my parents, skincare came up,” she says. “They are in a generation that never worried about their skin, but my stepdad recently had severe cellulitis [infection in the skin]. The risk of recurrence increases with edema/flaky skin, which he’s had for years. I began putting cream on his leg to help—something that he’d never done before. I did it every day for several days and gradually he began to see the benefits, to the point that he started to apply lotion himself.
“My mom experienced a similar problem when she suffered a herniated disc that caused severe sciatica. This limited her mobility and her skin began to suffer. She’s always used lotion daily, but neither of my parents thought of it as a health issue. I applied lotion for her too, and now I think they both see it differently.”
Skincare for Aging Moms: 5 Ways You Can Help
1. Notice Your Mom’s Skin
The first step is to keep your eyes open and notice the changes in your mom’s (or other elderly relative’s) skin. If you see problems developing—such as dryness, flaking, edema, and the like, realize that it may be up to you to address the problem.
2. Get Some Safe Products
As mentioned above, elderly skin is fragile skin. That means some skincare products may be too harsh for it.
Your mom would likely prefer that you use her favorite products when you start bringing up skincare. That’s fine at first, but as you get her used to the idea of applying the products more often, you may be able to introduce some other products that she may like—and that may be better for her skin.
We recommend choosing products without harsh preservatives and fragrances. Our CV Skinlabs products are all developed for medically treated skin and will help improve the health of your loved one’s skin.
Today, I regularly apply our CV Skinlabs’ barrier lotions and ointment on my mom’s skin to help it recover and keep it healthy. She loves being pampered and I’m loving pampering her. I’ve noticed that it’s not only helping keep her skin issues at bay and improving the way her skin looks, but it’s also improving her spirits because she looks forward to it.
3. Moisturize Every Way You Can
The biggest challenge of older skin is that it’s so dry. That dryness opens the door to a host of other problems, including outer layer breakdown and an increased risk of infections.
To keep aging skin healthy, we have to address dryness in multiple ways:
- Encourage your loved one to drink water more often. Elderly people often don’t feel as thirsty as they used to, so they don’t drink enough water. Hydrating from the inside out helps keep skin hydrated, plus it has many other benefits.
- Encourage the use of a gentle cleanser. Many in the older generation are used to using bar soap. Many bar soaps, however, are trying. See if you can swap these out for more moisturizing bars, or if your loved one is willing, a gentle lotion cleanser.
- Moisturize more often. Get used to applying moisture to your loved one’s skin—or suggesting application—at least three times a day if you can. Twice a day at a minimum.
- Use a humidifier. If your loved one lives in a dry climate, invest in a humidifier for their bedroom. It will help moisturize the air so it takes less moisture from their skin.
- Get some sunscreen. Many in the older generation never used sunscreen, and they may feel they don’t need it now. Depending on your loved one’s willingness, you may try encouraging its use when they go out. If they resist, encourage the use of umbrellas, hats, and clothing to protect fragile skin from the sun.
Have you noticed challenges when caring for your elderly loved ones’ skin?