Seniors, Sunscreen and Summer Safety Tips
The American Academy of Dermatology emphasizes that people of all ages need to wear sunscreen.
UV radiation exposure is cumulative, it continues to increase its effect on the skin, even as seniors age. This means that seniors need to take good care of their skin regarding exposure to sunshine.
Seniors may be more susceptible to DNA damage from the sun, as the skin of a senior is thinner, having lost some of its water and fat protection. In addition to that, a senior has usually got a weaker immune system,so it is harder to fight back any over-exposure to the sun, that the body would have done naturally in earlier years. This is why seniors care about their safety and use sunscreen to protect themselves.
Keep Sun Protection Gear Updated
Keep an updated stock of sun protection gear – that means the correct type of sunscreen, the sunhat, those sunglasses that make a person look so fine and dandy, the UV protective swimwear. If you will be going outdoors, it makes sense to wear tight woven clothing that keeps out the UV rays. If a person is going out together with a carer, each one should ‘take care’ of the other one in this area. As an example, it is easy to remind your carer to wear a hat too!
A person who is in short-term rehabilitation might not have their gear with them, similarly a person whose family lives further away. In such a case, make sure to acquire what you need or ask the staff to bring it for you. The priority is to keep safe in the sun.
- Sunscreen does not work retroactively. That means that you must apply it before you go out. The after-sun lotions you can buy only work to mitigate the affects of sun-burn.
- It is important to apply a sufficient quantity of sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology says that people usually apply only a quarter of the amount they are meant to. The recommended amount is: 1 ounce of sunscreen to adequately cover an adult.
- Remember to apply sunscreen before and after swimming. So if you get to do your physical therapy in water in an open air pool, remember to bring along the water-resistant sunscreen.
- Spray sunscreens can be easier to apply than lotions, for people who have mobility limitations, however, it is still important to rub it in, and to pay attention that there is even coverage. Remember that many spray sunscreens are transparent, which can make it harder to see if you applied the sunscreen in the right place.
- Sun protection is also needed indoors in a sunny room since the UV rays can go through glass. UVA rays are blamed for causing skin wrinkles and UVB rays are blamed for causing sunburns. UVB rays do not travel through glass, so a person cannot get a sunburn through the windows, but UVA rays do pass through. Therefore, if planning to take a long car ride or spend time in the solarium or garden room, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen or day-moisturizer 15 minutes before exposure begins.
Places on Your Body to Apply Sunscreen
Any exposed are including:
- exposed scalp area or wear a wide brimmed hat
- area around eyes, avoiding delicate skin area
- back of knees
- lips (lip balm)
- decolletage area
For hard-to reach areas, ask for help in applying sunscreen.
Application of Make-Up Before or After Sunscreen
For senior beauties, generally the make-up goes on first, followed by sunscreen. Take advantage of the different formats in which sunscreen is sold. Read up about how to apply both makeup and sunscreen here.
Summer Safety Tips
There will always be more tips, but here are a few important reminders:
- Drink sufficient water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. On hotter days set a timer or keep a bottle by your side so that you know how much you have drunk.
- As you dietary plans permit, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. These contain essential salts and minerals which will help the body to stay hydrated.
- Don’t stay out in the sun too long. If there is no sun, but it is still hot, spend more time indoors with the AC.
- Be aware of the weather. Follow the weather reports and act accordingly. Schedule outings or going home on a day with decent weather.
- Remember to use the sunscreen.
- Know what early signs of heat-stoke are, have a back-up plan if you don’t feel good from the heat.
When seniors care about their safety and use sunscreen, they get the added benefit of keeping the skin looking young. Consciously taking note of safety tips for the summer, could be the difference between being healthy and suffering for heat-related illnesses. Enjoy the summer, with an informed attitude to the relevant areas of safety.
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