Ways seniors can protect their skin this winter

The winter poses a number of health risks to seniors. Not only can icy conditions make it more dangerous for seniors to walk from one place to another, but colder temperatures can leave these individuals more susceptible to hypothermia. While most seniors and caregivers recognize these two dangers, there’s one that can go overlooked. Cold weather can cause skin damage, which could put seniors at risk for a number of health complications, including infections. However, there are some steps older adults can take to protect their skin from damage once the winter weather sets in.

Water, water, water
The biggest impact cold weather has on skin is that it can quickly dry up much of its natural moisture. As a result, it’s important for seniors to make sure they use plenty of moisturizer to prevent some of the negative effects of cold weather. After applying moisturizer, experts recommend covering up the skin in order to facilitate better absorption. In a similar vein, it’s important for older adults to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids – about eight glasses a day – will help ensure seniors’ skin has the moisture it needs, AgingCare.com notes.

Limit shower time
There’s nothing quite like taking a hot shower in the winter months, and as tempting as it may be for seniors to enjoy warm water, they should consider keeping their time under it to a minimum, experts say. Staying in warm water too long can remove some of the skin’s natural moisture, which could lead to itching, cracking and bleeding.

Cover up
While most people recognize the importance of covering up to stay warm when they head outside, it’s also important when it comes to protecting the skin. Accessories such as gloves, scarves and hats are just as important as heavy jackets once the temperature dips below freezing.

Remember sunscreen
Although it might seem strange to use sunscreen in the cold, it is just as important as it is in the summer, the Mayo Clinic notes. This is especially true when there’s snow on the ground, as it can reflect the sun’s rays and increase the potential for sunburn, even if the thermometer reading is well below the freezing mark.