During our 60s and 70s, skin can feel dry and irritated. This happens for many reasons, including that skin is thinner and loses water more easily. Medications and medical conditions can also play a role.
There is good news. The right skin care can improve how your skin feels — and looks.
When it comes to skin care in our 60s and 70s, dermatologists have suggestions for ways to keep your skin looking and feeling good.
First, some simple changes to your bath time can reduce (or alleviate) dry, itchy skin and prevent dry, itchy from becoming a serious problem. Here’s what you can do:
-Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing bar soap, cleanser, or body wash. Doing so will help soothe rather than dry your skin. Moisturizing ingredients that can help reduce dryness include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and lanolin. We offer several different skin cleansers that are perfect for sensitive and fragile skin, including Aloe Vesta Body Wash and Shampoo .
-Use warm (not hot) water. Hot water strips skin of its natural oils, which can increase skin dryness.
-Use a soft cloth to wash your skin. A buff puff or bath brush can irritate your skin.
-Keep your bath or shower short. You may find that you don’t need to bathe every day. When you bathe, keep it short. Take a 5- to 10-minute bath or shower.
-Pat water gently from your skin after bathing, but leave a bit of water on your skin. Having some water on your skin when you apply moisturizer (next step) helps hydrate your skin.
-Apply a creamy, fragrance-free moisturizer formulated for dry skin within 3 minutes of bathing and throughout the day. Moisturizing helps ease the dryness and restore your skin’s protective barrier.
When your skin feels very dry, dermatologists recommend using an ointment instead of a cream. An ointment does a better job of holding water in your skin than does a cream.
But don't use bath oil; you increase your risk of slips and falls when you use bath oil to moisturize your skin, so it's best to avoid bath oil. Try Medline's Remedy Phytoplex Nourishing Cream to restore your skin's natural moisture balance.
Second, you should use a humidifier when the air feels dry. Heating and air conditioning can strip humidity from the air. Dry air can make your skin feel dry and itchy.
Keeping indoor humidity between 45% and 60% can reduce dry, itchy skin. You can easily measure the humidity in the air with a hydrometer, which you can buy at a hardware or home-improvement store.
Third, wear gloves while doing housework and gardening. Working around your house and in your garden can expose your skin to harsh chemicals, sunlight, and other things that can irritate and dry your skin.
When you wear gloves, you also reduce your risk of injuring your skin.
Fourth, protect your skin from the sun. If you’re seeing more wrinkles, age spots, bruises, and blotches of discolored skin, you may wonder if you still need to protect your skin from the sun. You do! At this stage in your life, sun protection still offers many benefits. It helps to prevent new age spots and blotchy skin. It can reduce dry, thinning skin. It also reduces your risk of developing skin cancer.
To protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, dermatologists recommend that you:
-Seek shade when outdoors. Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
-Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun. Wear a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection when possible. For more effective protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
-Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. You want to apply this to all skin that clothing won’t cover while you’re outside.
Fifth, go fragrance free. Fragrance can irritate your skin. To help heal dry, itchy skin and prevent it from coming back, stop using perfumes, colognes, and skin care products that contain fragrance.
Products that are fragrance free say “fragrance free” on the package, not just "unscented". “Fragrance free” and “unscented” have different meanings.
Unscented products can irritate dry skin, as unscented products generally contain a chemical that covers up the smell of other ingredients so that you cannot smell them. Be sure to use fragrance-free products.
And last, but not least: Examine your skin for signs of skin cancer. Around 50 years of age, your risk of developing skin cancer and pre-cancerous growths increases. As the years pass, this risk rises.
When skin cancer is found early and removed, that’s often the only treatment you’ll needed. If the cancer spreads, treatment becomes more difficult.
Learning how to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer can help you to find skin cancer early. To learn how to examine your skin, watch How to perform a skin self-exam.
If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.
While the right skin care can help, medications, surgery, and health problems can take a toll on your skin.
A board-certified dermatologist understands the effects each of these can have on your skin and can create a treatment plan tailored to your skin’s needs. A dermatologist can also help you safely treat skin changes, such as age spots and wrinkles.