SKIN PROBLEMS RELATED TO AGEING: DRY SKIN AND DRUG ERUPTIONS
Dry, itchy skin is the most common skin problem occurring in the elderly. As people get older, their skin gets drier. This is made worse by central heating, sitting close to heating ducts, the use of electric blankets and long, hot showers.
In order to counteract this problem, excessive heating should be avoided, and it can be useful to use a humidifier or place a tray of water close to the heating ducts to produce water vapour. Dimplex heaters, which do not emit dry heat, are another alternative.
Older people should bath or shower with a bath oil, which will replace the oil that is lost from the skin’s surface. The protective layer of the skin is re-created and further water evaporation is prevented. Normal soap should be avoided as these tend to be drying. Gentle soaps such as Aveenobar and Dove are more suitable.
After bathing a moisturizing cream should be used all over the body. Aquatain, 10% glycerol in sorbolene cream, Nutraplus, QV skin cream and Ureaderm are all good products. These simple measures will make many older people feel much more comfortable.
Many elderly people are prescribed multiple drugs which can lead to drug eruptions. Sulphur-based drugs, including some blood pressure tablets, heart tablets, anti-diabetic tablets and some antibiotics all commonly cause skin eruptions.
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