Skin, an average of twenty-one square feet, is the largest body organ and the only organ on our outside. Every organ and body system is protected by skin. Bacteria prevention, body temperature, and using pigments to counteract the effects of ultraviolet rays are a few functions of skin.

Skin requires more protection with age. Bones and veins are more visible as skin becomes thinner and contains less fat. Brown “age” spots suddenly appear. Blood thinning medication causes skin to be more susceptible to cuts and bruises. Healing takes longer.

Sunlight may be blamed for many of the skin elements appearing in later years. Remember sunbathing as a teenager? Slathering on the suntan lotion, even baby oil or iodine? Sun once worshipped now causes skin to lose elasticity and form wrinkles. Decreased fluid intake results in dry, itchy skin. Age (liver) spots and skin tags appear in later years. Although lacking in beauty, these are usually harmless. Age spots, a result of excessive sun in younger years, also may be hereditary.

Twenty percent of Americans will develop skin cancer in some form before the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the least dangerous form while Melanoma is a more serious type of skin cancer. Annual checkups with a dermatologist help prevent serious skin damage or cancers.

Solutions to keeping skin looking young and being healthy are simple and direct. Stay hydrated… fifty to sixty percent of the body is water and without water skin dries out and is easily damaged. Wear protective clothing when outside… long sleeves, loose clothing and large-brimmed hats. Limit exposure to sun and do not let cloudy days fool you: dangerous UV rays still exist in overcast weather. Wear plenty of sunscreen and reapply protection every two to four hours. Avoid tanning beds and try one of the tanning lotions available. Apply lotion liberally after showering or bathing. Stick to a nutritious diet.

Bridge to Better Living assists Seniors locate Independent, Assisted, Memory Assisted, or Long-Term Care Communities. Consultants are experts in Senior Health. Call Bridge to Better Living today and discover how they could put sunshine in your life… safely.