Many seniors are familiar with the changes that occur in their skin as it ages; changes that result in uncomfortable symptoms such as dry, flaky skin and pruritis, or itching. In fact, the majority of the elderly population suffers from dry, itchy skin. The itch-scratch cycle can lead to more irritation and, in severe cases, infection. Though it is not a serious condition, itchy skin often causes discomfort for the sufferer. It most commonly affects lower legs, elbows and forearms.
Dry skin is usually caused by the natural loss of oil glands as we age. Skin becomes thinner and less able to retain moisture. The following factors can worsen symptoms:
- Dry air, harsh weather and sun
- Frequent, hot baths and harsh soaps
- Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease
- Some prescription medications