08 Sep 5 Skin Care Tips to Prevent Wounds
By Maureen Vantine, MSN, FNP-BC, ANP-BC
Chief Nursing Officer and Co-Founder at Mendota Health
“Grandma!” Grace sobbed, “I fell off my bike and I’m bleeding!”. Sharon ran to her granddaughter to take a look at the injury. Grace had suffered a minor scratch that would heal easily by keeping it clean. For Sharon, a 72-year-old, a small scratch like this is more serious and complicated to heal. She has been nursing a chronic wound on her leg for the past 3 months that was caused by a small scratch. She has been doing what she can to heal it, changing the wound dressing and wrapping it with a compression bandage. But, her leg is still swollen and aches constantly making it difficult to keep up with her granddaughter. “Oh, to be young again!” thought Sharon. How wonderful it would be to heal as quickly and completely as her granddaughter.
It’s true that as we age, our skin doesn’t heal as quickly as it did when we were children, but there are plenty of lifestyle modifications we can employ right now to protect our skin, prevent chronic wounds, and help our skin look and feel healthier.
1. Moisturize and Hydrate
Aging skin becomes less elastic and is more prone to becoming dry and cracking, leading to wounds that can be difficult to heal. Prevent dry skin and cracking by adhering to a good moisturizing routine. After a shower or bath, pat your skin dry, and apply fragrance-free cream while your skin is still damp to help lock in moisture. Using a humidifier in your home can also be helpful, and don’t forget to drink 6-8 glasses of water/day.
Staying as active as possible is important for skin health. Activity increases blood flow which leads to improved oxygenation of the skin and other tissues. Find an activity that you love and make time for it daily. The increased blood flow will keep your skin strong and prevent chronic wounds, allowing you to do even more of what you love!
Protein, as well as Vitamins A, B, C, E and zinc are essential to skin health and wound prevention and healing. Strive to eat a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables and high in protein.
4. Smoking Cessation
Nicotine causes constriction of the blood vessels which leads to poor blood flow and less oxygenation to the tissues. In combination with the general thinning of the skin which occurs as part of the normal aging process, this is the perfect storm for wound development and poor wound healing. If you’re still smoking, this is one of many reasons to quit!
5. Sun Protection
UV Rays from the sun lead to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and skin cancer. It is best to start a sun protection regimen at a young age, but if you spent your younger years chasing that golden tan, it is not too late to start protecting your skin now! Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and wear light clothing to cover all exposed skin. When enjoying the outdoors, find a shady spot to sit when possible.
A good skin care routine keeps you looking young and healthy, and also prevents age-related complications such as chronic wounds. So go drink a large glass of water, take your vitamins, and moisturize, so you can continue to do the things you love without the burden of chronic wounds. A little prevention can help you live a life of vitality from childhood to your senior years!
Have you had a wound for more than a month? Contact us today to see if our mobile wound care clinic is available in your area.