Summer is a time where many people spend their days outdoors participating in various sports and activities, or simply enjoying the warm summer air. For many of us, having that summer ‘glow’ or tan is a sign that we’re getting sufficient time in the sun. However, did you know that tanned skin is damaged skin? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the risk of getting the three most common skin cancers, namely melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, increases in skin that is tanned or sunburned.
By reducing your exposure to ultraviolet rays, you can help lower your risk of getting skin cancer. If you are heading outdoors this summer, remember to protect your skin by using sunscreen. Here are three reasons why using sunscreen for seniors is essential.
Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer
Based on the 2018 data from the United States Cancer Statistics, the rate of new melanoma cases increases significantly with age and only decreases slightly in adults aged 85 and older. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 50% of seniors protect their skin from the sun when they are outdoors. If you have not been using sunscreen, now’s the time to start!
There are different types of sunscreen that can cater to your needs. Creams and sprays can cover larger areas of the body while gels may be used for areas with hair such as the hairline. Sticks are easy to apply on ears and noses. You can use a combination of different types of sunscreen to protect different parts of your body from the sun’s harmful rays, thereby significantly reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Protect Your Skin from Sun Sensitivity
Some common medications used by older adults such as antifungals, arthritis medications, antibiotics, and cholesterol-lowering drugs may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. This happens when the ingredients present in certain medications absorb ultraviolet light and leads to an accumulation of harmful compounds that cause damage to the skin. You should check with your physician to find out if any of the medications you are taking increases your risk of getting sun-damaged skin. If you need to be out in the sun, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen can protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which are the main causes of sunburns.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
As we age, our skin naturally becomes more delicate and vulnerable. If you enjoy outdoor activities, there are several ways you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Before heading out, put on a long-sleeved shirt, wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face, neck and ears, as well as apply sunscreen.
During warm summer months where the ultraviolet rays of the sun are the strongest, using sunscreen is essential. As a guide, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and re-apply every two hours. You may have to re-apply sunscreen more frequently if you perspire or swim. While being out and about in the sun this summer, remember that applying sunscreen is essential in providing your skin the protection that it needs.