With age, many changes happen to the skin. Not only does your skin produce less collagen and become drier, but it also becomes more sensitive. Because your immune system also weakens over time, your skin has an increasingly difficult time repairing sun damage. Wearing sunscreen can be an excellent way for seniors to protect themselves from harmful UV rays and prevent skin conditions like premature aging and skin cancer.
Sunscreen is most effective when you use it properly. Here are a few tips for seniors who want to get the most out of their sunscreen.
5 Tips for Using Sunscreens
- Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection: The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for premature aging, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Both damage the skin. Choosing a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label will protect your skin against both types of UV rays.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher: SPF stands for skin protection factor, and the number indicates how long it will take before the sun burns the skin. The American Cancer Society recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen generously and periodically: Older adults should apply a generous amount of sunscreen before they go outside, even if they only plan to be out for a few minutes. Cover every exposed area, including your face, ears, and hands. As a general rule, reapply sunscreen every two hours, more if you are in the water or sweating.
- Look for a water-resistant sunscreen: When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that is water-resistant. Even if you don’t plan to be in the water, it also keeps you protected if you sweat.
- Pick a cream formula: There are a lot of options when it comes to sunscreen. You can pick sticks, lotions, and sprays. It’s often best to use a cream-based formula as opposed to a spray. Although sprays may be easier to apply, they may not cover as evenly as a cream-based product.
Don’t Rely Solely on Sunscreen
In addition to sunscreen, seniors should use other best practices to protect their skin. This includes wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats. Try to avoid spending time in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest. By using a combination of sun protection measures, seniors can reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.
Heritage Senior Communities
If you are concerned about your ability to protect yourself from the sun, consider moving to an assisted living community where safety is a priority. Heritage Senior Communities offers an assortment of indoor and outdoor activities during the summer. Seniors who want to avoid the sun can stay engaged by only participating in indoor activities. Contact us today to learn about how we help seniors stay healthy and engaged.