Skin Problems in Elderly People

Skin Problems in Elderly PeopleThe skin of elderly people becomes thinner, wrinkled and harder due to the gradual changes in fibrous, elastic parts of the skin that give it pliability and smoothness. These and other physical changes are irreversible; in the aging process the skin can become more sensitive to some disorders and illnesses that affects younger people. Additionally, as a person gets older, stains and unusually pigmented surfaces occur frequently (though sometimes without apparent reason) on the skin. These changes can appear and disappear, and generally should not be a cause for concern. Especially common is a disorder known as senile purpura (which is actually just a sign of skin aging and not a sign of some serious condition).

Senile purpura

Reddish-brown or violet stains, sometimes up to 50 mm wide or long, may appear anywhere on the body, even though they are most noticeable on the legs, forearms, or back of hands. Stains are the result of bleeding under the skin; blood slowly exits from tiny blood vessels that are damaged due to less skin elasticity. Although the blood is gradually reapsorbing, the process is irreversible and stains will probably reappear. Stains are otherwise harmless and you should not see the doctor because of them. If you just want him to confirm to you that you really have senile purpura, and not some incurable disorder, you can still consult a physician.


Unusually dry and itchy skin is also one of the unpleasant side effects of aging. If a permanent itching is bothering you, contact your doctor. He will examine you and check if you have a jaundice. If the cause if itching, and not a disease – which is usually the case – your doctor will probably recommend a ”moisturizing’cream or lotion (that contains lanolin) which should alleviate itching.