Fragile, thin skin that can tear or bruise easily is common among older adults and the elderly. It’s caused by a thinning of the epidermis – the outermost layer of skin. Symptoms include thin-looking, transparent skin (with veins visible) and skin that bruises or tears easily. Let’s look at what causes the condition and how to prevent thin skin injuries.

What causes thin skin?

According to Mayo Clinic, aging, sun exposure, genetics, and certain medications can weaken the skin. As people age, their collagen can begin to break down, the cells that make up the layers of their skin can shrink, and the fatty layer of tissue beneath their skin can begin to thin. Thinning, frail skin in older adults isn’t always caused by an underlying medical condition. However, it’s always best to have a medical professional assess your skin, especially if it tears often.

How to prevent thin skin injuries

  • Keep your skin out of sunlight. Avoid being in the sun for long periods, and apply SPF 30+ sunscreen at least every 2 hours.
  • Keep your skin moisturized. Use a quality moisturizing cream daily.
  • Keep it protected. Wear long sleeves and long pants when possible. Wear a thin-skin arm protector and/or a thin-skin leg protector.

Fragile, frail, and thinning skin is a common problem with older adults, the elderly, and people using some medications. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to help combat bruises and skin tears, and there are products available to help. Have a comment or question? Start a conversation in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and is provided for informational purposes only. Do not act or refrain from acting based on this information. Always seek advice from a medical professional for health concerns.