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6 Strategies for Protecting Elderly Skin in the Winter

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Winter weather can wreak havoc on a senior’s skin, which is one of the reasons bacterial and fungal infections are so common during the coldest months of the year. Dry skin can also result in painful rashes and bleeding wounds that make everyday activities unpleasant. Here is a look at six tips and tricks seniors and caregivers can use to prevent these common skin issues once the weather starts to cool off. 

1. Don’t Use Harsh Hygiene Products

Soaps and washes often contain chemicals that pull moisture out of the skin and leave an individual feeling itchy. Seniors with dry or chapped skin should only use oil-based hygiene products that contain mild ingredients. Products designed to combat acne and other blemishes might even strip away some of the natural oils that protect the skin. 

Even in the extreme cold of wintertime, your loved one can stay healthy with the help of a professional caregiver. In Milwaukee, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Lower the Water Temperature

Very few things are as relaxing as taking a hot shower or bath, but extremely high temperatures are bad for the skin. Much like harsh hygiene products, hot water can wash away the oils that keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Lowering the temperature of the water by a few degrees and only showering once per day can reduce the risk of rashes and chapped skin. 

If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Milwaukee seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

3. Use Lotion Immediately After Showers

As soon as your loved one steps out of the shower, he or she should apply a high-quality lotion to dry areas of the body such as the elbows, knees, hands, and feet. When choosing a lotion, your loved one needs to stick to products with natural ingredients that lock in moisture. A simple lotion with jojoba, chamomile, or lavender can soothe the skin and boost the body’s natural defenses. 

4. Prevent Sunburns

Just because the weather is cold outside doesn’t mean the sun won’t damage your loved one’s skin. With very little moisture in the air, the sun’s rays might dry out his or her skin within just a few minutes. Whenever your loved one goes outside, he or she should bundle up as much as possible to prevent sunburns and trap in moisture. Seniors who plan on spending a few hours outside need to use sunblock as well. 

5. Find a Simple Lip Emollient

In addition to being painful, chapped lips are also an early warning sign that the skin might not be healthy. Luckily, a lip emollient with a few key ingredients can protect the lips from dry air and direct sunlight. Mineral oil, shea butter, and petroleum jelly are excellent options for seniors with chapped lips. 

6. Stay Hydrated

Water must go through every other organ before it finally reaches the epidermis, which is why being slightly dehydrated can have a major impact on the skin. Even seniors who are relatively inactive should try to drink eight full glasses of water per day to moisturize and protect their skin. Certain medications and health conditions can also have an impact on how well an individual absorbs water.

Dry skin, painful rashes, and other skin issues during the winter can make it difficult for seniors to manage everyday activities. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Milwaukee home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Contact us at (414) 964-8000 to learn more about our services and set up a free consultation.