Sunscreen is a handy companion on a leisurely trip to the beach or lake, but it’s not the only way seniors can defend themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.
As people age, sunscreen and other sun-protective products become even more important. That’s because, in older adults, skin is less likely to produce as much protective collagen compared to earlier in life. Over time, skin tends to become hypersensitive and drier, making proper skin care crucial. This is especially true when it comes to sun exposure. Skin cancer is linked to radiation from ultraviolet (UV) light, which is emitted by the sun. Overexposure not only increases the chances of developing cancer, but it can also lead to damaged skin, sunburn, wrinkles, less skin elasticity and skin discoloration.
However, sunshine isn’t entirely bad, as it’s linked to many health benefits. Getting a little sunshine means the body is also producing vitamin D. Sufficient levels of this vitamin can improve bone strength, boost moods and protect cardiovascular health. A healthy balance of sun exposure is possible. With proper sunscreen application and other strategies to help limit exposure to sunlight, seniors can get the most out of their time outdoors and protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Since older adults can be more sensitive to their environments, particularly when it’s hot outside, the proper use of sunscreen goes a long way
How to apply sunscreen
Older adults should not only apply a generous layer, but they should do so frequently. Before getting the day started and heading out, seniors should apply a generous amount of sunscreen, followed by additional applications every couple of hours, especially if skin becomes wet.
Even if outdoor exposure is limited to less than 30 minutes, sunscreen is necessary to avoid any harmful exposure. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas, such as the face, ears, neck, hands and arms.
Use broad-spectrum protection
The sun is harmful because it gives off UVA and UVB rays, causing premature aging of the skin and possibly sunburn. Both types of rays are harmful to the skin. Sunscreen that shields both UVA and UVB rays are highly recommended for comprehensive skin protection.
Use the correct level of protection
The “SPF,” or the skin protection factor, can vary in products. This number indicates how long it will take for the sun to harm the skin. Using a minimum of SPF 30 is recommended by professionals but it is always a good idea to use an even higher SPF, especially during long periods of exposure.
Choose water-resistant products
Sunscreen is only fully protective if it stays on the skin. Even a small splash of water can dilute applied products and reduce their effectiveness. Choosing a water-resistant sunscreen can help it remain effective if the skin is exposed to water or even sweat.
Pick the right formula
It can be tempting to go for a sunscreen that seems easier to apply, such as a spray or stick formula. However, for the best results, a cream or lotion-based sunscreen is usually easier to apply evenly and therefore provides the most coverage and greatest protection.
Go beyond the sunscreen
Sunscreen is a great way for older adults to protect their skin, but limiting exposure to harmful sun rays altogether is another effective approach. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the sun, however.
In addition to using sunscreen, seniors can shield their skin to limit exposure. Long-sleeve shirts, umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and other products that provide shade are all great ideas. Not only will these items protect the skin, but they can also protect the eyes.
If you plan a day outside, try to limit the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whatever time you decide to venture outdoors, be sure to have a safe and fun time making memories.
For further questions, to request resources, or to inquire about having your loved one utilize our services, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390.