As we age, it’s normal for our skin to retain less moisture. Older adults tend to have thinner, more sensitive skin. That’s why we encourage our local desert community to create a skin care routine that improves overall hydration.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it deserves your affection! Skin functions as a body’s barrier for protection from bacteria, chemicals, and the elements like cold winter weather.
If you live in Tucson, Arizona you’re aware of our pleasant winters and intensely hot summers in the Sonoran desert. The humidity fluctuates so frequently throughout the year, but overall it’s a dry and arid climate. These extreme hot and cold temperatures contribute to skin feeling dry and irritated. The dry air causes the moisture in the skin to evaporate creating cracks and itchy, flaky skin. Since the moisture leaves your skin in drier weather, it’s very important to restore your skin with a healthy skincare routine.
Cultivate a healthier skin care routine and hydrate daily.
Here are some tips to improve skin hydration and prevent dry skin based on recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology Association:
- Use warm not hot water when bathing because hot water dries the skin.
- Take five to ten minute showers.
- Wash with a mild fragrance-free cleanser because many skin cleansers with fragrance are harsh on the skin.
- Close the bathroom door to keep the air around you moist.
- Blot not rub your skin dry to prevent rubbing off top layers of skin that hold moisture.
- Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream immediately after drying the skin to add hydration to your skin.
Three simple ways to increase skin health and hydration:
Restore the humidity while sleeping.
Use a humidifier in your room to maintain air moisture in your home. There are two types of humidifiers available: ultrasonic and evaporative. Ultrasonic humidifiers produce mist from high-frequency sound vibrations. Unfortunately, most humidifiers do not boil water to produce a mist. So there’s a chance these humidifiers can cause bacteria to be airborne. Evaporative humidifiers boil the water with a fan to blow the water mist into the air to increase humidity.
What if you don’t want to go out and buy an ultrasonic or evaporative humidifier? Good news! You can make a DIY humidifier at home. Just place a large pot of boiling water in a room. A simple pot of boiling water will help replenish humidity in any room. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like eucalyptus or lavender. And handle it with care to avoid skin burns.
Drink adequate amounts of water to hydrate from within your body. Limit your consumption of alcohol, coffee, and tea as these drinks tend to cause dehydration. The minute you experience symptoms of dehydration, drink several glasses of water as soon as possible.
According to ElderHealth’s Nurse Practitioner Melissa Koon “20 percent of your daily fluid should come from the foods you eat. Fruits, vegetables, and soups are some of the best food sources of fluid.” She also lists fruits, vegetables, water, and other edible options that help hydrate the body in a Dehydration Prevention presentation.
Eat foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables.
Foods that promote skin health and come packed with nutrients are:
- Salmon, fatty fish
- Sunflower seeds
- Sweet potato
- Red and yellow bell peppers
Now, it’s time to go grocery shopping! Load up your cart full of fresh foods for healthy skin. Learn more about healthy foods and insights in my other blog called: Earth’s Medicine: Nutrient-Rich Foods for Senior Health.