Skin is the largest organ in the body. It has a variety of functions including:
- Keeping all the important stuff inside 😉
- Temperature regulation
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- Protection from:
- UV damage
- Fluid and electrolyte loss
- Absorption of some vitamins like Vitamin D
What are the normal effects of aging on skin?
- Fatty layers
- Collagen and elastin fibres
- Dermal thickness (thinning of the skin)
- Sweat glands
- Subcutaneous tissue (the layer of tissue just under the skin)
- Time for epidermal regeneration (it takes longer for the bottom layer of skin to regenerate)
- Thermal regulation
All these factors combine to place the elderly person at greater risk for injury such as skin tears or pressure injuries and need to be managed well at home and in care.
It is also important for us to keep an eye on the skin integrity in therapy. This helps us to determine which dressing to use, whether to use an adhesive to hold the dressing in tact, how often to change the dressing/bandage, moisture and of course hygiene.
Following an injury to the skin scar tissue is formed. Unfortunately the scar tissue does not have all the amazing benefits of skin and therefore needs special consideration. Scars do not have the same ability to regulate temperature, protect from UV damage or balance fluids and electrolytes. With major scarring this becomes a major effort for the person and therapist to manage. I will write a further post more on scar tissue in the future.
Our skin comes in many colours and no matter the colour of yours I think you will agree it is pretty awesome 🙂