UV Safety Month: Protecting Your Skin While Enjoying the Summer Sun as You Age

July is UV safety month and taking care of your skin doesn’t become any less importance in your senior years, in fact, it actually becomes more important as you age. Many elderly people begin to care less about protecting their skin since they are no longer trying to prevent wrinkles to look younger. What many people forget, is that protecting your skin isn’t primarily for beauty purposes, but for the health of their skin. 

Summer is a lot of people’s favorite season since there are so many outdoor activity options. While everyone is enjoying the warmth of the summer weather, it’s important to look at ways to start protecting your skin from sun damage. 

Skin as You Age 

While it’s absolutely necessary to pay attention to the health of your skin and protecting it from damage at any age, your skin actually becomes less capable of protecting you from skin damage when you begin to reach your elderly years of life. Since older skin is more delicate, it requires you to take more precautions before enjoying your day in the summer sun. 

Skin Cancer in Seniors 

Skin cancer is a worldwide concern. Statistics show that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. Most cases of skin cancer aren’t found in people until their senior years around the age of 65. Though there isn’t a direct link between elderly skin being more prone to skin cancer solely based on their age, elderly skin is more sensitive than younger skin, making it more difficult to heal from sunburns that cause skin cancer. 

Protecting Your Skin 

If you’re outside in the sunshine, it’s almost impossible to keep the rays from touching your skin completely, but there are ways that you can limit the exposure that doesn’t take away from enjoying the summer sun. 

Sunscreen 

Sunscreen is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your skin. Make sure that you’re using a sunscreen that has a minimum of 30 SPF and re-apply at least every two hours. Purchase a sunscreen from a reputable brand so that you’re confident in knowing that it works. Spray sunscreen makes it quick and easy to reapply. There are also makeup brands that have powder sunscreen and spray sunscreen specifically for your face, so you don’t feel the need to re-do your makeup every couple of hours, while still protecting your skin from damage. 

Breathable Clothing 

Depending on where you live, wearing long sleeves and long pants isn’t necessarily preferable, but there are certain materials of fabrics that are breathable and lightweight, making them an option for summertime weather skin protection. Cotton and linen are both comfortable and lightweight, making them the perfect choice for protecting your skin in hot weather. You can also wear a brimmed hat for extra protection for your head, face, and neck. Another plus of wearing protective clothing is that you don’t have to worry about remembering to reapply sunscreen to covered areas every couple of hours. 

Self Tanner 

For some people, having a tan is important to them. Instead of trying to achieve a tan from the sun, opt for a good self-tanner. Over the years, there have been great advancements to self-tanners that make them look much more natural than they once did. Tanning while preventing burning can be very difficult, so don’t take the risk and try a self-tanner instead. 

Search for Shade 

Umbrellas aren’t only useful for preventing getting wet in the rain, they also serve as great protection from the sun. Sometimes it’s not possible to find an area that is outdoors and shaded, like the beach or the park, so bring your own shade with you any time that you go outside. 

Elderly skin has sustained many years of continual sun damage and each time you get a sunburn, it’s worse on your skin, so limiting the direct exposure of sun to your skin will decrease the risk of damage. 

Mid-Day UV Rays

There are certain times of the day when the UV rays are higher, which causes an increased risk of sun damage. The sun’s UV rays are typically the strongest between the times of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., so trying to schedule your sunshine hours before or after those times is a great way to go about protecting your skin. There are also websites where you can look up the UV rays in your specific area so that you’ll know exactly when to avoid the sun. 

Enjoy the Sun – Safely

Getting the right amount of sunshine is the best way to get the natural vitamin D that all bodies’ need at any age, but it can also come with risks without properly protecting your skin. By following steps and taking precautions to ensure that you’re preventing sun damage, it’s still possible for seniors to enjoy the summertime sun, and the sun year-round, with their friends and families.

At Reflections Management and Care, we want you to get to enjoy all the perks of the warm weather that summertime brings. For more ways to prevent sun damage for elderly skin, sign up for our newsletter through our website.