- With Mayo Clinic dermatologist
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Dr. Lawrence Gibson likens bad health information on the Internet to food poisoning.
Consumers, he says, need to be aware and will find reliable information at MayoClinic.com.
Dr. Gibson, a Covington, Ky., native, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1986 and is board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and immunodermatology. He is a professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School and a consultant in the Department of Dermatology.
Dr. Gibson has served as the fellowship director for dermatopathology and as chair of the Laboratory Division in the Department of Dermatology. He is especially interested in inflammatory disorders of the skin, including vasculitis, and in lymphoma affecting the skin.
"Electronic information has become a staple in the diet of a health conscious society," he says. "It's important to avoid misinformation and provide a credible source for health information. Using this analogy, it's critical to avoid 'indigestion' or, worse yet, 'food poisoning' by the ingestion of tainted information."
Thin skin? Added protection helps
My mother is 85 years old. Her skin is so thin that if she bumps against something, her skin tears open. Why is this, and what can we do about it?
from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Fragile or thin skin that tears easily is a fairly common problem, especially in older adults. Aging, sun exposure and genetics all play a role in thinning skin. Certain medications, such as long-term use of oral or topical corticosteroids, can also weaken skin and the blood vessels in the skin.
Thin skin isn't necessarily a sign of a serious underlying medical condition but should be evaluated by a doctor to determine its cause.
To protect thin skin and prevent tears and cuts:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats.
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure.
- If you must be outside in the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
- Keep skin well moisturized and protected by using a quality moisturizing cream, such as Vanicream, Cetaphil or Eucerin.
- Talk to your doctor about treating skin with vitamin A (retinol) which may improve the skin's ability to tolerate injuries.
- Skin care and aging. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/skin.htm. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Causes of aging skin. AgingSkinNet — American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/basicfacts.html. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Cannon GW. Immunosuppressing drugs including corticosteroids. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2011.
- Sunscreens. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Mature Skin. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/mature-skin. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Farage MA, et al. Clinical implications of aging skin: Cutaneous disorders in the elderly. America Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2009:10;73.
- Kafi R, et al. Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol). Archives of Dermatology. 2007:143;606.