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Elderly skin health

Elderly skin health

Patients may come in with concerns around skin damage and delicate skin. They may have already found a daily skin care routine that suits their skin’s condition and sensitivity. However it is worth talking their routine through to see if there is anything that can be amended.

How skin changes

As we age, our skin naturally loses fat and is no longer as smooth as it once was. It becomes thinner and weaker; scratches, cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal. 

Various factors can damage skin over the long-term:

  • health condition
  • smoking 
  • dry air
  • not drinking enough liquids
  • stress
  • years of sun tanning
  • poor nutrition

Also, with age, the skin produces less of its natural protective oils; this can lead to wrinkles, dryness and age spots. 

All of these factors put an elderly person’s skin at risk of damage, which is why patients with bladder incontinence need to protect their skin as much as possible. If unchecked, urine and/or faeces could damage it. The areas most in need of protection are near the hips, genitals, and between the pelvis and rectum (perineal skin).

Protecting delicate skin

There is a common skin condition affecting elderly incontinent people (incontinence associated dermatitis, IAD). It’s called perineal dermatitis, and it produces a rather unpleasant rash. It happens when skin has too much contact with the moisture and chemicals in urine and faeces. As a result the skin becomes irritated and breaks down. 

The good news is skin can be protected or, if they already have the condition, help improve it so that they feel and look better.

Finding the right products

When your patient wets or soils her/himself, be sure to get them to clean themselves as soon as possible  with a gentle cleanser (not normal soap, which dries out the skin). Also apply a moisturiser and a skin barrier or protectant. TENA Wash Cream contains all three and is specially formulated for the skin of elderly people with incontinence. 

It’s then key to match them with the right TENA product. For heavy incontinence, the TENA ProSkin range is not only absorbent but it’s also designed to be kind to skin and ensure liquid is drawn away quickly to keep skin dry for longer.

Published: 12/11/2021