Skin infections and ageing

Ageing Res Rev. 2004 Jan;3(1):69-89. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2003.08.003.


Elderly individuals have an increased susceptibility to skin infections due to age-related anatomical, physiological and environmental factors. The types of organisms that cause primary skin and soft tissue infections are diverse, and include bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens as well as parasites. In the elderly, these infections and infestations may present with atypical signs and symptoms or may complicate underlying chronic skin disorders. Clinical features, investigations and management of the following important and common skin infections are described in more detail: cellulitis, erysipelas, necrotizing fasciitis, impetigo, folliculitis, furunculosis and carbunculosis, erythrasma, herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia, herpes simplex, warts, molluscum contagiosum, dermatophytosis of the skin, hair and nails, candidiasis, and scabies. Treatment should be based on the results of the appropriate diagnostic tests. Correct diagnosis and therapy of skin infections lead to satisfactory outcome in the majority of elderly patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging* / immunology
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Dermatomycoses / drug therapy
  • Dermatomycoses / immunology
  • Dermatomycoses / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Scabies / drug therapy
  • Scabies / immunology
  • Scabies / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / immunology
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / immunology
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / physiopathology*
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / immunology
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / physiopathology