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5 Skin Care Tips for Older Adults

As we age, our skin becomes more vulnerable to signs of injury, damage, and tears. It starts to lose elasticity and get thinner, making veins, age spots, wrinkles, and wear both more likely and more visible. Here are some skin care tips for older adults to prevent further damage and keep your skin protected through the aging process. Let’s dive in.

Problems with Neglecting Your Skin

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. (Source) It’s supported by and connected to a network of other functions, like our sweat glands, nerve endings, blood vessels, and hair follicles that work together to create an important and balanced system. 

As we age, some of these functions start to deteriorate. That’s why we’ll find our skin having a harder and harder time repairing damage, staying moist, and preventing or repairing from injury. This can create problems like:

  • Papery or thin skin

  • Struggling to sweat

  • Dryness

  • Itchiness

  • Age spots

  • Irritation

  • Bruising

  • Wrinkles

  • Deepening creases

  • Etc.

A note on skin cancer

In addition to the aesthetic problems we see on our skin as we age, neglecting your skin can also make it easier to miss signs of certain skin cancers. To briefly touch on the things you should keep an eye out for, the NIH put out the ABCDEs guidelines to help you identify cancers, noting what to look for as you care for your skin. They recommend you check your moles, birthmarks, and other parts of your skin for the “ABCDEs,” which include:

  • A = Asymmetry (one side of the growth/mole looks different from the other)

  • B = Borders (irregular outlines)

  • C = Color (noticing if the color changes or there is more than one color)

  • D = Diameter (the growth/mole greater than the size of a pencil eraser)

  • E = Evolving (noting changes in size, shape, shades of color, surface texture, and symptoms – including itching, bleeding, and tenderness)

Read more about the signs of skin cancer here.


To prevent further damage and keep your skin in good condition, it’s important to take precautionary steps as we age, which we’ll dive into next.

5 Skin Care Tips for Older Adults

The internet is full of skincare tips, which aren’t always targeted toward older adults. They can also be misleading, full of people offering tips based on sales incentives instead of what’s best for you and your skin. 

To make it simple and cut through the noise, we have compiled some basic evidence-based skin care tips for older adults:

First, cover up

Sun damage causes or is linked to many of the problems listed, which is why one of the most important things you can do to protect your skin is to cover it up. This includes:

  • Wearing sunscreen. For best results, wear and reapply sunscreen on any exposed skin each day (including your face). Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and water resistance to help it work all day.

  • Staying in the shade. During the heat of the day (10AM to 4PM), sitting in the shade is an underrated way to reduce your sun exposure. 

  • Wear protective clothing. Wide-brimmed hats, shawls, gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses, and more can all help to reduce your exposure to the damaging effects of the sun.

Second, wash gently

Another common mistake is to put too much pressure on the washing process – doing it too often, too hard, or with too many beads or chemicals. This is especially true with face washing.

There’s no need to overcomplicate it. A gentle cleanse with a simple cleanser once a day will do. Otherwise, you may risk making your skin dry out further.

Third, keep your skin moisturized

As we alluded to, having well-hydrated skin is an important way to reduce the number of wrinkles, fine lines, lingering injuries and more. 

Keep a fragrance-free simple moisturizing lotion handy for your body and face and apply daily for best results. Older adults and their skin can benefit from frequent moisturizer application as soon as possible – the results are cumulative and best seen over time.

Fourth, stay hydrated & eat well

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/proteins, healthy fats, etc. plays a bigger role in your skin health than you may have realized. Hydration (consuming at least several glasses of water each day) can also make a big difference. Your skin is an organ, and its health starts on the inside.

The nutrients, vitamins, and hydration offered by a well-balanced diet can make a huge difference in the elasticity, glow, health, and coloring of your skin well into an older age. (Source

Finally, stay consistent

It takes 90+ days of consistent diet, exercise, moisturizing, sun avoidance, and gentle cleansing to see if your efforts make a noticeable difference. The consistency of your efforts means more than the individual choices you make. 

Give yourself time to see results and don’t give up if you have a bad day or week. Just pick up where you left off and let the cumulative effects of your consistency take shape.

Closing Thoughts: Skin Care Tips for Older Adults

Older adults can reduce a lot of skin aging and damage problems with a bit of proactive/preventative care. These simple tips are designed to cut through the noise and give you evidence-based skin care tips for older adults specifically.

About Us: The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County

The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County is here to provide assistance and guidance to help you do that. Check out our library of resources to help you navigate this experience. Together, we can navigate the healthcare landscape and help you provide the best possible care for your loved one(s).

Further Reading: Fitting in Fitness: Prioritizing Wellness as a Family Caregiver

It’s easy for family caregivers to feel secondary to their loved one’s more pressing needs. In this article, we’ll look at why focusing on your health as a caregiver matters, how you and the loved one(s) in your care can benefit from prioritizing exercise each day, and how to incorporate it into your routine. Click here to read all about it.


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