Tips for Healthcare Providers Caring for Patients with Skin Changes« Back to Articles
It is common for healthcare providers to see patients that are concerned about changes in their skin. Some skin changes are normal and to be expected as a person ages. However, your patients must be aware of changes that could indicate a more serious problem.
Some common skin changes that occur with age include:
- Wrinkles: Wrinkles are caused by the skin's loss of collagen and elastin. These are the proteins that give skin strength and elasticity.
- Age spots: These are small, brown spots that can appear on the skin. They are caused by the build-up of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.
- Dry skin: Dry skin is common as you age because the skin produces less natural oil.
- Thinning skin: Skin becomes thinner as you age. This makes it more susceptible to injury and infection.
- Sagging skin: Sagging skin is caused by the loss of muscle and fat under the skin.
While the above skin changes are perfectly normal, some patients may worry about skin changes caused by natural ageing. It can help offer gentle support, reassurance, and advice about ways to help prevent or reduce the appearance of skin changes associated with ageing if it is causing your patient's high anxiety levels.
This advice can include:
- Wear sunscreen: Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin ageing. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily, even on cloudy days.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can damage collagen and elastin, leading to premature skin ageing.
- Eat a healthy diet: It can help nourish the skin and keep it looking its best.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your skin hydrated and looking its best.
- Get regular exercise: Exercise helps to improve circulation and can help to keep your skin looking healthy.
- Use moisturizer: Moisturizing your skin helps to keep it hydrated and to look its best.
In addition to the above, healthcare providers can help patients worried about changes in their skin in the following ways:
- Be patient and understanding: It is essential to be patient and understanding with patients who are worried about changes in their skin. Ageing is a natural process, and it is important to help patients accept their changing appearance.
- Encourage healthy lifestyle choices: Encourage patients to make healthy choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. These choices can help to slow the ageing process and improve overall health.
- Reassure patients: Reassure patients that any changes in their skin are likely to be minor and that they can take steps to manage them.
Practitioner Development UK (PDUK) is a leading provider of continuing professional development (CPD) courses for healthcare professionals. We offer a wide range of courses, delivered both virtually and in-house.
We highly recommend the following two courses related to managing patient skin changes in primary care settings:
AR94 Recognising and managing acute skin conditions in primary care: Online
Develop Your Dermatology Assessment Skills with This Online Course.
Dermatological conditions are commonly seen in primary care, but even the most common presentations often challenge healthcare practitioners. This online course will give you the confidence and skills to assess and safely manage acute skin conditions.
What You'll Learn:
- How to perform a comprehensive skin assessment
- The most common acute skin conditions and their management
- Differential Diagnoses in Dermatology
- Dermatological treatments and best practice
- How to deal with exacerbated chronic dermatological conditions
- When to refer to secondary care
A137 Dermatological conditions in the older adult
Improve Your Dermatology Skills to Better Care for Older Patients.
Most dermatological conditions occur in all age groups, but specific skin problems are more common in older adults. To provide quality, safe care, healthcare providers who work with this patient population must be aware of these conditions, how they present, possible differential diagnoses, and best treatment regimes. This confidence-building course aims to help community-based qualified healthcare providers meet these challenges within an evidence-based context.
What You'll Learn:
- How to assess and manage common dermatological conditions in older adults
- The changing physiology of ageing skin and how it affects dermatological conditions
- Differential Diagnoses in older adult dermatology
- Best practices for treating dermatological conditions in older adults
- How to make appropriate referrals