Avoid Dry Skin in Winter Months

What’s dry, red and itchy all over? 

Winter. Skin. 

And seniors are especially uncomfortable this time of year. In Louisiana, just about the only negative thing associated with low humidity is the scratching that comes along with it. When the humidity level drops, skin loses moisture and becomes dry. This can cause red, flaky patches and spots that result in days or weeks of miserable itching. And worse, the itching can lead to open sores and become infected. 

While everyone gets dry skin at some point, senior adult skin is thinner than its younger counterpart. This weakens its ability to retain moisture and results in dryness. Healthline.com reports other common causes for dry skin including overuse of soap and hot water as well as exposure to harsh chemicals. 

Seniors should not simply resolve themselves to having dry skin. There are a few things they can do to help reduce its occurrence during the winter months. 

  • Drink plenty of water. A well-hydrated body leads to more moisture in the skin. Seniors should drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
  • Seniors should limit their time in the sun. While this is important for all ages, seniors are especially vulnerable to skin dehydration due to the sun’s rays.
  • Stress can also dehydrate the skin, so make sure those senior loved ones are as relaxed as possible. They’ve earned it.
  • Moisturize! Speak to the dermatologist about the best options based on individual needs.
  • Stop smoking. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke leaves the skin dry and discolored. Take time this season to help your loved one find a smoking cessation program – many are free.

While a break from the Louisiana humidity is welcome each fall, settling in to the winter months can cause the skin to, well, break. Pay attention to your skin this winter, and especially that of senior loved ones.