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Supple Skin for Seniors

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Everyone wants skin as soft as a baby's bottom. Well, it's easier than you might think.It's true that the skin degenerates as we age. Muscle tone decreases and with gravity's help, facial tissues sag.

Everyone wants skin as soft as a baby's bottom. Well, it's easier than you might think.

It's true that the skin degenerates as we age. Muscle tone decreases and with gravity's help, facial tissues sag. Some people get jowls and bags under the eyes. There is also less oil and sweat gland secretion, which leads to drier skin. Normally, the fibres in the skin that allow elasticity and resilience lay in an organized fashion. In older skin, these fibres become abnormal and clump together. Suppleness and firmness decrease due to a breakdown in collagen and elastin.

Many sun worshippers in particular have prominent wrinkling, expression lines, furrowing and visible changes in skin pigmentation. Although moderate sun exposure is essential for the production of vitamin D, too much sun can cause uneven tanning, solar lentigo (brown, liver-shaped age spots) and seborrheic keratoses, which are thick, raised yellow, red, brown or whitish-gray growths found on the back of hands, faces, lower lips and bald scalps.

To support aging skin from the inside, it's important to eat a nutritious diet containing vitamins and minerals that support this protective organ. One tasty breakfast rich in essential fatty acids is Swiss muesli made with rolled oats soaked overnight and freshly ground flax seeds. The vitamin A in carrots, tomatoes and green, leafy vegetables is essential for skin growth and repair. Sulphur will also keep your skin youthful. It can be obtained by eating onions, eggs, asparagus and garlic or in capsule form at health food stores. A special anti-dry-skin drink can be concocted by adding one tablespoon (15 ml) each of watercress, carrot and spinach juice to one glass (250 ml) of tomato juice, two tablespoons (30 ml) wheat germ oil and one tablespoon (15 ml) nutritional yeast. Drink this each morning for good results.

Externally, the best time to moisturize skin is right after a bath or shower. This allows you to lock in the water at the skin's surface. You might want to try formulations that include the essential oils menthol or camphor, which have soothing and cooling properties. During the winter months, cracking on fingers, heels and toes tends to get worse. Massage the skin with creams containing vitamin E, aloe vera, calendula cream or the essential oil comfrey. Putting plastic gloves over moisturized hands to sleep in can make a big difference to dry skin.

Were you hoping acne was behind you? Sorry. Clogged pores and oily skin are a frequent occurrence in seniors. Simmer a combination of licorice root, rose buds and lemon grass in a pan of water. Then give yourself a facial sauna using a towel over your head to trap the steam. Finish off with a refreshing splash of cold water to tighten the pores. For combination and dry skin, replace the above herbs with lavender, camomile and peppermint.

Rosacea, a form of acne, will give you the appearance of constant red skin on your chin, cheeks and forehead and/or inflamed pustules on your nose. The cause is yet unknown, but avoiding hot liquids, spicy food, alcohol and extreme cold or hot conditions can alleviate the condition. Try the homeopathic remedy Apis for rosy, tender skin conditions in pill, tincture or gel form. Make sure to increase the amounts of flax seed and primrose oils in your diet, which aid in healing skin disorders.

Intertrigo is an uncomfortable condition caused when skin surfaces rub against each other. It is usually found in the groin, under the arms or breasts and on the inner thighs. Keeping these areas dry and clean is a necessity to avoid bacterial growth and sores. A hair dryer set on "cool" and followed up with arrowroot powder or corn starch several times a day can keep the condition at bay. Also add garlic and acidophilus to your diet to keep unhealthy Candida bacteria under control.

Bruising, or senile purpura, is common amongst seniors. Even the slightest skin trauma, such as placing elbows on the table, can result in a bruise. Taking three grams of vitamin C with bioflavonoids daily can help with blood clotting. A dosage of 15,000 IU of vitamin A daily will aid in the healing and development of new skin tissue and 50 mg of zinc daily will assist in tissue repair.

Senile pruritus, or itching, is another common complaint. Many times it alerts doctors of an underlying medical problem. However, itching can also appear on its own without a rash or predisposing reason. The increase of dry skin becomes an aggravating factor, made worse in the winter by low humidity and dry indoor heat. Sometimes the skin is so dry that it cracks and fissures. A topical homeopathic anti-itch cream containing Apis may be helpful.

Rules for a Long Life After 60

  1. See your doctor regularly.
  2. Realize that life begins at 60, but everything starts to wear out, fall out or spread out.
  3. Smile. It takes 46 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile.
  4. Exercise physically. Go dancing three times a week. Social walking is a must.
  5. Take vitamins A, B, C and E at least once a day.
  6. Drink eight glasses of water not coffee or cola daily.
  7. Stop smoking it's a disease. I lost a wife and two brothers to smoking.
  8. Doctors, US Congress and the Canadian Parliament have said that secondhand smoke is as dangerous as smoking. Protect my health. Quit.
  9. Sit quietly for 10 minutes a day. Think about nothing. Fill your mind with emptiness.
  10. Clean the inside as well as the outside. Bowel movements after breakfast and enemas once a week keep colon cancer away.
  11. Eat fruits and vegetables each day in their natural, organic state if possible. This is essential.
  12. Take one teaspoon (five ml) of blackstrap molasses daily to keep cancer away.
  13. Combine one teaspoon (five ml) each of apple cider vinegar and honey in one-half cup (125 ml) of warm water. Drink this daily.
  14. Avoid white flour and white bread. Eat brown and whole-grain bread.
  15. Do as the Romans did. Avoid processed foods. Use garlic and vinegar.
  16. Consume onions, carrots, celery, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.
  17. Supplement with potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
  18. Lower high blood pressure and stress hypertension by eating potassium-rich foods: three bananas a day. Combine one tablespoon (15 ml) of honey, one half-cup (125 ml) vanilla yogurt, one-quarter cup (60 ml) of pineapple juice. Eat it with cantaloupe, bananas and orange juice.
  19. Don't forget, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It's the truth.
  20. Slow down. The heart is a highly complex muscle-pump and valve system that must respond quickly to your body's needs, whether it's sleeping or climbing stairs. It's another thing that wears out after 60.

Source: Reg Hall is a 90-year-old alive reader living in Mississauga, ON.

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