The prevalence of dry skin is as high as 85% in the elderly population, with almost all being affected to some degree by the age of 70 years.
As skin ages, collagen and elastin fibers decrease along with total skin thickness. A direct result of the decreased thickness is a decrease in water and lipid (fat) content, sebum production, and sweating resulting in dryer skin. These degenerative changes result in a change of the skin structure and over time begin to affect the dermal vasculature.
A therapeutic moisturizer will rehydrate the skin barrier, increase water content, reduce transepidermal (internal) water loss and restore the lipid’s water barrier function. Moisturizing locks in the skin’s own water to prevent dryness, cracking and tearing. A therapeutic moisturizer will have emollient, occlusive and humectant properties. Emollients smooth skin by filling spaces between skin flakes with droplets of oil. Occlusives are substances that physically block transepidermal water loss within the skin layers. Humecants attract natural water from within the skin.
Tips When Using a Therapeutic Moisturizer
• A thick product such as a salve, or ointment type cream works best
• Take a dollop of moisturizer from the jar, soften it by rubbing it between your hands, and apply it using the palm of your hand stroking in a downward direction.
• Do not rub the skin
• Leave a tacky film of moisturizer on your skin; it will be absorbed into the skins epidermis (top layer) in a few minutes.
• Continue use of the therapeutic moisturizer even after the affected area heals to prevent recurrence.