By Holly M. Hovan, MSN, GERO-BC, APRN, CWOCN-AP
Most of us are familiar with the terms "prednisone skin," "thin skin," "fragile skin," or "easily bruises." One or all of these phrases are commonly used to describe our geriatric population's aging skin. As we age, so does our skin. Older adults have older skin. Skin loses elasticity and often gains wrinkles. Skin conditions that may never have been present earlier in life can crop up with aging. Keep in mind that the environment and different exposures (to sunlight, smoking, and stress) can cause our skin to age differently. Additionally, certain drugs, obesity, diet or lifestyle, habits, exercise, repetitive movements, and family history can also influence how our skin ages. Exposure to radiation (for cancer treatment) can also cause skin changes several years after treatment is complete. Regardless of the reason, as we age, our skin composition changes, and undoubtedly the risk for skin tears increases.