Skin disorders in elderly subjects

Int J Dermatol. 2015 Sep;54(9):e332-8. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12832. Epub 2015 Jul 3.


Background: Skin problems in the elderly population have rarely been the subject of scientific research.

Objectives: The present study aimed to determine the prevalences of the most common dermatological conditions in elderly subjects and to investigate their associations with systemic diseases.

Methods: The study involved a group of 198 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years who were admitted to the Departments of Dermatology and Geriatrics at the study institution. All participants were thoroughly evaluated in a clinical interview and physical examination in which special emphasis was placed on dermatological issues.

Results: All subjects presented at least one dermatological condition. A significant correlation was found between the number of systemic diseases and the number of different skin lesions observed. The most common skin disorders included solar lentigines, senile angiomas, xerosis, seborrheic warts, varicose veins, edema of the lower legs, and pruritus. Patients aged ≥ 75 years demonstrated solar lentigines, edema of the lower legs, clavi, solar keratoses, and onychomycosis significantly more often, whereas patients aged < 75 years suffered more frequently from psoriasis. Diabetes was associated with the development of onychomycosis; hypercholesterolemia promoted the incidence of xanthomas and drug-induced skin reactions; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was associated with senile purpura; and hypothyroidism favored the occurrence of varicose veins in the lower legs and telogen effluvium.

Conclusions: Skin disorders are common in elderly people. Systemic diseases promote the development of dermatological conditions. A comprehensive approach to health problems in elderly subjects requires knowledge of dermatology.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eczema / diagnosis
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Onychomycosis / diagnosis
  • Onychomycosis / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Pruritus / diagnosis
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Xanthomatosis / diagnosis*
  • Xanthomatosis / epidemiology