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Skin Problems

Is yellowing or dryness of the skin normal in old age?
Yes, wrinkling, sagging, laxity, dryness, yellowing & pigmentation are all common in old age.
Are these induced by the sun or other external factors?
While most of the reasons for the skin changes are genetically determined and intrinsic to our body, some conditions such as yellowing (Citrine Skin of Milan) are usually sun-induced. Some problems are caused specifically by UV radiation.
Can some of these changes be prevented or reversed?
Yes, it has been shown that to some extent certain medicines when applied regularly can prevent or remove wrinkles and thicken the dermis. But, they have to be used for several years and may cause skin irritations. Please consult a skin specialist before applying them.
What are the common skin problems of the elderly in India?
The following are the common skin problems faced by the elderly in India. (Please consult a skin specialist before starting any treatment. The information provided is only meant to be a guide.)
  • Erysipelas: This is an infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria. The disease starts abruptly with fever and rigors and raised red plaque. This has to be treated with antibiotics like Penicillan otherwise it may cause serious complications especially in Diabetics.
  • Scabies: This is a disease caused by an itch-mite. It may present as a few papules in the penis or scrotum with generalised itching, or maybe spread all over the body when the infection is severe. It is usually treated with Gammabenzene hexachloride and Pyrethrin.
  • Fungal Infections especially in the groins are quite common and treated with medicines like Tolnaftate.
  • Herpes Zoster is the most common viral infection in old age. It is a sequel to Chicken Pox that occurs in younger age. This spreads along the area supplied by a particular nerve. Sometimes, over the chest or near the eye, there maybe excessive pain restricted to one side of the body. Then, groups of blisters may appear. The most problematic situation is when the neuralgia (pain along the nerve) persists long after the skin lesions have healed. Treatment is with tranquilisers, anti-depressants. Vit-E Ointments may also be prescribed by the skin specailist. Sometimes when pain is intractable, surgery maybe required. 
  • Eczema: This is a conditon where the skin reacts usually to cold weather by blistering, oozing, scaling or thickening. It is usually present on the feet and legs and is treated with steroid applications. The condition usually improves when the weather is normal.
  • Pruritus: This is a common problem in the elderly presenting with a dry skin and severe itching. It is aggravated by hot baths. The itching  is more in the nights. It maybe a sign of other diseases in the liver, kidneys and so on. So it is very important that all skin problems should be attended to promptly by a skin specialist.
  • Pemphigoid is a disease exclusive to the elderly. Large blisters and bullae may appear for about 1-3 years after which they spontaneously remit. This is a type of auto-immune disease.
  • Pellagra: This is a condition caused due to deficiency of Niacin which is a vitamin essetial for the body. Diarrhoea, Dementia and Dermatitis are the presenting problems. The skin on the hands, forearms, V of the neck and the face is most often affected. Weakness and depression should not be mistaken for senile dementia. ITreatment is with Nicotinic Acid which gives dramatic improvements.
  • Tumours of the skin may occur in old age but details of these are as of now beyond the scope of this website.






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Anti-aging creams are very popular now.

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Always consult a specialist for your skin problems.

Collagen & Liquid Silicone Injections





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Alternative Medicine
& Aging
Diabetes & Exercise
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Skin Problems
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