This article discusses the effects of ageing on the skin, particularly the main structural and functional changes that occur in the epidermis and dermis that make the skin more vulnerable to damage. Specific alterations that occur with ageing include slower epidermal turnover, flattening of the epidermal-dermal junction, loss of moisture and hydration as well as reduced immunity placing the skin at increased risk of damage. The discussion will also examine common periwound complications associated with ageing including; maceration, excoriation, dry skin, hyperkeratosis, callus, contact dermatitis and eczema. Strategies to manage these problems and interventions to reduce the risk of these complications include moisturising the skin to make it more resilient, debriding keratinised and callus tissue in the periwound area, appropriate choice of dressings to manage excessive exudate, careful removal of dressings as well as treating inflammatory conditions of the periwound skin.
Keywords: Bandages; Callosities; Contact dermatitis; Dermis; Eczema; Epidermis; Skin; Wound.