If you stop to think about it, our skin is an amazing organ. But, like most other parts of the body, it can sometimes develop problems of one type or another.
Some of these issues become more common as we get older. So recently, my publisher at Good Times asked me to write an article about a few skin conditions that affect adults 55 and older.
First on the list alphabetically: actinic keratosis, an area of sun-damaged skin that can, in a minority of cases, to go on to become a form of skin cancer.
Secondly: some subtypes of eczema. These include one that causes skin to become very dry, and sometimes even cracked and itchy. Another can be triggered by a reaction to certain medications.
Then there’s rosacea. As with eczema, there’s more than one type. Symptoms can include small pimples and bumps, and ruddiness, redness or flushing of the skin.
Finally, people in their 50s and above are the prime candidates for two potentially more serious skin problems.
Shingles—which can cause a very painful rash, typically on one side of the body—can potentially lead to complications such as long-term nerve pain. That’s why you may want to ask your primary care provider about getting vaccinated for shingles, if they haven’t already discussed this possibility with you.
Finally, the incidence of skin cancer increases with age. Any mole or spot that spontaneously bleeds, and is not healing or has been growing for over a month needs to be checked by a health care provider.
Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage all of these conditions.
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so generously shared their time and expertise:
Dr. Lyne Giroux, a dermatologist at the Sudbury Skin Clinique in Sudbury, Ont., and a spokesperson for the Canadian Dermatology Association.
Dr. Cheryl Rosen, a dermatologist at Toronto Western Hospital/UHN; a professor at the University of Toronto, and a member of the Canadian Dermatology Association’s Sun Awareness Working Group.
- Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada
- Canadian Dermatology Association
- Eczema Society of Canada
- Product Elimination Diet (Dr. Sandy Skotnicki)