When it comes to protecting skin from the sun, seniors have to take a couple of extra precautions. The sun is especially damaging on older skin - but there are several easy things you can do to prevent unnecessary sun burn.
Spring is finally here and that means summer is right around the corner. Finally you can leave your winter cave and head back out into the sun. Be careful though - being cooped up for months tends to make you over-eager to get back outdoors, and it's easy to forget how quickly you can get burnt. Senior skin is at a higher risk for the harmful affects of the sun simply because the older the skin, the more exposure its already had to ultraviolet radiation - the leading cause of skin cancer like melanoma, explained Cancer.Net. You need to adequately protect your skin to reduce the risk of sun burn which could ultimately lead to worse skin problems.
Check out these four simple senior care ways you can stay safe in the sun as things start to heat up outside:
1. Stay Hydrated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that drinking water is important for your health in general, but especially when you're in the sun. Staying hydrated will help regulate your body temperature, which you'll need once it starts to get hot out to replenish the fluids your body is losing from sweating. Getting dehydrated can happen faster in the sun so be sure you have plenty of water with you. Try to avoid sweet drinks and alcohol as well, as these tends to dehydrate you further.
2. Keep To The Shade
Experts say it's important to watch yourself in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as this is when the most harmful UV rays are out because this is when the sun is shining strongest, explained Cancer.Net. The source explained that you should keep an eye on your shadow - if it's shorter than you that's when the sun is the most intense, so seek shade. In general, if you start to feel yourself getting too hot, find some shade. If you're headed to the beach or an area where you don't expect to find much shade, bring your own! Beach umbrellas will give you ample coverage from the sun, and that way you can avoid overexposure.
3. Apply A Generous Amount Of Sunscreen
Cancer.Net explained that sunscreen is one of your biggest protectors against the different UV spectrums - UVA and UVB radiation. The sun protection factor should be at least 30, otherwise you're only protecting your skin against burn, but not skin cancer - this is ideal for both body lotions and lip balms. A general rule of thumb is that you'll want to apply at least one ounce of sunscreen all over your body - don't forget the tops of you ears! - 30 minutes before heading out into the sun. After that, you should be reapplying every two hours or so, but if you've gone swimming or are a heavy sweater, you might want to reapply sooner than that.
4. Dress Appropriately
There are several things you have to consider when it comes to dressing appropriately. The CDC explained that you want to cover as much skin as possible. Of course, since it can get hot in the sun, long sleeves and pants can get stifling, so opt for loose-fitted clothing made from tightly woven fabrics. These will be breathable, but still offer the most protection from UV rays getting through. To note, the darker the clothing color, the more protection.
Don't forget to accessorize! Hats and sunglasses will help keep your eyes and face safe from sun damage. The wider the brim of the hat, the more shade you'll get. Wearing sunglasses will reduce the formation of cataracts explained the CDC. Shoot for shades that block UVA and UVB rays for the best protection.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living