The largest organ in the human body, your skin accounts for approximately 16% of the mass in your body and serves several functions vital to your health. In addition to helping the body adjust temperature and acting as a barrier to dirt and germs, your skin also stores reserves of water and nutrients.
Sensory information provided through the skin alerts you to potential dangers such as hot or sharp surfaces and lets you enjoy the touch of another person's hand or the softness of a favorite sweater.
Since your skin covers the entirety of your body, keeping it healthy and in good shape is important to your overall comfort and wellness. The good news is there are several simple actions you can take to improve your skin health right in your Grand Villa assisted living apartment.
Applying lotion is one of the most common tips you will hear when learning how to care for your skin, but its benefits make it worth repeating. The dry climate here in Grand Junction, CO, can sap the moisture out of your skin, causing it to become dehydrated, crack and even bleed. Using moisturizers regularly can help counter the damage caused by the dry air, frequent handwashing and other dry skin triggers.
If the air in your assisted living apartment is dry, you may wish to condition the space with a humidifier or vaporizer. The recommended indoor humidity level is around 40-50% according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
As seniors age, it's normal for their skin to become more fragile. When choosing a lotion, try to stay away from ones with dyes and fragrances that can irritate your skin, especially on sensitive locations such as your face and neck.
Though it can feel good to take a long relaxing soak in a hot bath, spending large amounts of time in the tub on a regular basis can quickly dry out your skin. The hotter the water temperature is for your bath or shower, the more you will feel a difference in your skin afterwards.
This is because hot water tends to pull out the natural oils in your skin faster than cool or warm water. Lowering the temperature of the water by even just a few degrees can help reduce this damage.
If you have trouble with cracks in your skin on your knuckles and fingers, the Mayo Clinic suggests covering them with a layer of heavy creams or petroleum jelly before bed. Wearing a pair of cotton gloves will prevent the products from getting on your sheets, and the overnight application will help give your hands time to soften and heal.
While it can seem like a hassle to take the time to apply sunscreen every time you step outdoors, it can go a long way in helping to protect you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun. Skin cancer is among the most common forms of cancer among both men and women, so putting on sunscreen is a good habit to have at any age.
To get the best results, follow the instructions on the label of your sunscreen. It's important to remember that the majority of brands need to be applied up to 30 minutes in advance to going outside to work properly and should be reapplied if you are sweating or swimming.
Clothing is another good way to protect skin from damage caused by exposure to the sun and elements. A good rule of thumb when determining the usefulness of an article of clothing's ability to block out the sun is to hold it up to a lamp or window. If you can see light through the material, then sunlight can pass through the material as well.
Long-sleeved shirts and pants offer a lot of coverage, but it's important to choose high necklines and collars to prevent sunburns along your neck and shoulders. Wide-brimmed hats, scarves and sunglasses can also boost protection.
You don't have to wait until you have an issue to set up an appointment with a dermatologist. While it's crucial that you talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you have wounds that won't heal, unexplained bruises or sudden changes in your skin, visiting a dermatologist when you don't have a specific problem is beneficial for several reasons.
One is that the visit gives you the chance to establish a baseline for your skin's health. Another reason is that an experienced doctor can spot problem areas that you may overlook. Often, skin ailments caught early are simple to treat.
The doctor can also teach you how to perform self-examinations between visits and alert you to specific issues that you should watch out for. You can also ask for recommendations for soaps and lotions that are best suited to your skin type, lifestyle and environment.