Parchment Skin

Parchment skin is a medical term for thin, dry and fragile skin that is easily injured. We encounter this issue quite often by patients of advanced age.



With age connective tissue quality gradually decreases, skin becomes thinner and loses its elasticity. Parchment skin is often seen in the elderly above 80 years of age. It is more evident in people with less amount of subcutaneous fat tissue.


Loss of fluids in the elderly leads to loss of skin turgor and already present skin thinning is by dehydration even more highlighted.

Vascular causes

Skin quality of lower extremities deteriorates in venous insufficiency. Worse outflow of venous blood causes dark pigment accumulation and slows removal of tissue metabolic products. Therefore, lower limbs are more at risk of developing parchment skin.

Approach and complications

Parchment skin should be treated very carefully. It is vulnerable to bedsores and leg ulcers formation. Lying patients with parchment skin should be therefore regularly positioned and dry skin must be oiled. There must be special caution to prevent any injury and when it happens, it must be thoroughly taken care of.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources