If you're currently helping out with the personal care of a loved one who has sensitive, dry skin, you may feel uncertain as to how to moisturize and protect his or her skin from injuries and moisture loss. Skin that loses moisture is prone to tears, bruising and sores. There are things you can do to ensure that your loved one's skin stays healthy, including these tips below.

Apply Coconut Oil to Your Loved One's Skin

Elderly individuals often develop dry skin when they can't drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Health problems, such as dysphagia and dementia, can affect their ability to swallow liquids without choking or coughing. These problems weaken your loved one's throat muscles so that they can't control how liquids travel down them. As a result, your loved one's skin doesn't receive the fluids it needs to stay moist.

Natural oils like coconut soak into the skin instead of staying on the outside of it. The oil also provides essential nutrients, such as vitamins E and A, that encourage the skin's cells to grow and rebuild themselves.

You can apply a quarter-sized amount of coconut oil to your loved one's legs, back, arms, and feet each morning or night to replenish his or her dry skin. It's best to apply the coconut oil right after bathing or showering your loved one.

Use a Mild Soap

Tap water contains hard water minerals, such as lime and calcium, that speed up the loss of moisture in the skin. These minerals coat the skin with a sticky film or residue that dries it out over time. You can use mild soap, such as infant baby cleanser, to help remove the minerals during his or her personal care.

Use Only Cotton Towels

In addition, thoroughly rinse your loved one's skin with warm water after each bath or shower, then gently dry his or her skin off with a towel made with 100 percent cotton. The cotton material glides over the skin without damaging it, which helps prevent skin tears and other injuries. You should avoid scratchy materials, like wool, that can traumatize or damage your loved one's skin.

Speak to Your Loved One's Doctor

One of the best ways to protect your loved one's delicate skin is to consult with his or her doctor. Although the doctor can't reveal personal information about your loved one's condition or health status due to patient confidentiality policies, the physician can offer tips on how to minimize damage to your loved one's skin during personal care.

If your loved one is under the care of personal care nurses, such as those from Argus Home Health Care, you can ask them how to care for your loved one's skin as well.