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How to Promote Healthy Skin Care for your Elderly Patients

Mohamed Basha
RN CMC Founder and CEO of TLC Nursing Association
Updated November 22, 2023
How to Promote Healthy Skin Care for your Elderly Patients

As we get older, our skin starts to become thinner and thinner. There are chronic conditions and skin breakdown and damage risk for elderly adults. This can lead to poor outcomes, which could affect the quality of life. As a caregiver, you need to ensure that your patient’s skin is taken care of. Sometimes these elderly clients can fight you on bathing, which is a prime reason why so many elders suffer from some skin issue. Here are a few ways to promote healthy skincare for elderly patients.

Structure and Function of your Skin

The skin is the first line of defense against the environment. It protects the body from chemicals, ultraviolet rays, and physical harm. These factors will diminish and compromise if your elderly client doesn’t have enough fluids, poor nutrition, or reduced mobility. Many ailments could also play a part with reoccurring skin issues, such as diabetes, obesity, malnutrition, dementia, vascular disease, renal failure, history of smoking, chronic exposure to air population, hormonal changes, extensive sun exposure, etc.

As skin ages, it is vulnerable to breakdown and injury for multiple reasons. The skin becomes less elastic, drier, and more fragile as the epidermis thins. There is less moisture in the stratum corneum, and blood vessels are easy to break. There are plenty of preventive skincare things you can do to prevent the decrease in risk for skin breakdown.

 Assessing the Skin

Sadly, we cannot stop aging, so, as a home care aid, you are the front line to help with your elder’s skin decomposing and causing health issues. The skin is the body’s largest organ. This means that it is in the best interest that the home care aid needs to asset the skin to ensure no open wounds or sores. Skincare is very personal to most, so patients may not come out and say if they are having issues. Despite these obstacles, layers of clothing, and low lighting, you should be mindful of your client’s health as a home care aid.

Best Skincare Practices

You want to ask your elderly patient about their general skincare practices. This would include cleaning and bathing. Yes, hygiene practices are personal and private, so as a caregiver, you need to be as respectful as possible, and you want to be sure that you give them a reason why you are asking them these questions. Transparency is essential. When you establish your patients’ skincare practices, you can identify risk and patients’ preferences on taking care of their skin. You want to add best practices to their routine to less skin breakdown. Some doctors recommend that elderly adult wash their skin using a cleanser once or twice a week, followed by moisturizing. When you moisturize your patient’s skin, it can be followed up to three times daily to ensure that the skin doesn’t remain dry.

Protecting your Skin from the Sun

When your patient has had long-term sun exposure or is currently is exposed to the sun, it should be included in the assessment. This is necessary to ensure that you’re taking care of their skin correctly. The skin should be inspected for reddened skin, tanned, discolored skin, and excessive sun exposure, such as the face area and arms. Your elder may not see the purpose of wearing sun-protective clothing because of their age, but as the caregiver, you need to ensure that they are wearing the appropriate attire when in the sun.

The daily use of sunblock is necessary; your elderly patient should be applying sunblock 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun. You want to encourage your elder to avoid the sun between 10 am to 4 pm when the ultraviolet rays are at their strongest. Your elder should wear a head covering to protect your skin and ears from the sun and sunglasses to protect their eyes.

Wound Care

Because your elder has such aged skin, you need to be prepared for wounds on their skin. When treating an injury, you want to ensure that the area stays moist. When dressing the damage, you want to allow infrequent dressings to have the elder uncomfortable and reduce their pain.


Wounds are an easy way for elderly adults to receive other ailments. It is essential to actively assess their skin and be sure to treat any injuries when found. TLC Nursing has a knowledgeable team to teach and ensure that their client’s skin and overall health is cared for.