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A Survey of Skin Problems and Skin Care Regimens in the Elderly

A Survey of Skin Problems and Skin Care Regimens in the Elderly Abstract • In an attempt to provide clinically relevant data regarding both dermatologic disease and skin care needs in the elderly, 68 noninstitutionalized volunteers, aged 50 to 91 years (average age, 74 years), were enrolled in a study consisting of a 33-item questionnaire and a total cutaneous examination. Two thirds of the entire group and 83% of the 23 octogenarians reported medical concerns regarding their skin, with pruritus as the most frequent complaint. On examination, all subjects had at least one cutaneous abnormality, and symptomatic and/ or medically significant disorders were present in 64.7%. In decreasing order of prevalence, disorders for which dermatologic therapy was judged desirable included actinic keratoses, tinea pedis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, and skin cancer. Overall, there was rather poor correlation between the subjects' complaints and perceptions and objective physical findings. Further, despite a high prevalence and long average duration of dermatologic concerns, very few subjects had consulted a physician for these problems, and no complaints other than "rashes" and pruritus had ever been discussed with any health care professional. Review of skin care regimens revealed substantial limitations with regard to bathing, shampooing, and nail care, particularly for subjects aged 80 years or older. Despite a small sample size and possibility of selection bias among the subjects, these data strongly suggest that skin problems are common among the elderly and that at present their dermatologic needs are largely unmet. (Arch Dermatol 1987;123:1638-1643) References 1. Lane CG, Rockwood EM: Geriatric dermatoses . N Engl J Med 1949;241:772-777.Crossref 2. Wilson JL: Geriatric experiences with the Negro aged . Geriatrics 1953;8:88-92. 3. Droller H: Dermatologic findings in a random sample of old persons . Geriatrics 1955;10:421-424. 4. Young AW: Dermatologic complaints presented by 330 geriatric patients . Geriatrics 1958;13:428-434. 5. Welton DG, Greenberg BG: Trends in office practice of dermatology: I. Arch Dermatol 1961;83:355-360, 378.Crossref 6. Tindall JP, Smith JG: Skin lesions of the aged and their association with internal changes . JAMA 1963;186:73-76.Crossref 7. Welton DG, Greenberg BG: Trends in office practice of dermatology: III . Arch Dermatol 1964;90:296-304.Crossref 8. Verbov J: Skin problems in the older patient . Practitioner 1975;215:612-622. 9. Weismann K, Krakauer R, Wanscher B: Prevalence of skin diseases in old age . Acta Derm Venereol 1980;60:352-353. 10. US Dept Health and Human Services: Health United States, 1985. Dept Health and Human Services Publication No. (PHS) 86-1232. Hyattsville, Md, National Center for Health Services, 1985, pp 174. 11. Johnson MTL: Aging of the United States population: Dermatologic implications , in Gilchrest BA (ed): Dermatologic Clinics: The Aging Skin . Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1986, pp 371-378. 12. Todd M, Davis KE, Cafferty TP: Who volunteers for adult development research?: Research findings and practical steps to reach low volunteering groups . Int J Aging Hum Dev 1984;18:177-183.Crossref 13. Leader MA, Neuwirth E: Clinical research and the noninstitutional elderly: A model for subject recruitment . J Am Geriatr Soc 1978;26:27-31. 14. Palmore E: International Handbook on Aging: Contemporary Developments and Research . Westport, Conn, Greenwood Press, 1980, pp 39, 416, 434. 15. Magenhein MJ: Screening in the elderly , in Cauikins E, Davis PJ, Ford AB (eds): Practice of Geriatrics . Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1986. 16. Rubenstein LZ, Josephson KR, Nichol-Seamons M, et al: Comprehensive health screening of well elderly adults: An analysis of a community program . J Gerontol 1986;41:342-352.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Dermatology American Medical Association

A Survey of Skin Problems and Skin Care Regimens in the Elderly

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1987 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-987X
eISSN
1538-3652
DOI
10.1001/archderm.1987.01660360066014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract • In an attempt to provide clinically relevant data regarding both dermatologic disease and skin care needs in the elderly, 68 noninstitutionalized volunteers, aged 50 to 91 years (average age, 74 years), were enrolled in a study consisting of a 33-item questionnaire and a total cutaneous examination. Two thirds of the entire group and 83% of the 23 octogenarians reported medical concerns regarding their skin, with pruritus as the most frequent complaint. On examination, all subjects had at least one cutaneous abnormality, and symptomatic and/ or medically significant disorders were present in 64.7%. In decreasing order of prevalence, disorders for which dermatologic therapy was judged desirable included actinic keratoses, tinea pedis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, and skin cancer. Overall, there was rather poor correlation between the subjects' complaints and perceptions and objective physical findings. Further, despite a high prevalence and long average duration of dermatologic concerns, very few subjects had consulted a physician for these problems, and no complaints other than "rashes" and pruritus had ever been discussed with any health care professional. Review of skin care regimens revealed substantial limitations with regard to bathing, shampooing, and nail care, particularly for subjects aged 80 years or older. Despite a small sample size and possibility of selection bias among the subjects, these data strongly suggest that skin problems are common among the elderly and that at present their dermatologic needs are largely unmet. (Arch Dermatol 1987;123:1638-1643) References 1. Lane CG, Rockwood EM: Geriatric dermatoses . N Engl J Med 1949;241:772-777.Crossref 2. Wilson JL: Geriatric experiences with the Negro aged . Geriatrics 1953;8:88-92. 3. Droller H: Dermatologic findings in a random sample of old persons . Geriatrics 1955;10:421-424. 4. Young AW: Dermatologic complaints presented by 330 geriatric patients . Geriatrics 1958;13:428-434. 5. Welton DG, Greenberg BG: Trends in office practice of dermatology: I. Arch Dermatol 1961;83:355-360, 378.Crossref 6. Tindall JP, Smith JG: Skin lesions of the aged and their association with internal changes . JAMA 1963;186:73-76.Crossref 7. Welton DG, Greenberg BG: Trends in office practice of dermatology: III . Arch Dermatol 1964;90:296-304.Crossref 8. Verbov J: Skin problems in the older patient . Practitioner 1975;215:612-622. 9. Weismann K, Krakauer R, Wanscher B: Prevalence of skin diseases in old age . Acta Derm Venereol 1980;60:352-353. 10. US Dept Health and Human Services: Health United States, 1985. Dept Health and Human Services Publication No. (PHS) 86-1232. Hyattsville, Md, National Center for Health Services, 1985, pp 174. 11. Johnson MTL: Aging of the United States population: Dermatologic implications , in Gilchrest BA (ed): Dermatologic Clinics: The Aging Skin . Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1986, pp 371-378. 12. Todd M, Davis KE, Cafferty TP: Who volunteers for adult development research?: Research findings and practical steps to reach low volunteering groups . Int J Aging Hum Dev 1984;18:177-183.Crossref 13. Leader MA, Neuwirth E: Clinical research and the noninstitutional elderly: A model for subject recruitment . J Am Geriatr Soc 1978;26:27-31. 14. Palmore E: International Handbook on Aging: Contemporary Developments and Research . Westport, Conn, Greenwood Press, 1980, pp 39, 416, 434. 15. Magenhein MJ: Screening in the elderly , in Cauikins E, Davis PJ, Ford AB (eds): Practice of Geriatrics . Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1986. 16. Rubenstein LZ, Josephson KR, Nichol-Seamons M, et al: Comprehensive health screening of well elderly adults: An analysis of a community program . J Gerontol 1986;41:342-352.Crossref

Journal

Archives of DermatologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Dec 1, 1987

References