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Common Skin Conditions That Affect Older Adults

Common Skin Conditions That Affect Older Skin

As we age, our skin becomes more susceptible and vulnerable to damage from external factors like UV exposure, injuries, and developing skin disorders. Understanding the common skin conditions that affect older skin is key to prevention and maintaining your skin’s health.

Common Skin Conditions That Affect Older Skin

Skin Cancer:

The risk of developing skin cancer increases as we get older. Our skin naturally thins as it ages, allowing more UV damage to reach deeper layers of tissue. 

For older adults in Key West and Islamorada, our year-round bright, sunny weather could be causing invisible damage that may lead to skin cancer. Staying protected outdoors could reduce your risks:

  • Always wear sunscreen and protective layers
  • Reapply your sun protectant at least every 2 hours, or more frequently if you’re in the water or sweating
  • Try to avoid being outdoors during peak sun hours
  • Use beach umbrellas, shady trees, or public pavilions to minimize sun exposure

Self-exams and annual skin cancer screenings at Keys Dermatology should also be a part of your health routine. These thorough skin inspections could help to identify pre-cancerous growths called actinic keratosis, or other signs of cancer for early intervention. 


Thinner, older skin is more prone to irritation and rashes. As the skin becomes more sensitive, it may respond differently to certain allergens, weather changes, or other external irritants. 

Because older skin can be more sensitive and vulnerable to injury and infection, it’s important not to ignore rashes that may occur. Over-the-counter topical ointments and creams can provide relief and help the healing process, but if you have a persistent or re-occurring rash, it may be time to book an appointment with your dermatologist. This may be a sign of a different problem, such as psoriasis or eczema.

At Keys Dermatology, our team of skin health experts is well-versed in identifying a myriad of rash types and causes. We can develop an effective treatment regimen for you, so you can feel comfortable and confident in your skin.

Dry Skin:

Aging skin tends to retain moisture less effectively, which may cause dryness. Dry skin is vulnerable skin, as it is more susceptible to injury, particularly pressure sores, cuts, and scrapes. 

Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized as you get older not only preserves your skin’s youthful radiance, it also helps to keep your body’s first line of defense healthy and strong. Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day and use nourishing, hydrating skincare products – especially on the areas of the body that receive the most light exposure, like the face, neck, arms, and hands.

Older Skin and Collagen Loss:
Our bodies naturally produce less collagen as we age. On average, collagen production is reduced by 5 - 10% every 5 years beginning around age 30. 

The effects of collagen loss might not be immediately apparent, but for older adults dealing with fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin, reduced collagen production is the most common culprit. More importantly, collagen is a key factor in maintaining your skin’s flexibility and suppleness, which can help prevent minor injuries.

Thankfully, there are ways to help boost natural collagen production and restore lost skin volume and elasticity. At Keys Dermatology, we offer a range of dermal fillers that include hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring compound in the skin that helps restore loss volume and increase collagen.

Bruising and Injuries:

As we touched on previously, thinner, aging skin is more vulnerable to injuries like bruises, scrapes, cuts, and abrasions. It may also take longer to heal, which creates a greater chance of infection or scarring. Slowly healing wounds could also be a sign of underlying health conditions like diabetes, peripheral artery disease (PAD), or immunodeficiency disorders. 

If this sounds familiar, seeing a dermatologist like Dr. Stephanie Altmann at Keys Dermatology could put you on the right track for improving your overall health. As a physician and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Altmann is well-versed in identifying the signs of co-occurring medical conditions that may be affecting your skin’s health. 

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Altmann or any of our knowledgeable and experienced providers today by calling 305.664.8828 or using our convenient 24-hour online scheduler.

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