Our skin health is affected by various things. Age is one of the most well-known factor which is said to change the condition of our skin. You might find out that you are having different skin condition from the time when you were much younger. Skin elasticity, firmness, and glow are visible and most affected by these inducing factors. Along with your aging, your skin may be less firm, less flexible and elastic, drier, and easier to get some bruises. Therefore, the elderly seems to easily experience skin tears, which can be harmful when untreated.
Why skin tear is common in elderly?
People above eighty years old are the most susceptible to skin tears issue as their skin have experienced a lifetime exposure to sunlight and other hazardous elements. Some physiological changes contribute to this problem. Along the age, human skin is experiencing thinning surface which happens to the dermis and epidermis. This will decrease the level of skin tightness and results in less firm skin. The thinning of the dermis layer also causes skin tissues to loosen up and therefore, contribute also to the whole skin firmness. Aging also limits blood circulation, which causes the skin cells to get limited oxygen. Thus, production of collagen decreases overtime, causing the skin to over dry. Less blood circulation also loosen up the fat layer and decrease the ability of skin nerves to spot any disturbances. Hence, older adults might not be aware of skin tears unless told or see blood spots on their clothes.
Is skin tear in elderly harmful?
Although skin tears in adults may heal completely when properly treated, the risk of infection may occur with those suffering from diabetes and thyroid-related diseases. Therefore, preventing elderly from having skin tears is very important, as this skin problem is often initially unnoticed, which enlarge the risk of infected wound.
Managing skin tear in elderly
Skin tears in elderly is basically similar to typical wounds, such as cuts, punctures, and scrapes.However, as this is classified as an acute wound which should be sutured to promote proper healing. In younger adults, sutures can be easily performed by medical practitioner. Yet, older adults possess more fragile skin which makes suture, stitches, or staples is not advisable. As the replacement, closure of skin tears can be done by applying adhesive strip onto the wounded area. However, this method might be ineffective when the skin is excessively inflexible, as the removal of adhesive strip might cause re-damage to the dermis. Todays, researchers have found that the use of nonstick or petrolatum wound dressing is more advisable, as it can be easily removed after the tear heals. Hydrogels or hydrogel sheet is one effective for this dilemmatic skin problem. Other treatments are similar to typical wound healing treatments, such as stop the bleeding, removing existing debris, dressing the wound and change it regularly, and watch for infection risk.
Preventing skin tears in elderly
Preventing skin tears in elderly is important to avoid complicated treatment which will be needed when the elderly are suffering from this problem. There are some things which can be done in minimizing the risk of experiencing skin tears.
- Create a safe environment for the elderly to prevent the risk of skin tears. Providing adequate lighting will help the elderly to avoid sharp objects and corners which may cause skin tears. Padding bed rails, armchairs, wheelchairs, or walkers might be helpful in preventing skin tears.
- Maintaining basic skin health by giving beneficial supplement for older adults or by controlling the healthy diets.
- Hydrating elderly skin can also help preventing extreme skin dryness. Applying hypoallergenic moisturizer helps hydrating dry aged skin.