Good skin care helps to prevent chronic wounds and caring for your skin is a life time activity. Keeping the skin protected from the sun, hydrated and moisturised all help to prevent skin being dry and damaged and more susceptible to wound damage.

Sun protection

Protecting skin from the harmful aspects of the sun is important at any age. Sun damage ages the skin and contributes to loss of skin strength through degradation of elastin and collagen in the skin. Avoid sunbathing and wear a hat, loose-fitting clothes, sunglasses and SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen when outdoors.

Hydration

The layers of the skin are up to 85% water so  drinking sufficient non-alcohol and non-caffeinated fluids will keep your skin hydrated and aid in providing the right environment for wound healing (unless there is a medical reason to restrict your fluid intake).

Managing dry skin

Dry skin is fragile and more susceptible to cuts and abrasions. Dryness of the skin is common particularly during cold or dry weather or when humidity is low.

Dryness and irritation can be exacerbated for some people by perfumed soaps, chlorinated swimming pools and long or too hot showers. If this is an issue try using soaps and shampoos that are ‘neutral’ and pH-balanced (neither too acidic nor too alkaline

Regular application of moisturiser also helps prevent and manage dry skin. When applying moisturiser to the arms or legs it is best to do it with downward strokes as massaging upward forces the cream/ointment into the hair follicles which can cause folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles)

Skin care for heels and feet

The skin over the heels is particularly vulnerable to drying out and cracking or causing skin splits or fissures. These fissures can be painful and lead to infection as it becomes and easy area for bacteria to enter.

It is also susceptible to pressure from tight shoes, or from placing the heel on the floor or bed for long periods of time. Regularly moisturising your heels helps to protect against drying and hardening and increases resistance to pressure. Any heel balm containing 25% urea (a moisturising and softening agent) will help to keep the heel moist and supple.

If you have difficulty bending, use a small mirror on the floor or attached to a stick to look at the bottoms of your feet to ensure that you do not have any cuts, blisters or other wounds

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References

Association for the Advancement of Wound Care

Lindsay leg club